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Top-Earning TikTok Stars: The Wild Dreams Of Spencer X, Million-Dollar Beatboxer

Beatboxer and TiKTok star Spencer X: "I feel really, really confident in my ability. We're going to see what I can do with it
10:55 CEST+02:00
Top-Earning TikTok Stars: On the second floor of the Spencer X apartment in Hollywood, this 60-by-40-inch canvas print is the bottom of a black picture with an exposed mouth. The lips are covered in 100 pounds, a liquid gold current that runs to a mouth.

The TikTok star's mouth is quite literally his money-maker. Spencer envisions himself becoming the first big-time beatboxer. "I'm going to beatbox at the Grammy's," he says.

Spencer Polanco Knight, 28, earned $1.2 million in the past year on TikTok, the social media app built on singing and dance videos. He's ranked No. 6 on Forbes' inaugural list of TikTok's top-earning stars. He has 41.2m followers on the app, one of its biggest fan bases.

Beatboxing traces its origins in the 1980s hip-hop. Rapper Doug E. Fresh was that era's standout practioner. The Roots' Rahzel a decade later followed suit.

Spencer began obsessing over the art form as a high school sophomore in Manhattan. He dropped out of college and spent the rest of his early and mid-20s busking. He beatboxed with an a capella quintet, bluegrass group and Russian rock band. "It's very difficult ... and no one has done it in terms of [songs on] Billboard's Hot 100 chart," DJ Skee says. "Now it's very cool to see Spencer introduce it to a whole generation," he adds. "They're like, 'Dear God, what even is that?'"

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