Brooklyn-based artist Jufu is lighting up the stage, social media and Times Square
A rising young rapper from Brooklyn is reaching success by keeping things on a positive note.
Jufu, 21, from the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn, is lighting up the stage, social media and the Big Apple. He's gone from cracking jokes on Vine, to going viral on TikTok – and now, he's landed the record deal of his dreams and is featured on a billboard in Times Square.
The last seven years have been a whirlwind for Jufu, whose real name is Julian Jeanmarie.
Born in Midwood and raised in Mill Basin, he recalls when he was the quietest kid on his block, spent lots of time indoors and created content solo.
As a young teen, his mom remembers when he would make videos that began to rise in popularity and views. At that time, he was known as Julian Fulian online.
His followers grew to 200,000 on Vine by 2016. And while his online presence grew, so did his love of music.
Julian's an alumnus of Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School, where Levi's and Alicia keys created the Music x Technology program. He says that's where he learned to record himself and produce using new programs.
He took his new skills to the next level. With Vine's 2016 demise and TikTok's eventual rise, the teen switched apps without missing a beat – and that was the birth of Jufu.
"I became Jufu in 2018," he says. "I gave it a definition: state of selflessness. In the Jufu logo in Korean, it says 'selfless.'"
He giving back by teaming up with brands to donate money to students and visiting schools to perform and talk to kids.
Since hitting TikTok, things have started to really heat up for the artist. A video for his original song "Who R U" was remixed by Steve Harvey and reposted by Will Smith, boosting his video to the well over 6 million streams it has today.
As that video continues to gain attention, he hopes the message in his latest one for "KIWMB (Kickin' It With My Bros)" is clear: don't take life too seriously, and don't give up.
"If I would've stopped when, for example, my accounts have been hacked, or when Vine died … I wouldn't be able to be where I am today," he says – and that is signed to Island Records with a billboard in the middle of Times Square.