Rory Fresco

Kansas City rapper Rory Fresco is the first rapper to come to fame via an algorithm, after a streaming service analyzed his 2016 cut "LowKey" and added it as the logical playlist follow-up to Kanye West's hit "Real Friends." Born Terrell Johnson, Jr., Fresco was on his way up when the digital-age phenomenon happened, but "LowKey" was only at 6,000 listens before West posted his track. When "Real Friends" was instantly linked to Fresco's cut via an autoplay feature, the track jumped up to 400,000 plays the next day. Fresco, a longtime Kanye and Kid Cudi fan, was attending community college when it happened, but the major label Epic came calling once two million plays were reached. An announcement was made that the MC had signed with the label, then Fresco said he had not signed and promised an independent album release. Still, "LowKey" did end up on Epic's streaming-only various-artists compilation Epic AF, with G-Eazy added to the song's remix. ~ David Jeffries

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