Skip to content Skip to footer

How rapper Foogiano made good on his word and got rich in a year

Kwame Brown hops onto our call seeming apprehensive. It’s not that he’s shy — more that he’s not sure how much time he wants to spend on this interview. Because these days, Brown doesn’t have time to wait for anyone. Now he’s better known as Foogiano, the first rapper Gucci Mane signed to his new label.

Brown, 26, grew up in Greensboro, Georgia, a city with a population of less than 4,000, in the middle of a rambling family, five brothers and four sisters. The difference between him and them?  “I jumped in the streets and they didn’t,” Brown says. “That’s all it is.”

He pronounces “sheeeeit” like Clay Davis from The Wire and speaks with a Southern drawl that at times makes me ask him to repeat himself, but he hardly pauses to consider his answers. They simply roll off his tongue, staccato—a series of factual clauses. No filter.


View this post on Instagram


🗣 slimmm 😈Ⓜ️🎱🅱️🦍

A post shared by 1017 FOOGIANO (@foogiano) on

How old were you when you started getting into music?

15. I used to write poems and my little brother said: “let’s try to turn it into rap.” And I did. When I heard myself on the mic I fell in love with it.

Do you remember what you first rapped about?

Hell no.

Was there a particular day or moment you remember when you were like, “I want to do this professionally?”

When I got out of prison.

What did you go to prison for? How long were you in for?

Burglary and robbery. Three years.

Do you think going affected your music at all? Were you writing while you were there?

It made me who I am. I brought it with me to the studio.

“Call up Guwap and he gon’ pour up the lean. I got ripped for serving dope to the fiend Coca-cola, with the cola I’d beat the bowl. My mama kicked me out for cooking on the stove. Went auntie’s house and I slept on the sofa. Had the 40 on me, never had a holster.”

You mention in the clip from the song you posted today (TrapSpot ft. Guaptaratino) that your mom kicked you out for cooking on the stove—is that true?

Yup. My uncle taught me. My uncle came from prison and he taught me how to cook dope. I came home and my older sisters used to watch me because my mama worked so much. But my mama came home and, goddamn… they were gone! And I was just trying to do it by myself. And I almost burned the goddamn house down.

How old were you?

I was 13.

Damn, so you were a kind of a bad kid, huh?  I read you were in and out of juvie a lot? What’d you go in for?

I was bad as hell!  Yeah, I did 10 years in jail. All types of shit. Burglary, armed robbery. Everything.

And then you started making music right after that?



View this post on Instagram


#TBT 🗣Ⓜ️🎱🅱️🦍

A post shared by 1017 FOOGIANO (@foogiano) on

There are lulls in our conversation when I can hear a noise in the background. A smattering of murmurs, coughs, and inhales informs me that Foogiano is not alone. But he’s almost never alone — community is important to him.

How did you build your team of people?

It’s all family. We’re from a small city and it’s crazy because there’s no one outside our family. It’s all my cousins and my brothers. There’s probably a few that’s not my real blood family, but they might as well be blood.

“That’s why it’s so different because we’re actually family, people have a lot to give, people really be reppin… We really family.”

And I can’t get mad and be like “I don’t want to talk to someone” on some bullshit.

They’re my cousins! No matter what, if me and him get mad… I’m still gonna see him at my Auntie’s house. So we all strapped in where we can because we’re from here. We try to stay together because we’re small. And we stand out because we’re so different.

Did y’all listen to the same artists growing up? Who did you listen to the most?

Lil Wayne, Lil Boosie, and Gucci.


View this post on Instagram


Molly at 2 million views 🤯🤯

A post shared by 1017 FOOGIANO (@foogiano) on

So what’s it like signing with Gucci, since he’s one of your early idols?

Oh, Gucci the goat. Where I’m from Gucci is the goat, so that shit is a very big deal.

How did you end up with him?

