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Growing up in turmoil and poverty, rapper Skinnyfromthe9 turned to making bright and carefree-sounding music as an escape from his dark early days. Born David Villegas in 1995, he moved between his birthplace of Florida and New Jersey as his large family went through various troubles with money and the law, sometimes struggling with homelessness. In his late teens, he landed in Somerville, New Jersey to live with his father, working hard at service industry jobs and making original songs in his free time as an escape. In time, his musical tastes expanded, inspired in particular by the new and fascinating sound of Fetty Wap. He combined this new inspiration with his childhood fixation on Eminem and began posting his own tracks online around 2014. Slowly interest grew, with standout track “Love Blast” dropping in 2017 and quickly racking up streams. He rode this wave of momentum into the next year with singles like “Back When I Was Broke” and “Pink Choppas,” whose lyrics often referenced his tough times growing up.