Considering how much people and their looks evolve over time, some throwback photos are cringey, but that journey of growth is also what makes those flashback flicks golden. Before rappers reached glorified heights in the world, they were students and classmates like everyone else. So whether the documentation is easy or hard to find, their school pictures are laying somewhere in a photo album or deep into the crevices of the internet. Fret not though, XXL dug up several, specifically from the infamous SoundCloud era of rappers.
Before Lil Yachty opted for red braids, usually accompanied by beads that stretch down to his chin—and the black braids he has now—short hair was his preferred length. A look back at his grade-school photos reveals that. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the smile that he has in each of the images. It’s the opposite for Playboi Carti. Rewinding time shows that when Carti went to the barbershop, he asked for a brush cut. Nowadays, he has to get his hair retwisted instead of trimmed down. And he might not even be recognizable doing so, due to the face paint he rocks.
In terms of facial features, some folk don’t change much as the years progress. Take for example Ski Mask The Slump God and 21 Savage. Sure, they might have a little bit of facial hair nowadays, as all grown men do, or face tats that range from words to graphics, but they’re the splitting image of who they were as jits. Even a fresh-faced XXXTentacion, seen without any of his signature tattoos like the broken heart or number 17, is easy to recognize as a much younger version of himself. Those are just a few samples of the content in this list.
Check it all out below and rewind back to how SoundCloud’s hip-hop all-stars looked far before they popped off in their careers. Here's a look at 15 SoundCloud-era rappers and what they wore back in grade school.