In many respects, nothing was the same after Vine. Average folks became R&B superstars from reinterpreting old classics and hookless gangsta rap freestyles shot into the upper heights of Billboard. It also birthed the current generation of YouTube stars, among them the Paul brothers, Jake and Logan. Using a combination of regular YouTuber loudness and a surprisingly complex alternate reality derived from pro wrestling's kayfabe system, the two, particularly elder brother Jake, have amassed a devoted teen following. FYI, if you are one of those teens then this whole piece is the ramblings of an oldhead and is thusly non-essential to your life. As you were.
The 20-year-old Jake Paul has ingratiated himself with the rap world substantially, and nothing is more emblematic of this than a recent parody of James Corden's ultra-popular Carpool Karaoke featuring Paul driving around 21 Savage and rapping awkwardly along to the Atlantan's hits. Paul makes cringeworthy jokes about 21's name but Paul doesn't miss a beat. He plays Eiffel 65, gets shut down by 21, and shrugs it off. It doesn't make a lick of sense to me but it has to for someone otherwise it wouldn't have millions of views.
There is no way these two are as close as they say they are, but that doesn't matter because a) please no one follow Paul's example and aux cord DJ while driving and b) the clicks are all that matter. If most current rappers tap into a relatively engaged 18-30 demographic, then Jake Paul and other YouTubers likely have total mastery over a 12-18 group that's hyperactively, passionately online. Why wouldn't you work with him? The "Soundcloud" rap scene also holds sway here, but a Jake Paul and Lil Pump meet-up would venture into the realms of the avant-garde, so maybe these worlds should not merge.
In any case, Paul has already started a weird hip-hop career with his own rap hit. It's a godawful song by any measure but it has more views than your fave, so yeah, it's an objective smash. He then started a beef with his own brother, all of which was a work but whose associated songs also became hits anyways. Gucci Mane is working with him. He is not going to go away any time soon. Welcome, my son. Welcome to the machine.
Phil has no idea how we got here. He's on Twitter.