Coi Leray, Nessly
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Over the past few years, rapper KILLY’s rise has been nothing short of astronomic. After releasing his first single “Big Bux” via Soundcloud in 2016, he shot to sudden success, racking up more than 300,000 listens on the sparse getting-money anthem, and followed it with a stream of buzz-stacking singles. Then, in February 2017 he unleashed the titanic “Killamonjaro,” and he hit full throttle: to date, the video for the trap-inflected smash passed 26 million views on YouTube, and the song itself has surged to almost 100 million combined streams and views.
KILLY quickly parlayed the runaway success of “Killamonjaro” into a red-hot career, expanding his presence from his home base of Toronto, Canada to the world and has become one of the biggest artists to watch today. In 2018, he independently released his debut album Surrender Your Soul, on his Secret Sound Club label, giving his growing fanbase a sizable taste of a unique knack for melody, fully-immersive creative vision and personal lyrics that speak to the highs and lows of his journey. His reach grew steadily: by the end of the year, he’d surpassed 100 million listens on Spotify alone, and brought his music to teeming audiences across the world on his “Surrender Your Soul” international tour, and shared the stage with names like Lil Pump, Juice WRLD and DJ Carnage early on. Capping off a break-out year, KILLY released a five-track EP entitled KILLSTREAK to his ever-growing fanbase. By 2019, the budding superstar had accumulated more than 500 million streams across platforms.
Now, KILLY is taking his movement to the next level, digging deeper and pushing his sound even further. His newest music paints a portrait of an artist coming to terms with his journey while coping with the good and bad sides of newly found fame. It takes the dark, pointed sound of Surrender Your Soul and ushers it to new territories, and it finds him opening up in different ways.
“Sometimes you’re focused on getting to the end goal so much, walking the path, the light at the end of the tunnel,” explains the Bajan-Filipino musician. “You forget to look back and see how far you actually walked. Things have happened fast. Sometimes I can take it for granted, and I can feel like I’m not getting anywhere fast enough.”
“Growing up, I feel like I experienced a lot,” says KILLY. “Having those experiences and going through what I’ve gone through has allowed me to connect with a wide variety of people. I can connect somewhere there. There’s something listeners can relate to.”
At 21 years old, KILLY has traveled far and fast. Born in Toronto, he moved to the west coast of Canada, at 8 years old, discovering music as an outlet for expression in a community where he often felt like an outsider. When he was a teenager, he returned to Toronto, living in Scarborough, where he began to focus more of his time on creating music. After releasing his first efforts in 2016, he hit a fever pitch, earning praise from publications including The FADER, Pitchfork, Noisey, Genius, XXL and Hypebeast, and became one of Toronto’s most promising newcomers. With this next chapter, KILLY plans to continue his hot streak, with performances set for across the globe, including a summer tour with NAV and sets at major music festivals across Northern America and Europe, including Lollapalooza in Chicago and îLESONIQ in Montreal.
Now, KILLY is more focused than ever and has his eye on doing what he does best: making music for those who see themselves in it. “I hope that fans get a better sense of who I am from it and what I’m capable of,” he says. “Whether it’s healing you or helping you, I just want people to be their best. I want my music to make a positive impact on people’s lives.”