An MC who predicted his Internet success with the 2011 mixtape Trending Topic, Texas rapper T Wayne blew up thanks to video sharing sites that helped spawn his Top 20 hit "Nasty Freestyle." Born in Abilene, Texas, T Wayne was persuaded to join the hip-hop scene by Eminem's film 8 Mile.
Transfixed by the scenes displaying rap battles, he launched his own career in Dallas, first playing showcases and handing out demos, CDs, and mixtapes. In 2013 he began an affiliation with Waka Flocka Flame's label Brick Squad but it never turned into a record deal, which was fortunate as T Wayne's career was built more for the digital age. He began uploading his music to social media, then hit in 2015 with his track "Nasty Freestyle." After users began syncing their own videos to the song's opening line, the rapper earned over six million views and a recording contract with 300 Entertainment. The label released "Nasty Freestyle" as a single in 2015 and it soon reached number 17 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. T Wayne gave away his real name that same year with the release of the mixtape Who Is Ricky Wayne? ~ David Jeffries