Meet rap phenomenon KILJ, a teenager defying the odds on his bold journey to rap stardom.

At just 18 years old, rap phenomenon KILJ has already accomplished what most musicians spend decades trying to achieve. With millions of streams under his belt and a coveted invite to the #GRAMMYsNextUp Event while still in high school, KILJ’s journey has been remarkable. But his path to success hasn’t been easy—it has been defined by determination in the face of challenges, wisdom beyond his years, and an unrelenting passion for his craft.


KILJ’s love affair with hip-hop began early on, sparked largely by one of his biggest inspirations, Juice WRLD. Seeing the vulnerability and authenticity Juice WRLD brought to his lyrics showed KILJ the power of baring your soul through music. He became fixated on following his idol’s footsteps, yearning to touch listeners through raw, relatable songs.


By January 2019, the musically gifted 14-year-old began dropping tracks and gaining momentum. But balancing his budding music career with schoolwork proved challenging. There were times he painfully had to put music on the back burner for months to keep his grades afloat. But KILJ persevered, graduating high school on time in June 2023 despite spreading himself thin. For most adults, let alone teenagers, juggling school and a music career would be impossible. But KILJ made it look easy.


What sets KILJ apart in the hip-hop sphere is his multifaceted background. Before ever composing a single lyric, he was a nationally-ranked competitive dancer and child actor, appearing in commercials and TV shows. This early training shaped both his incredible stage presence and tireless work ethic. While most musicians his age are still searching for their voice, KILJ had already spent years honing his skills under the bright lights.


His lyrics are equal parts swag and sensitivity, demonstrating a vulnerability seldom seen in an industry known for bravado. The novelty of his sound is evident in his exponential fan growth and streams in the tens of millions.


KILJ’s sheer talent has not gone unnoticed by hip-hop heavyweights. Earlier this year, he was selected for the coveted #GRAMMYsNextUp showcase, a distinction reserved only for standout emerging artists. Being hand-picked for this opportunity before he even graduated high school is a feat no other rapper his age has accomplished. But KILJ took it all in stride, seeing it as a learning and networking opportunity.


When asked about his unprecedented success, KILJ remains humble beyond his years. “I’m just a kid from Maryland with a dream,” he says. “All I can control is how hard I work at my craft. The rest will follow.” This maturity and wisdom cooly defies his youth. Despite achieving stardom typically seen from artists twice his age, KILJ sees this only as the beginning of his career.


With irresistibly catchy songs like “No Remedy” and “Militant” lighting up the charts, KILJ has proven he possesses the x-factor to thrive in rap at any age. His accomplishments only leave him hungrier—an admirable trait for someone already at the top of his game so early on. If his trajectory so far says anything, KILJ is on pace to achieve the longevity most artists can only dream of.


You can keep up with this prodigious talent on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube. One thing is undeniable: KILJ is a star on the rise. And he is only just getting started. Wherever his journey leads, this determined teenager is destined to become a rap icon. The best is yet to come.


Listen to the latest from KILJ: