Yung Lean is, if nothing else, a concrete example of the internet's effect on expanding hip-hop's global reach. His homeland of Stockholm, Sweden didn't exactly boast a booming rap scene (aside from unaffiliated local legends Latin Kings), so Lean fell into a 50 Cent wormhole. He cites Get Rich Or Die Tryin' as his first rap album.
Yung Lean's raps evolved into a hobby, and he began to post strange, magnetic music videos to YouTube. It wasn't exactly 50's brand of tough-talk NY hip-hop (replace guns with Arizona iced tea) or the Latin Kings' melancholy Motown rap, but it was perfect for the internet's odd, lo-fi collage aesthetics, and the digital world responded.
Soon Lean and the Sadboys were touring Europe, and Lean's desire to work Chief Keef and King Louie didn't seem so crazy anymore. Sweden has certainly held its own in the pop music spectrum (Little Dragon, Lykke Li, Elliphant, Tove Styrke), but its hip-hop scene was unable to make the trans-Atlantic leap until Lean came along. His lackadaisical style and internet-heavy content were tailor-made for the millennial crowds that extended far beyond Stockholm.