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Lil Mabu, real name Matthew Peter DeLuca, is a drill rapper from New York City who steadily gained internet attention for his attempts to break into the NYC drill rap scene, with many internet commentators accusing DeLuca of being an industry plant who wields his wealthy background to astroturf his way into popularity. DeLuca has a large TikTok and Instagram following, with his main critics residing on Twitter and Reddit. DeLuca came under renewed scrutiny after his song "Mathematical Disrespect," which debuted in the Billboard Hot 100 at No.90.
DeLuca's earliest accessible music release was posted to his Soundcloud on June 15th, 2019, under the track name "Glue." The upload has gathered over 11,000 streams in three years. DeLuca posted his earliest YouTube video on October 16th, 2020, titled "Lil Mabu – "Heartbreaking" (Official Audio)." The track gathered over 170,000 plays in two years.
Matthew DeLuca began his foray into NYC drill rap with his song "Demon Time," uploaded to his YouTube on May 6th, 2021 (seen below).
The earliest known meme about Lil Mabu was posted to /r/memes on Reddit on March 29th, 2020, where it gathered over 1,400 upvotes in three years (seen below).
DeLuca began gaining popularity primarily on TikTok in 2022, with an August 9th, 2022, post on his TikTok gathering over 21 million plays in nine months (seen below, left). A January 20th, 2023 post on his TikTok gathered over 11 million likes in five months (seen below, right).
@lilmabu MABU NEVA LACK. THAT’S A FACT.🤝👿 #lilmabu #bronx #kayflock #adinross #fypシ ♬ NO SNITCHING (with Dusty Locane) – Lil Mabu & Dusty Locane
@lilmabu Lil Mabu – “On The Radar” Freestyle👺🤓#lilmabu #nerd #dthang #ddosama #nydrill #arrdee #centralcee #ukdrill #math #jackharlow #eminem ♬ On The Radar Freestyle – Lil Mabu
On January 21st, 2023, the New York Post published an article detailing Matthew DeLuca's lifestyle and history, describing him as the son of wealthy New York funeral director Peter DeLuca, adding that he lives in a "3,327-square foot condo on the Upper East Side," vacations in a "6,182-square foot" mansion in the Hamptons, and goes to Collegiate School, a 400-year-old private school that costs over $60,000 a year to attend. The article also noted that Mabu's father "might have a bit more street cred," stating:
He is a Manhattan funeral director, who in 2006 was accused by ex-wife Jane DeLuca of conniving with a pair of disgraced Brooklyn judges to cheat her out of millions during their divorce. He’s fought legal turf wars with fellow undertakers and once took a punch to the face after allegedly soliciting future business from a client’s 91-year-old mother. He also has a rare NYC permit to carry a concealed gun.
On March 15th, 2023, Twitter user @ayeejuju posted a clip from a Lil Mabu song with the caption, "bro tryna make it INTO the hood wit his music LMAOOO," gathering over 20,000 likes in two months (seen below).
bro tryna make it INTO the hood wit his music LMAOOO pic.twitter.com/VS7E9eeV3G
— juju 💰 (@ayeejuju) March 15, 2023
On May 15th, 2023, Twitter user @keybladevolo quote tweeted an announcement by Billboard that Lil Mabu's track "Mathematical Disrespect" had entered the Billboard Hot 100. The quote tweet shared a screenshot from the aforementioned New York Post article as well as a caption that read, "this rap shit so over dude." The post gathered over 10,000 likes in a day (seen below).
Accusations of DeLuca being an "industry plant" are buttressed by various internet commentators noting that they received messages from internet "bots" that were promoting DeLuca's music. On May 15th, 2023, Twitter user @xos1ck posted a tweet about receiving such messages, gathering over 300 likes in a day (seen below, left). Also on May 15th, Twitter user @kumbarz posted a screenshot of one such message (seen below, right).
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