This time last year, you almost definitely hadn't heard the name ILOVEMAKONNEN.
It's not even like, 'Oh, if you were a hip-hop fan, you knew Makonnen before this year -- now the mainstream is finally catching up.' Nope. Most hip-hop listeners had never heard the name, and few outside of Atlanta were familiar with his music.
He had maintained a blog -- he interviewed Lil B and says he corresponded with Adele -- but his own songs were playing under the radar -- that is, until he got a couple of tracks to buzz in 2014.
Now, he's nominated for a Grammy Award, for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for his work with Drake on "Tuesday."
How did he do it?
Linked With Proven Producers
A few years back, after being on house arrest for an incident that ended in the death of his friend, Makonnen started focusing on music, and steadily built relationships with some of ATL's most promising producers, including Mike Will Made It, Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin. Together, they worked on his EP, ILoveMakonnen, which dropped in July 2014.
Offered A Sound That Made Him Stand Out
The EP was an eclectic mashup of styles, with the chant raps of "I Don't Sell Molly No More;" the odd-yet-pleasant singing of "Rumor;" and, of course, the catchiness of "Tuesday."
Caught Drake's Ear With That Sound, And Then Became The Recipient Of A Remix From Him
Drizzy has a knack for remixing niche but enjoyable songs and launching them into a new sphere of popularity, from SBTRKT’s "Wildfire" to Waka Flocka's "Round of Applause" to Future's "Tony Montana" to Migos' "Versace." In August, Makonnen and "Tuesday" became the latest beneficiaries of this boost.
Cried When He Heard The Remix With Drake
Because there's really no other way to react.
Shot A Video And Signed To Drake's Label, OVO Sound
And get the club and your career goin' up.
Got Nominated For A Grammy
Voilà. (This comes, of course, after you've already won a #HoodGrammy, courtesy of Drake.)