Better known by his stage name Silento, American rapper Ricky Lamar Hawk was born in January 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia. Like The Weeknd, Silento began his music career by uploading a debut single, entitled Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) onto social media – firstly onto photo sharing site Instagram and then onto his YouTube channel in June 2015.
Made alongside Bolo Da Producer, the single attracted more than 2.5 million views, leading to Silento being signed to Capitol Records. The record label went on to release the song with a music video, and it reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Silento’s debut song has become something of a social media dance anthem thanks to its lyrical references to the whip dance, the nae nae and the stanky leg, with hosts of fans on both video sharing site YouTube and on Vine, onto which users upload their own short dance videos accompanied by the song.
Still in his teens, the singer said of his start in senior year in high school the he was confident the “girls are going to be his fans.” Far from dropping out of school to pursue his musical ambitions, Silento recently told Billboard magazine that he wanted to “go to college for business. I’ve got to find out what’s going to be the best place for me.”