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Florida rapper Hi-Rez combined influences from the golden age of hip-hop with conscious rhymes delivered at breakneck speeds, diving headfirst into his own music at a young age and never letting up as time went by. He started out ambitiously writing music at age 13, and was releasing his first tracks and mixtapes by the time he was 17 in the early 2010s. Steady grinding resulted in several videos and singles with high streaming numbers, tours where the rapper both headlined and supported other acts, and non-stop music in the form of multiple mixtapes and more fully realized studio albums like 2017′s Missing Pieces. Hi-Rez was born Jesse Friedman in 1993 in the Bronx, New York. He quickly relocated to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he got an early introduction to East Coast hip-hop from his older brother. He began writing his own rhymes in his early teens, eventually taking it more seriously by his high school years and releasing early tracks online in 2010. His first mixtape, Early Release, was issued in 2011, and the songs already exhibited the high speed flows and East Coast influences that would later meld with the sunny, party energy of Florida production as his catalog grew. Releasing new music would be a nonstop practice for Hi-Rez, as he released multiple mixtapes, videos, and singles a year from there on out. A 2011 single, “Smiling,” was built around a sample of M83′s hit “Midnight City” and was streamed in the millions, as was 2015′s critically applauded “3 Ft Tall.” In addition to viral singles, Hi-Rez teamed with contemporaries and hip-hop veterans alike as he continued tirelessly producing new music. 2016 mixtape Never Say Die featured verses from peers like Riff Raff and Smoke DZA as well as stalwart rapper Masta Ace. His debut album, Missing Pieces, arrived in 2017 amid a series of one-off tracks and new mixtape material, and was followed the next year by Humble But Hungry. ~ Fred Thomas