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Duki’s writing process is simple. “I only need a microphone,” the Argentine rapper says. “I start improvising and from then I just start building. But I’m writing in my head as I freestyle.”

A self-described melómano (music lover) who grew up listening to Luis Miguel and The Beatles, the 24-year-old artist, who last year scored a Latin Grammy nod for “Hablamos Mañana” with Bad Bunny and Pablo Chill-E, started his career freestyling on the streets of Argentina, which would eventually lead him to be a standout in the country’s rap competition El Quinto Escalón. It was then that he knew he could make a living out of music.

“I was around 17 years old when I realized that it was my way of connecting to the world. And that music is what I’ve loved most. I found a space where I wanted to thrive in.”

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In 2016, he released his first single “No Vendo Trap,” which, like most of his videos on YouTube, raked in millions of views. Subsequently, he released “She Don’t Give a Fo” and “Hello Cotto.” But it was his feature on Khea’s “Loca Remix” with Bunny and Cazzu that earned his his first entry on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs. It peaked at No. 45 on the chart dated June 23. To date, his catalog has earned nearly 50 million on-demand U.S. audio streams.

“I’m not the type to be looking at charts,” says Duki, who says he’ll collaborate with artists whose craft he admires. “But if it happens, it’s always a nice thing. What really motivates me is what a song can do for me or someone else. It’s rewarding to know that I’ve shown something different in a song that my fans appreciated. What’s important is to know that someone liked, understood and supported one of my tracks.”

While he doesn’t have a recording deal, his booking manager is Federico Lauría, who has guided the artist after meeting him 2017 and has led him to headline Buenos Aires Trap festival with Bad Bunny and perform a sold-out show at Luna Park, one of Argentina’s most prominent venues.

“Duki was a phenomenon out on the streets and instantly we knew we wanted to work with him,” Lauría previously told Billboard. “He’s the biggest Argentine trap exponent.”

On Thursday (April 22), Duki released his new album Desde El Fin Del Mundo featuring collaborations with Khea, Farina and YSY A. “The biggest difference in this album is that I’m more mature and more professional,” he says. “But I feel happy with the end result. You can stream his new album here.

Learn more about this week’s Latin Artist on the Rise below:

Name: Mauro Ezequiel Lombardo

Age: 24

Major Accomplishment: “To have been able to make something out of the tools my parents gave me. And now, I can give back and support them. I’ve achieved all of them because of their support.”

Recommended Song: “‘Piensa En Mí,’ which is not even one of my songs it’s Sticky M.A.’s and I’m featured on it but I love that song. It’s completely different from my early repertoire. And I love the lyrics and the message behind it.”

What’s Next: “I’m going to keep recording more music but this time I’m going to do more reggaetón and dancehall tracks, just more danceable music.”

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