Authentic Empire had a competition. Sheeeit, that was crazy bro. There were so many people that went. It was over 50 rounds. It took us hours. So I won the competition to be on Authentic Empire and Gucci just called me to be on 1017. I’m the only rapper in history to ever get a distribution deal and a record deal on the same day. I signed with Atlantic and 1017 the same day.

And you’re the first artist to sign to new 1017. I noticed you got like 80 thousand new followers in a week—what’s that been like?

Shit’s crazy! I had to turn my notifications off. I got two phones because when I won that competition in December I had only 1800 followers. Now I have 190,000. So goddamn, people act like they’re your fans on Instagram, but now they see me doing this and homies wanna kill a motherfucker.


View this post on Instagram


Believe it or not I’m really from the Block 👨🏾‍✈️🥶 #GlacierrrrBoyz

A post shared by 1017 FOOGIANO (@foogiano) on

Have you been partying a lot?

No, not unless I’m at a club and it’s a show. I work a lot.

What is something that people say about you that they’re wrong about, or that you wish you could change?

That I can’t take everybody with me. Just family.


View this post on Instagram


I said it didn’t it 🤷🏾‍♂️👨🏾‍✈️ NOTICE I SAID US NOT ( ME ) 😤 🗣Ⓜ️🎱🅱️

A post shared by 1017 FOOGIANO (@foogiano) on

What’s your dream?

Playing ball. I was a ballplayer. But I was getting in trouble like a motherfucker. I was just so good–the coaches used to go out of their way to be like, “come on man, you gotta get out of this and start doing this.” And I was smart as hell. I ain’t never failed. I was the youngest person in my class. I was 17 when I graduated. I wasn’t even grown. I was a young ni–a.

What did you play? Point guard?

Yeah, I played point guard–deadly. I’m going to the Celebrity All-Star Game soon.

Bet! So, let me ask you, is there anything that scares you about all the success and attention you’re getting now?

Not me, but for other people. Is it going to change them? Is my success going to change them? Because it’s not going to change me.

Is there anything you’d change about the industry?

All the fake shit going on. The industry is fake as hell. Ninety percent of the rappers that are lit, that say they about all that shit? They ain’t about that shit. Ni–as will try to write to you on Instagram saying they’re trying to rap… It’s just all about who’s hot.

“Ni–as ain’t genuine and you got to be real careful.”

Because you got to be able to pick out who really is genuine and who is trying to ride your wave just cause you hot.

So how do you tell the difference?

You gotta pay attention. And I can pay attention like a motherfucker.

Word. And you got this mixtape, Mayor Season, on the way. Anything you want to plug about it?

Sheeeit, like everything, bruh. I mean, we take it so seriously because we never thought we’d be doing anything. Like… what the fuck? We could be signed with Gucci? Like, I’m a very, very big deal where I’m from.

You know I walk through that door and I’m a very big deal—I’m the only person to ever do anything where I’m from that’s this serious. So… Sheeeit. Sometimes I don’t want to move like that, but I have to because I know I have to protect myself and I gotta be aware. But you know… I want to be repping. Ya feel me?

But my partner tells me, “bro, you can’t be. Even though you want to be, it’s just because you real like that. You want to be the same ni–a, but you can’t be. You gotta adapt to the same shit.” And I’ll be like, “it’s aight.” I don’t need all this. I got all these people sending me hugs and it feels good, but that ain’t like, how we get down about that shit.

That shit don’t… that ain’t what I do it for.

“I do it for the money. That’s what my goal is. If I could make the same amount of money and nobody knew me, I would.”


View this post on Instagram


🥶🥶🥶 @foogiano x @darealga #Kickdadoor 1017 Ⓜ️🎱🅱️🦍 æ

A post shared by 1017 FOOGIANO (@foogiano) on

The last ten minutes I spent talking to Foogiano I hear him brushing his teeth into the receiver of the phone. He’s got a hard stop at 4:30 pm because he has a music video shoot that I later learn consists heavily of him sitting on a throne.

