If you're one of the lucky ones, your talent gets noticed early. FMB DZ, one of Detroit's most respected street rappers, got his first shot to shine in an unlikely place: on the stage of his fifth-grade graduation.

As a young child making simple raps, DZ joined a school talent show to show off his hidden skill. The school's administrators were so impressed with his performance that they asked DZ to rap at graduation, too. "They asked me like a week before, 'Can you write a rap about the school, basically how you feel about it?'" he remembers. He accepted, leading to the first song that DZ ever wrote. His fellow students and their parents in the crowd had no idea that the little kid on stage would grow to become a fixture in today's Detroit hip-hop scene.

Despite FMB DZ's skill being recognized so early, he's been pursuing rap as a career for less than two years. His style is truly one of a kind, as he uses his gruff voice and cooler-as-a-fan persona to kick street stories and visions of balling that most can only dream of. He gets a lot of bars to fit into a small pocket, but it always works.

His 2017 stretch of releases is really what changed his career. I Ain't Gone Lie, the cleverly-titled Washington DZ and The Gift attained notable traction online and caught the attention of fans outside of D-Town. The videos for the tracks from these projects blew up. Washington DZ's "Heavy" has amassed nearly 2 million views, while The Gift's "Pressure" broke 3 million and the I Aint Gone Lie cut "Hold Me Down"—one of his most successful to date—sits at 6.6 million views.

Stepping into 2018 with his late-July project In My Bag, FMB DZ's momentum is just as steady as ever. Couple this with his August collab tape with Philthy Rich (Can't Funk Broke) and an upcoming project with his close friend and fellow Detroit wordsmith Sada Baby, FMB DZ will stay in fans' headphones. He isn't simply making it; DZ is heating up on his own terms, while also pushing his Fast Money Boyz crew to the forefront.

Learn more about FMB DZ on XXL's The Break.

Age: 24

Hometown: Detroit

I grew up listening to: "Slick Rick, Ice Cube, a lil E-40, a lot of Detroit rap I came up on. R.I.P. Blade [Icewood], free Street Lord Juan—they had a lot of influence on me. Shoutout Doughboyz [Cashout]. All Detroit music, for real."

My style’s been compared to: "All the greats. I'ma keep it real, everybody that done accomplished something, that done broke records, that done got put on a pedestal, all that, that's from where I'm from. They compare me to a lot of them. That be people opinion. I saw somebody say, 'You remind me of Tupac!' Come on man, how? I don't know, so I couldn't tell you! [laughs]"

My standout records to date: "It might be 'Hold Me Down.' A lot of people know me from 'Hold Me Down.' The message I gave through the song [is] you gon' be disappointed if you sittin' around waitin' on somebody to do anything for you. So at the end of the day, you just have to roll with the punches."

My most slept-on song is: "'The Run.' I can't tell you why for real, but they slept on 'The Run.' That was one of my best songs I ever did. I was me on there. I feel like when a person give you they all, you should appreciate that anyway. I thought that was gon' be that one, but you know how that go."

My standout moments to date have been: "A Summer Jamz show. Just off the strength of seeing all them people singing my songs with me. That makes me wanna keep going."

Most people don’t know: "I'm lazy, but I work hard at the same time. Once I feel like I worked hard enough, you can't tell me I didn't. So watch out. I'm cool for the day, I already did too much. And that's how it was growing up. My momma always called me the lazy one."

I’m going to blow up because: "Dedication and being me. You go further being yourself with whatever you're doing. I can't be me and be you, so as long as I'm being me and I'm encouraging people to be them, I'ma go far, period. I'ma make it."

I’m going to be the next: "Hugh Hefner. You already know why—I'm lazy. 'Aye, go and do that for me!'"

Follow FMB DZ on SoundCloud and Instagram.

Standouts: The Gift

In My Bag

"Hold Me Down" featuring GT


"Made Man"

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