Silas Stapleton III, known as Dear Silas, used to blend into the crowd, but after embracing his authentic self he is more recognizable than ever. The rapper, anime-lover and trumpet player’s song “Gullah Gullah Island” from his 2016 album “The Day I Died” caught listeners’ ears. But it was “Skrr Skrr” that sealed the deal, literally and figuratively. The song acquired viral success after the chorus was dubbed over a Dexter’s Laboratory meme.

It grabbed the attention of various record labels, and he eventually signed a partnership deal with RCA in 2018 and released his second album, “The Last Cherry Blossom,” the same year. Dear Silas is a shining model of success amid a narrative that local artists have to leave home to achieve success. In October 2019, he headlined the Mississippi State Fair’s Music on the Midway and performed at comedian Hannibal Buress’ first Isola Fest in Isola, Miss., in December. The emcee’s success is a big win for hip-hop culture in Jackson. — Aliyah Veal

WINNER: Best HipHop Artist/Group


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