WHO IS LILBUBBLEGUM
While growing up in New Zealand’s small-town Te Atatu Peninsula, lilbubblegum’s music is destined for international heights. Raised by the internet, the 17-year-old breakout rapper uses pop culture, internet references, fashion, and a passion for DIY art to inform his distinct sound, after his breakout hit ‘af1s’ went viral last year reaching over 20 million Spotify streams.
Growing up an avid gamer, frequently playing Skyrim and engaging with online gaming communities on Youtube opened lilbubblegum up to the limitless world of Soundcloud’s underground music community, where he soon started uploading his own music in 2018 around age 15 recorded only using his phone.
Growing up with a musical family, lilbubblegum’s childhood was soundtracked by acts like AC/DC, Bon Jovi, and Guns N Roses. It wasn’t until 2015 when he heard Fetty Wap that he was officially introduced to hip-hop and began getting invested in the genre, remembering really falling in love with rap music when his cousin introduced him to Logic in 2017. Today he counts new generation frontrunners including $NOT, Trippie Redd, and Night Lovell as some of his key inspirations.
At the same time as lilbubblegum was undergoing his high school exams, in 2019 he self-released his debut single ‘af1s’, after submitting the song to a Youtube lyric video distribution channel called dolo - which exploded with 10-20k views within the first hour. It was only a matter of time before TikTok caught onto the track, spiralling it into a viral overnight success the following year while he continued to roll out a steady output of new singles.
While his Adventure Time referencing moniker implies a light and bubbly persona, lilbubblegum’s music often carries a dark tone, inspired by the 90’s Memphis phonk sound pioneered by acts like Three Six Mafia. Workling closely with producers $upreme, Shenrxn, and mila$ius, lilbubblegum’s sound pulls from both old-school and contemporary influences, finding a middle ground by blending modern lyricism and nostalgic, jazz-laced trap beats, while his delivery fluctuates between a dark, pitched down tone and melodic rap cadences.
Having recently dropped out of his New Zealand high school to embark on his first overseas trip to the United States, it’s no question that lilbubblegum is about to pop. With big plans to develop his music internationally and soon be based in the US, the young artist is currently working on his debut project while he continues to put New Zealand on the map with his consistent singles released in the last year, including ‘af1’s, ‘e girl’, ‘guap’, and many more, which have amassed over 60 million Spotify streams alone.