Exploring the murky waters of the music industry, allegations of fake streams have cast a shadow over the credibility of some prominent rappers. In an era where streaming numbers can make or break careers, allegations of artificial inflation raise questions about authenticity. Moreover, fake streams cost hundreds of millions of dollars for artists and labels. Therefore, its no surprise that these claims stir up controversy and call artists’ integrity into question. 

Over the years, many rappers have come under fire for allegedly manipulating their streams. Surprisingly, even the likes of Kanye West and Cardi B have been hit with allegations of faking their numbers. Evidently, not even the biggest rappers are above being named for allegedly toying with the system. Here’s a list of five rappers who have faced the same allegations.

Don Toliver

Cactus Jack signee Don Toliver released his single “Do it Right” on November 18, 2022. Four days later, he dropped a music video for the song, which garnered an impressive number of views over the next couple of days. However, some viewers noticed discrepancies in the views’ ratio to likes and comments. After only four days of release, the music video had earned eight million views on YouTube.

While that could be excused, it was the number of likes and comments on the rapper’s video that made listeners accuse Toliver of garnering fake streams and engagements. With 24 thousand comments in four days, some fans just could not believe that the engagement was authentic. Subsequently, some viewers went through the comments and discovered that there were many questionable comments that seemed to have been made by bots. 

G-Eazy

On January 24, 2022, Vice TV dropped the third episode of Black Market Season 2. In it, the late Michael K. Williams went undercover to expose the truth about streaming farms in the music industry. While speaking to Williams, a masked man reveals that many popular rappers allegedly fake their streams. During the episode, one of the rappers mentioned is G-Eazy, whose management was exposed in 2021 for trying to generate fake streams. An audio recording obtained by Rolling Stone revealed G-Eazy’s management exploring options for boosting an upcoming release.

Roddy Ricch

After Roddy Ricch released “Twin” featuring Lil Durk on November 14, 2022, he followed up with a music video a week later. Five days after its release, the video had racked up almost six million views. However, it’s the significant jump in views within the span of a day that made viewers suspicious. Subsequently, he was called out for generating fake streams, especially when it was also discovered that there were a ton of bots that dropped comments on the rappers’ video. 

Travis Scott

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♬ original sound – Shane Morris

Since Travis Scott is such a huge star, fans do not expect him to be named among rappers who have generated fake streams. However, if what his former manager said in 2021 is to be believed, then indeed, Scott has had some tailored assistance. On November 8, 2021, Shane Morris, Scott’s former manager, spilled some tea on his TikTok account about alleged fake streams.

“For Travis, what we did was fake his popularity,” Morris said. “I programmed a fleet of SoundCloud bots to artificially inflate his play counts on SoundCloud. This told record label executives that he was much more popular than he actually was,” he continued. Morris went on to share that the same was done for Travis Scott’s Twitter account with technology early on in his career.

Kanye West

Ye is another one of the most prominent rappers to be hit with claims of fake streams. On February 14, 2016, his seventh album, The Life of Pablo, was exclusively released on Tidal. It remained a Tidal exclusive until April 1, 2016, when it was finally made available on other platforms. While it was a Tidal exclusive, the platform disclosed the album’s streaming numbers after a while.

According to Tidal, The Life of Pablo earned over 250 million streams within its first ten days of release. Although Ye is widely regarded as a global superstar, these numbers raised many eyebrows. However, nothing was said until 2018, when Tidal was accused of generating millions of fake streams for the album. Following their investigation in January 2017, the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv exposed Tidal and Ye for allegedly faking streams.

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