Soundcloud rap is shaping up to be the site of the latest music-biz gold rush. Lil Pump, Lil Skies, and Lil Xan already have major-label deals, and last week Billboard broke the news that Interscope had signed Chicagoland rapper Juice Wrld to a deal allegedly worth $3 million. That dollar amount comes as a lil shock, given that Juice remains fairly unknown and relatively green. He’s been uploading music to Soundcloud for about three years, but as he told rap podcast No Jumper earlier this month, he’s played only a couple shows—and it wasn’t till a year ago that one of his tracks managed to accumulate 10,000 Soundcloud plays.
Since self-releasing the Juice Wrld 9 9 9 EP last summer, he’s exceeded those numbers. Its tracks now average around 500,000 plays—respectable for an emerging artist, but hardly the typical prelude to a multimillion-dollar payday. The single “Lucid Dreams” is the only track from the EP to break the seven-figure barrier (though to be fair, it’s done so decisively, with 2.5 million plays).
The track might’ve become an underground hit on its own, but with Bennett’s help it went into overdrive. The day after the video dropped, Juice Wrld appeared on Fake Shore Drive for the first time; the following week Pitchfork named the single a “best new track.” Within a couple days the clip had racked up half a million views, according to a reaction video by YouTuber ImDontai that’s since reached almost 150,000 views itself.
Juice Wrld’s official video for “All Girls Are the Same” now has more than 3.5 million views, and the track itself has topped 6.4 million Soundcloud plays—it sits at number 12 on the service’s Top 50 chart. The other two tracks on Nothings Different have yet to break 200,000 plays, though—so far it seems like Interscope might have three million eggs in one basket.