Future Stars: Big Shaq (Island)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Although the UK rap scene is thriving thanks to the rebirth of grime, its stars haven’t really broken the US thus far, so they might not be too pleased that a comedy character is making waves across the Atlantic. Comedian Michael Dapaah is known as Big Shaq or Roadman Shaq, and already has a UK hit on his hands with Man’s Not Hot. The track started out as a freestyle for the Fire in the Booth segment on Charlie Sloth’s 1Xtra show. The performance went viral and its “the ting goes…” section became one of the most popular memes of late summer 2017. There was even a diss track by the original Shaq, basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, and Jeremy Corbyn bizarrely quoted it at the Labour Party Conference. Island gave the 26-year-old Londonder a record deal, he recorded a studio version of the song, and it is apparently the fastest-selling single by a debut artist in 2017 so far. It’s poised to enter the UK Official Chart top 10 this week. The video gained 43 million views in three weeks, and is currently in the top 10 of Spotify’s global viral chart. Big Shaq is just one of Michael’s characters, and he takes inspiration from Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G is an obvious reference point), so I predict a TV show and more novelty singles to come.

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