Who Is?/Official Hype

Published on December 7th, 2020 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Highrise Talks Iowa Rappers and the Struggle of the Come Up

This week we caught up with Midwest up-and-comer, Highrise, to talk about making a career as an artist out of his rural state of Iowa. With bangers such as #ShowEmAll featuring Instagram model Angela Mazzanti, and Hunnit with Florida rapper Hi-Rez, to vibey and thought-provoking tracks like, “Not Friends”, and “Heaven’s Rejections”, we wanted to get a feel for the scene that brought up this versatile artist.

“Iowa is a place where many different styles come together. I wouldn’t say the Hip Hop scene is strong there, but the artists we have are both incredibly talented and diverse. A lot of us, myself included, maybe had just a couple friends we could really rap with, and shows were sometimes few and far between. What that means though, is that we were able to focus on a ton of outside influences that really personalized our sounds. No one Iowa rapper is really like another.”

Having appeared alongside tracks with Royce da 5’9” and Snoop Dogg, we asked him how he managed to break out of the local scene and reach the heights he has.

“I started seeing much more progress when I focused my efforts online and building out of state connections, rather than trying to get on shows in state. I met LX Xander on Facebook about four years ago and worked with him ever since. We started really pushing Spotify, constantly making new music, and building with other artists over social media, until one day I looked back and realized we had accomplished quite a lot. Between the big name features, performing SXSW in Texas, “The Red Room” reaching over two million streams, not just my state, but the world was starting to notice.”

When asked if he had any advice for the other artists in Iowa, he had this to say:

“Spend some time out of the state. I moved out to Cali for about six months last year, and it was the most eye opening six months of my life in regard to my career. It’s super important to get a feel for what the entertainment industry is really like if you’re going to succeed. As a blank slate in terms of the industry, Iowa has a ton of potential since competition is low and it has some very hard-working promoters, so if you’re planning to build there, that’s great, but you have to know what it takes to win.”

You can follow Highrise on his journey on Instagram:


About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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