It's Time To Get To Know 2023's Fastest Growing Streamer, Kai Cenat

Who is Kai Cenat? A prankster, rapper, record-breaker, and content creator, just to name a few things. There's no one box that Cenat perfectly fits into, and he's built up his career that way on purpose. 


Cenat got his start on YouTube taking on challenges, making jokes, and getting to know his growing fan base. Before too long he found himself streaming on Twitch, where he found phenomenal success and dominated the scene in 2022. He won Streamer of the Year at the Streamy Awards, and his work throughout that year earned him an additional nomination for Streamer of the Year at the 2023 Streamer Awards.

As a member of AMP, Cenat has helped to grow a new content organization, becoming even more popular in the process. In 2023, Cenat broke one of the most coveted records on Twitch, and it's only motivated him to keep going. Here are some of the highs and lows experienced by Kai Cenat on his journey to the top of the streaming game.


He lived in a shelter

Kai Cenat hasn't always had an easy go of things. In his younger years, he and his family struggled financially, to the point where they even lived in shelters for a period of time. He explained in an episode of "360 with Speedy," "I live in Georgia now but we was in a shelter ... My mom was going through a lot of stuff, we was in a shelter actually here, where we are right now. And after, when we got on our feet a little bit, we went to Brooklyn and just tried to get things done." During this time, Kai and his three siblings were raised by his mother. He hasn't elaborated too much on his relationship with his father, only to explain that it's been strained since childhood. In recent years, he's only referred to his dad sparingly, remarking once on Twitter (now X) that he plans to be a better example for his kids when he finally settles down.


The streamer has since turned things around, explaining to "360 with Speedy" and Complex that he sees his mom as a hero for everything she did for him and his siblings when they were young. Since he exploded in popularity on Twitch, he's been able to repay her love and dedication in a few different ways — more on that in bit.

He's only been making content since 2018

Kai Cenat is part of a generation that grew up watching other YouTubers like Logan Paul make it big. He always knew that making a career as a content creator was a possibility, and he dreamt about building that career for himself for a long time. Cenat told TubeFilter that as a little kid, he "wanted to be a dancer or a police officer," but all the while he was watching and admiring other YouTubers.


Now Cenat is one of the fastest growing content creators around, so it might be surprising to learn that he hasn't been doing it all that long. He posted his very first YouTube video back in 2018. At the time Cenat was still in high school, and he was making YouTube videos as a hobby. He kept making videos after he made the jump to college, but  quickly realized that he had a real shot at making it as a YouTuber if he dedicated all of his energy to the dream. He left school behind to double his efforts on YouTube, creating new videos every couple of days. Before long he discovered this gamble was definitely going to pay off.

Pranks helped him blow up

To really make it as a content creator, most YouTubers need to find a niche. As a Twitch star, Kai Cenat is arguably known best for his "just chatting streams," putting his personality front and center as he hangs out with fans and guests on his channel. Cenat's fun-loving personality has always been a part of his appeal, but earlier in his career he had a much more focused approach to making content.


Cenat started out as a YouTube prankster, and some of his earliest videos revolved around stunts like texting his ex-girlfriend or pretending to break his little brother's PS4 controller. Once he was in college, Cenat went around his dorm ding dong ditching his neighbors for a video that became one of his first to break 1 million views.

Like many other streamers, once Cenat's audience grew, he started branching out and left some of his old strategies behind. That's not to say he isn't still a prankster, of course. He's brought back the classic ding-dong ditching prank as a member of AMP, using it to mess with his fellow content creators. Cenat is always trying new things, but it's safe to say he'll be pulling wild pranks on his friends and family members for as long as he's making content.


He joined AMP in 2020

Streaming isn't just about connecting with as many viewers as possible. Many streamers also try to forge relationships with other creators in the community, finding a group of collaborators who can help them push their career to the next level. Kai Cenat found his home with the content org AMP, a.k.a. Any Means Possible, which kicked off in early 2020 and has amassed nearly 3 million subscribers on YouTube.


AMP announced Cenat had joined the team in August 2020, and Cenat wasted no time in bringing his signature energy to the org's productions. Not long after he joined the group, AMP got a house for the group — and when Cenat arrived, he had the perfect opportunity to ding-dong-ditch his friends. Sadly, this arrangement didn't last long.

On the podcast "No Jumper," Cenat explained how AMP actually came to lose its first house. The group decided to shoot a video of themselves having a fireworks battle, and they caused enough damage that their landlord kicked them out. Fans didn't need to worry about that slowing AMP down, though. Just weeks after Cenat gave that interview, he posted a video showing off the group's new house in Atlanta, which has since become a base of operations for making content.


He started streaming in early 2021

Kai Cenat hasn't been making content on YouTube for all that long, but he's been working on Twitch for even less time. Cenat started streaming in February 2021, and he'd already started blowing up on YouTube by that time. Naturally, Cenat's Twitch channel got a major boost from his YouTube fans, many of whomwere thrilled to get to know Cenat on a more personal level.


