Nine years ago, Micro TDH was rapping in the streets of Venezuela with dreams of stardom. After seeing his profile rise in his native country, the rapper born Fernando Daniel Morillo Rivas in the city of Mérida, spent all of his money at the time to travel to Miami and be at the heart of the industry. Thanks to his determined spirit and soulful voice, the 22-year-old has worked his way onto stages across the U.S. Micro TDH’s journey culminates in his new album 9, in which he flexes his fierce rap flow while exploring genres like R&B, reggaeton, funk, and rock music. With Venezuela underrepresented in the Latin music scene, the underdog is aiming to be the next big Latin pop star.
“I wanted to demonstrate the versatility that I have in music,” Micro TDH tells SPIN over Zoom. “That I can leave my mark in all the genres. I wanted to challenge myself. There’s also that hip-hop essence of Micro from the beginning.”
A freestyle battle movement was becoming popular in Mérida when he was 12. After watching people battle, he fell in love with the artform and dared to get in the action himself. His stature as a small, scrappy kid earned him the “Micro” moniker in the streets. At the same time, he uploaded his music to YouTube, which eventually took off across the country. In 2016, Micro TDH expanded his reach across Latin America with the soulful “Cafuné,” which amassed over 134 million YouTube views.
Micro TDH’s success caught the attention of the label Big Ligas and Ovy on the Drums, the producer behind Colombian superstar Karol G. He met with Ovy in Medellín where they wrote “Te Vi,” which became the global breakthrough that he was looking for. The reggaeton love song featuring Colombian group Piso 21 amassed over 470 million views on YouTube.
“That song was a hit in places like Korea, France, China, Japan—everywhere,” Micro TDH recalls. “That was like magic. ‘Te Vi’ was a big door [for me] to the international market.”
In June, Micro TDH signed with Warner Music Latina to prepare what became 9 with Ovy on the Drums. Critically, Micro TDH received a co-sign from Puerto Rican rapper Myke Towers who appeared on “El Tren.” Additionally, he also unleashed his swaggering flow in odes to sports legends like Cristiano Ronaldo and Venezuelan world champion Edwin “El Inca” Valero.
“Ronaldo is a world champion,” Micro TDH says. “He has a world cup that puts him above a lot of other people.” In talking about El Inca, he acknowledges the “terrible acts” the fallen boxer committed at the end of his life. “During his boxing career, he was very big and from my hometown. He represented the fury of Mérida and the fury of a champion.”
On 9, Micro TDH also showed a romantic side to his music. In his new single “Negro Mate,” he blends reggaeton and R&B. Micro TDH performs a bit of choreography to win over his toxic partner for one last night of rough romance. In “Arrancame La Piel,” he longs for his lover’s touch over the funky groove of Daft Punk-like guitars. The centerpiece of the album is the sensual banger “En Soledad,” which features all Venezuelan artists. Micro TDH’s longtime friend Big Soto is among the line-up with Akapellah, Jerry Di, and Adso Alejandro.
“That song was born from an idea that we need to include more Venezuelan artists in big collaborations,” Micro TDH says. “So that people on an international level can see when we get together, we’re stronger. We united and demonstrated one power that can only come from Venezuela.”
This past fall, Micro TDH wrapped his first sold-out tour of the U.S. In closing out the first nine years of his career, he’s just getting started.
“I want to reach the world!” Micro TDH says. “It’s a big honor for me to represent my country. It’s not a secret to anyone that it’s full of talent and potential. Venezuela has spent many years marginalized in the panorama of Latin music and now we’re opening paths and more space inside that panorama.”