The year’s BET Hip Hop Awards “Best Breakthrough Hip Hop Artist” category is stacked with several artists making big waves over the last few years. Baby Keem, Doechii, Fivio Foreign, Glorilla, Nardo Wick, Saucy Santana, and West Coast native Blest are all up for the prestigious honor, and it’s honestly anyone’s game. Ahead of this year’s ceremony, hosted by legendary rapper Fat Joe, we’re getting to know our nominees better via fun facts and hits that should be on your playlist. Keep reading below to learn more about this year’s “Best Breakthrough Hip Hop Artist” Blxst.
He grew up around hip hop
“My uncle was the first rapper that I ever knew, which introduced me to the art,” he said in a vintage interview with Passion Weiss. “He always told me, ‘If you want to be a rapper, find a word in the dictionary every day and find the definition,’ and it’ll help me with my wordplay, so to speak. I also remember my mom and my sister having vinyl in the house, using the record player to listen to Lauryn Hill and stuff. I would say it was always around me growing up.”
His decision to start rapping was unprovoked
“I feel like it was just happening. I never remember consciously saying, ‘I’m going to start rapping,’” he said during an interview. “I guess it started as a hobby, and then when I put music out, the response I got was what motivated me to keep going. The response was like, ‘Yo, you dope. You can be big one day,’ and I just used that as fuel, or subconsciously, that motivated me to keep pushing.”
He enjoys sampling on his record
While talking to HypeBeast, the singer opened up about sampling on his latest project, Before You Go, which he felt made the perfect sample. “I think sampling is kind of like a cheat code, especially if you reference a hit because people already recognize bits of the song.,” he said. “If you sprinkle some of your takes, then it’s going to be fire. I think the nostalgia alone, for any sample that you use, is going to be a vibe if you carry the same integrity it was carrying.”
His rap and producer influences include some notable character
As a rapper and producer, Blxst has been highly influenced by the stylings of veteran musicians, including Pharrell, Kanye West, and Ryan Leslie. His grandfather liked to rap Bonita Applebum by a Tribe Called Quest, which started Blxst’s love of rap music.
His name is made up
“Actually, I made it up on some young dumb s—t a long time ago,” he told All Hip Hop. “But I stuck with it. I love it now because I have a two-year-old son. I’m a superhero, that’s how I look at it.”
Watch the Hip Hop Awards on Tuesday, October 4, at 9 PM ET/PT on BET