When thinking about the cross-section of rap and country, few artists come to mind. Nelly might be the biggest rapper to make the leap, and Lil Nas X marks the latest to break the charts, but TikTok rapper Blake Fades is looking to break the mold and build on his reputation. Based out of Ardmore, Oklahoma, Fades’ social media accounts have been taking flight since he first started rapping on Facebook at the age of 15. He now sits with 1.3 million followers on TikTok and over 300k followers on Instagram.
Like most of today’s influencers turned stars, Fades’ journey to earning recognition began with a grassroots approach on the internet. According to the rapper, the talent was always there, he just needed to find the right audience for his unique image and familiar sound. “I rap about a lot of trap s––, not like trap stuff, but using trap sounds,” he tells Popculture.com. “My first video that went viral was on Facebook. I was like 16 at the time and I just saw someone else rapping and going viral and I thought, ‘I could do that too.’” From there, he went on to conquer all the social apps, venturing onto Twitter, Instagram, and now TikTok. After he figured out the algorithm, his account was up and stuck.
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His TikTok videos consistently rack up hundreds of thousands of views, but the latest trend that’s earned him some attention has been his covers of popular rap songs. Paired with a country background that involves cows, cowboy hats, and His version of Cardi B’s “Up” garnered 2 million views and his follow up –– a cover of Lil Baby’s “On Me” –– earned over 6.2 million views and a compliment from the 4PF rapper himself. Lil Baby reposted the video on his story along with a message for his Instagram followers: “Y’all tell Blake Fades I’m ready for em,” he said, along with a pen and paper emoji.
But don’t be misled. The up-and-coming artist isn’t ready to sign the first deal that comes across his path. He’s not giving up any details, but he confirms for his fans that he has not signed to Lil Baby’s record label yet. “Lil Baby was cool and he showed love,” he says, but he promises he’s still fielding his options. In the meantime, he chooses to focus on the immediate future and his next project. He looks forward to the Grammys and buying multiple homes in big cities one day, but in the meantime and while he’s still in Ardmore, he continues to enjoy his country lifestyle and working in his home studio –– which he says he’s expanding by adding an at-home gym.