In some ways, 10k.Caash is a perfect representation of the current Dallas rap scene: young, aggressive, a little all over the place, and suddenly getting a lot of attention. The 18-year-old from Oak Cliff got famous last year after creating “The Woah,” a viral dance move taken up by everyone including Lil Uzi Vert and Drake. What could’ve easily been a fleeting 15 minutes of internet fame is turning into a serious career in hip-hop.
First and foremost a dancer, 10k.Caash only started rapping 11 months ago, and while he declines the label of “artist,” he signed with legendary record label Def Jam in November. He’s since released a few singles and a mixtape titled The Creator, a rough, 14-song record with features from Rico Nasty, Famous Dex, Lil Yachty, and others. The rapper has racked up 722,310 monthly listeners on Spotify (that’s up from about a half a million when I interviewed him last month), and he hasn’t even dropped his official debut album yet.
10K.Caash hasn’t toured much, though he opened for A$AP Rocky in Dallas and Trippie Redd brought him on stage at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival to freestyle (that’s his preferred mode of music making). I saw him when he opened JMBLYA festival in May. He did a short set and his sizable entourage jumped on stage with him, puffing on blunts and flirting with girls in the crowd. It was done within 15 minutes.
I met him a bit later at the entrance to the artist compound, a fenced-off village of trailers and luxe amenities for performers to enjoy between sets. Here and only here, JMBLYA resembles something that could be related to Coachella; a tent filled with velvet couches, Persian rugs, hookahs, a pop-up shop by famous jeweler Johnny Dang & Co, and a massage corner. Before I get to explore this hidden gem within the parking lot party, I wait for 10 to finish taking pictures with fans. I’m standing with one of the festival organizers and 10’s manager, Ezra Averill, an 18-year-old who’s already an industry veteran.
Averill was born in LA but came of age in Arlington. When he was 14, he began managing some friends, a group of rappers called the Daytona Boyz. One of the members was Tay-K, the teenager whose song “The Race” topped charts in 2017 while he was on the run from a national manhunt. He’s currently incarcerated in a maximum security prison in Tarrant County facing two capital murder charges.
Tay-K and 10K.Caash are two of the biggest stars at Stomp Down Entertainment, a management company started by Averill and Toby Oniyitan, which also represents Houston’s Maxo Kream. The team is focused on bringing Texas rappers to the forefront of the music industry.
“What’s important for me and for them is Texas hip-hop, we’re really focused on making Texas a mainstay in hip-hop again,” Averill told Forbes last year. (Neither he nor Def Jam reps responded to requests for an interview.)
Averill has some impressive experience under his belt. He organized 21 Savage’s first Dallas show when he was just 15 years old–but standing in front of me, he seems like a pretty average 18-year-old.
“He’s gonna wanna get them passes,” he says to the JMBLYA rep as he watches 10 chat up a group of young ladies who are lacking proper wristbands.
10 finishes taking selfies with fans and we walk back to one of the velvet couches. I’ve been told that he’s not a big talker, and that becomes immediately clear. He’s endearing, though, radiating the giddiness of a teenager and the jadedness of a rising star. When I ask what he listens to he says “Myself, and my friends” with a sly smirk.
He’s reluctant to give any kind of actual answers about what he’s working on, though he says there are plenty of new dances coming. He gives one juicy detail about his upcoming, 25-track album.
“I’m gonna keep it a secret,” he says. “The biggest artist on there, I will say, is Pusha T.”
I ask him what it’s like to suddenly have fans coming up to him in his hometown, and his veneer fades for half a second.
“It’s crazy because I actually had my own set and everybody came for me. It’s crazy,” he says, breaking into a smile and shaking his head with disbelief.
When I ask how he got in with Def Jam, the walls come back up.
“I just make good music,” he says without missing a beat. “I had, like, 10 offer deals.”