Rising Atlanta rapper Destroy Lonely performing in Miami this weekend

One of the most elusive figures in the newest generation of SoundCloud rap makes his way back to Miami on Saturday, March 5 for a performance at The Joint.

Twenty-year old Atlanta rapper Destroy Lonely has enjoyed a steady rise to stardom in the past year, and as he’s attracted a solid following of cultists. He’s also latched on to a growing empire in Playboi Carti’s budding record label, Opium. 

He last made a live appearance in South Florida this past December with fellow Atlanta native and Opium signee, Ken Carson. The duo has built a reputation as an extension of Carti’s avant-garde approach to rap music, fashion, and social media. After being recruited to sit in during some studio sessions wth Carti,  Lonely has continued to mold his off-kilter sound and image for a wide-eyed audience.

Born on July 30, 2001 to two musically-inclined parents, Lonely has been surrounded with all the tools necessary to blossom into a recording artist. His father is Georgia rapper I-20, who’s mainly known for signing to Ludacris’ Disturbing tha Peace label in 2002, and his hit track, “Move B***h.” As a child, Lonely was taught to play the piano, violin, and trumpet before eventually leaning into his love for hip hop during adolescence. 

His full-length project, </3 (Broken Hearts), was released in September, 2020 before being reissued in a deluxe edition, </3², for Halloween. Lonely flexes on atmospheric compositions like “Pop Sh*t / Xtra” and “Oh Yeah,” coalescing raspy vocal croons with menacing undertones in the production. 

The momentum behind Destroy Lonely’s upward ascent was amplified near the end of last year after an influx of SoundCloud loosies and unreleased material were posted to Apple Music by a fan under the name “Destroy Lonely Archive.” Diehard fans and new fans alike became enthralled with the concept of using a separate page in the medium to release more music, causing some tracks like “The City” and “hldmyhnd.wav (Hold My Hand)” to shoot up in popularity.

Most of the archive has since been removed from the platform, but that hasn’t stopped copycats from repeatedly replicating the formula on both Apple Music and Spotify. 

Even without much of an Internet presence, the effect of Lone’s music is deeply embedded in TikTok algorithms, Instagram explore pages and YouTube comment sections. On TikTok alone, over 50,000 videos have been posted using the audio from his 2018 single, “Bane.”

Destroy Lonely’s next project, entitled No Stylist, has been in the works over the past year. With no release date set, the demand for more content from Opium’s most intriguing export is growing.

Tickets for the show this weekend are still available at Helm tickets.

Update/correction: After this story was published, the show was delayed indefinitely. Also, an earlier version incorectly stated Destroy Lonely sat in on sessions for “Whole Lotta Red.” They met after the album was released.

Olivier Lafontant is an aspiring music journalist who is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in digital journalism at Florida International University. He enjoys thrifting, collecting vinyl, taking film photography and watching sports in his free time.