This would feel appropriate if I thought being a figurehead mattered to him. The last bits of our conversation communicate the opposite. Whenever he speaks of his recent achievements and what they mean to him, I notice two trends.

Firstly, he says “we.” A lot. He and his family’s accomplishments are inextricable. More notably, I notice a detached fervor when speaking about his signing with the new 1017 and his forthcoming album.

At times it sounds like he’s speaking about someone else entirely; as if he’s admiring a newly famous painting recently elevated in the small city of Greensboro.

There’s no finer subject than family.

Make sure to tune and check out rapper Foogiano and all of his hits.

Who is Foogiano? The New 1017 trap rapper on the rise

Amid the continuous deluge of selfies, pranks, promotions, motivational videos, live painting, guided living, freestyling, fitness flexing, house of highlights, food pics, and the memes of that black guy with the massive dong that everyone keeps sending me, Instagram can occasionally be a rewarding place.

About once a month, the robots that track whatever I’ve liked will expose me to a new trap artist I’ve never heard of before. This past weekend it was Foogiano.

Unless you’re Young Thug, trap music videos, nowadays, are commonly directed in the same styles. Still, there’s a more interesting viewing experience being championed. There are the behind-the-scenes clips you see rappers posting on social media, which often feels like a music video of the music video.

Atlanta legend Gucci Mane posted one such clip yesterday of “Molly (Baby Mama),” one of two Foogiano hits that have put the Southern rapper on the map.


View this post on Instagram


1st artist on #TheNew1017 to get that deal EVA @foogiano 💰#WhoNext???

A post shared by Gucci Mane (@laflare1017) on

What caught my attention wasn’t just that La Flare was giving his blessing—it’s the palpable enjoyment Foogiano’s crew is having.

It’s obvious he’s at this stage in his career where he’s still relatively unknown and is on the verge of popping off.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 1017 FOOGIANO (@foogiano) on

That’s always the most fun time to be a part of a rapper’s entourage. Their commitment to dancing and rapping along to every lyric in the video is infectious. Having an inner set that conveys such fierce loyalty will always get you noticed.

But I must be one of the first to recognize this because as I researched Foogiano, there’s been almost nothing written about him.

There are only about six pages of him on Google and an overwhelming majority of those hits are links to one of these two singles. In fact, the only details about his life you can find are from his profile on Authentic Empire.

The bio states:

“As a reckless youngster in and out of the juvenile system, the Greensboro, GA native rightfully earned the nickname ‘fool,’ although his childhood friends shortened it to “foo.”

It continued to read, “The latter part of his moniker came about when he served time in prison and a cellmate jokingly added “giano” in reference to his exotic features. The name stuck.”

I can’t even tell you how old he is. What I can tell you is that his two singles go hard AF.

Gucci Mane recently launched the New 1017 music label with the intention of signing four of the hardest in the game, with each new artist getting $1 million in their signing.

Foogiano represents the first of the four and if you listen to “Trapper (Remix) ft. Lil Baby,” it’s not difficult to figure out why.

What makes this song work is a classic marriage of elements often seen on trap hits like high tempo snares and piano keys that create the perfect ambiance for driving, dancing or blaming.

A dash of aggressive and disrespectful lyrics juxtaposed with their presentation—Foogiano delivers every punchline with a melodic lilt reminiscent of Thugga, but without imitating him.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 1017 FOOGIANO (@foogiano) on

Yeah, nigga, know I’m with the mob and you ain’t up to par, you ain’t make it. Boy, you too quick to cuff a ho, and we’ll never ever ever save ’em. Four pockets full every day, but nigga, you ain’t gotta call me Baby. Yeah, that’s why I fucked your lady. She sucked me ’til she got my babies, bitch.

Late in the day, I did find one potentially interesting hit from Foogiano. His first label, Authentic Empire, posted a YouTube video of them signing Foogiano.

Unfortunately, I needed a privately shared login to view the signing. Foiled again. For now, Foogiano remains one of the trap’s best-kept secrets, but not for long.