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Lifting the lid on Lil Mabu: the viral drill rapper with a gilded past

Lil Mabu may have made his name as a drill rapper, but the Tik Tok star’s backstory as a student at one of the most prestigious private high schools in New York casts him in a very different light.

Otherwise known as Matthew Peter DeLuca, 17-year-old Lil Mabu has earned the support of established drill artists like Tory Lanez, Lil Mosey, Pnb Rock and Rich The Kid. He recently released his song ‘NO SNITCHING’, which includes the lyric: “I could never snitch (Gang, gang, gang), that’s on my kids (Yeah). I put a chopper on the blade (Grrah, grrah), put a blade on a switch.”

Those “kids” could well be students he met as a freshman at the Collegiate School on the Upper West Side, where he was a student board member promoting Kids Walk for MSK Kids. The school costs $60,000 a year. De Luca now lives on the Upper East Side of Manhatten in a sizable condominium with five beds and five bathrooms.

When he’s not there, he’s probably staying with his parents in the Hamptons, an area known for hosting the abodes of the rich and famous. According to the New York Post, the family’s properties are worth around $12 million.

Drill artists have long been accused of promoting gun and gang violence in their videos, with Eric Adams, the mayor of DuLuca’s home city of New York, calling for Twitter and Instagram to ban drill music videos. “We pulled Trump off Twitter, because of what he was spewing,’ he said during a press conference last week. “Yet we’re allowing music, displaying of guns, violence. We’re allowing it to stay on these sites.”

Mabu has adopted many of the drill genre’s classic tropes, making reference to gun violence in tracks like ‘I’m Not A Cop’. “Glock came wit’ a beam inside/Run him up on a demon vibe,” he raps, “Let it fire-fire-fire.” His viral videos have, in the past, featured fake shootouts at restaurants in Williamsburg and Brooklyn.

In 2021, DeLuca sat down with an interviewer from the New York Post, who drew attention to his history as a Grade A student, public speaking champion and writing award-winner. The Post quoted a parent from his former high school, who had previously expressed concern about DeLuca’s music.

“‘If this was any other child who did not have a rap career… who said anything close to what this kid is saying they would be expelled and would never be heard from again,” the unnamed parent began “Collegiate used to be Latin and Greek and Math Olympiads, and now it’s TikTok.”