Five years ago, Dallas, Texas’ Numbaa 7 achieved over 2 million views with his very first video. “I was just trying something out and doing it,” the 22-year-old says of his 2016 self-titled breakthrough. Then, months later, a turn of events nearly caused 7 to walk away from rapping for good. But in 2020, after a challenge from the late Mo3, 7 regained his momentum—with five more songs that quickly reached seven figures. Now committed to his craft, the artist who balances punchline bars with melodic deliveries prepares his debut, 7 Season. Featuring Babyface Ray, Jackboy, and Money Man, this album celebrates a unique comeback story.
Jaleel Pinder grew up in Southeast Dallas’ Pleasant Grove section. In the low-income area, he and his five siblings relocated from Pennsylvania to what is locally known as “the 65.” Raised by his mother, 7 describes an upbringing that relied on food stamps and government assistance. He had a lifelong appreciation for Rap music but never tried his hand at it until his teens. Under the name of YNB x Stretchgang, the 17-year-old and his affiliates released the raw introductory song “Numbaa 7.” The 2016 song title stemmed from street codes. “Everybody in the inner circle had a number. At first, we were the only ones who knew the numbers,” the rapper explains. “When everybody started finding out who was who, we just made them our Rap names.” Already well-known in his community, the video took off amid a time of rivalries and tensions within Dallas. In less than a year, the raw, in-your-face video hit a million views.
As 7 and his affiliates recorded more songs, trouble with the law caught up. “The police came to the studio, and they took away all the computers, equipment, hard drives, and all that,” the rapper says. The artist who was reluctant to record his first song says he walked away from Rap, frustrated with the outcome of his hard work. It was not until late 2019 that Pleasant Grove’s brightest star would nudge him back into music. “I took a break for four years; I stopped rapping,” he explains. While fans around Pleasant Grove and on social media constantly requested more music, the platinum hometown hero successfully reached 7. “I ran into Mo3, and I chopped it up with him. He was like, ‘What makes you think you’re gonna do them same numbers? You gotta drop a song; you gotta show me.’” Accepting the challenge, Numbaa 7 kicked off 2020 with the aptly titled “Poppin’ My Shyt”—a song that showed a sharpened flow and a grown-up voice. This video reached a million views even faster—settling the score.
If Mo3 was trying to motivate Numbaa 7, it worked. The young artist began treating Rap seriously for the first time in his life. He soon could support his family through music and pursue his passions—including raising and training pit bulls. By June 2020, the two artists teamed for “Playin’ With ‘Em,” a commanding collaboration that has since reached nearly 5 million views. The song was one of many the artists made together. “We’d just be in the studio, doing a whole bunch of different stuff,” 7 recalls. Sadly, in November, Mo3 was fatally shot—a loss that 7 admits he is still processing. However, their chemistry endures, evident in the 2021 hit “Control Us,” a high-powered track with another Pleasant Grove breakout, MTM DonDon.
After cementing a strong foundation, Numbaa 7 continues to challenge himself. 7 Season lead single “There Go Seven” plays with Auto-Tune, while “Now Today” evokes the party, and “Different” speaks directly to the streets that raised the artist. Backed by EMPIRE distribution, Numbaa 7 is a purposeful talent. “I don’t try to ride anyone’s wave; I just want to elevate more.”