Cenat's main focus on Twitch is spending time face to face with his fans, but he still finds time for streaming games here and there. Even in his early YouTube days, Cenat let his love of gaming shine through when he posted his big "Fornite" wins for his fans to see. When Cenat's playing games these days, it tends to be competitive rounds of "NBA 2K" or something even more entertaining for his fans to watch, like the scariest games he can find on "Roblox." 

Gaming is far from Cenat's main focus, but the category is still an integral part of most people's streaming careers. Besides, every once in a while, you just need to sit back and relax — so you might as well stream while you do it.

The mouse that changed everything

It didn't take long for Kai's Twitch channel to take off, thanks to the intervention of a furry little intruder. During a fateful stream in 2021, Kai Cenat was doing push-ups for his viewers when a small rodent ran by him. Though the streamer didn't immediately notice the critter, his chat and some fellow streamers certainly did. Upon playing back the footage, Kai Cenat was mortified to see how closely he missed doing a push-up directly onto his unexpected visitor. The clip quickly made the rounds online, much to his dismay. However, this is one situation where a gross moment paid off for a streamer. The incident and the ensuing memes and clips ended up bringing a ton of new viewers to his channel.


Some have actually referred to this specific stream as the moment that cemented Kai Cenat's internet fame, and it would seem that Kai agrees with this assessment. As he explained in an episode of the "Full Send Podcast," "I was literally in my mom's house, and the first big thing that happened was a f***ing mouse ran out behind me. And at first was just so embarrassed ... [but] it went viral." The rest is history.

He's involved in the music scene

Becoming the best creator possible means different things to different people. For Kai Cenat, it's not just about engaging with his audience. He also frequently indulges his creative side by taking on new kinds of projects whenever he gets the chance. Remember how Cenat said he wanted to be a dancer when he was growing up? Well, he got to really indulge that passion in January 2020 when he filmed a music video for the song "Shoot" by Adot.


That's not the last time Cenat collaborated with Adot for a music video, though, and he's also worked alongside artists like Polo G and Lil Uzi Vert for some of their videos. Cenat's not limiting himself to being a guest performer for other artists, though. In May 2022 he dropped a video for his own single, "Bustdown Rollie Avalanche," which racked up more than 11 million views in under a year.

If Cenat wanted to make rapping a major part of his career going forward, he'd clearly have no problem doing it. That said, fans of his first single might be disappointed to learn that it might not be in the cards. "I'm not a rapper. I'm a content creator," Cenat said in an interview with No Jumper. "I don't want to be known as a rapper." Rap is just one more way for Cenat to let the world know who he is.


His pranks have sometimes gone too far

The problem with pranks is that not everyone thinks they're funny, and it's way too easy to take a prank too far. In September 2021, Kai Cenat posted a video in which he pranked retail employees by pretending to steal their tips. Needless to say, most of the workers didn't find the situation all that amusing, even when Cenat tried to make up for it at the end by offering them a large tip.


Not long after Cenat posted the video, YouTubers Aba N Preach posted a breakdown of the entire situation. They criticized Cenat for messing with people who were just trying to work to get by and pointed out that offering a big tip doesn't make up for filming people without consent for a YouTube video.

Cenat posted his own response to the video, claiming that Aba N Preach were trying to cancel him for a harmless prank gone wrong. He went through their reactions beat by beat, trying to explain where he felt they got things wrong and where he felt he was being criticized unfairly. Cenat might not necessarily agree with the sentiment that he shouldn't have made the video in the first place, but he did say, "I didn't mean no harm, but I honestly understand where they're coming from." This is one prank he probably won't be recreating.


Serious controversy

A prank taken the wrong way is one thing, but in January 2023, Kai Cenat found himself embroiled in a much more serious controversy. 

Jovi "Jovilicious" Pena is a TikToker who knows Cenat, and on January 5 she posted a thread on Twitter in which she described a horrifying experience that happened at one of his parties. Jovilicious said that she was going to leave when Cenat suggested she should sleep upstairs because she was too drunk to safely get herself home. Not long after she went to sleep, another man came into the room and sexually assaulted her. In a later tweet, Jovilicious said that the blame for what happened fully belongs with the man who attacked her, but she strongly criticized Cenat for not being very responsive when she reached out to him about what happened.


Cenat explained what happened from his point of view on his Twitch channel. According to him, the moment Jovilicious made him aware of the awful incident, he went to the police and his legal team. Cenat said that his team told him not to text anyone or talk publicly about the situation and to instead step back and let the proper authorities handle the investigation.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

He's been banned from Twitch

Getting banned from Twitch almost seems like a right of passage for big streamers. Twitch has a habit of handing out bans in a way that's totally confusing for just about everyone involved. Some bans are fairly earned, but plenty of the biggest streamers have gotten bans that are completely bogus. At least they all come out on the other side with a fun story for their fans.


Kai Cenat has gotten banned from Twitch more than a handful of times. In the very first year he started streaming on Twitch, Cenat managed to get himself not one, but two 24-hour bans. At least those were easy to shrug off. In 2022, he was banned for 30 days, at which time he said on Twitter that he was done with Twitch. However, Cenat eventually cooled off and returned to the platform.

His most recent suspension came at the end of January 2023. Neither Cenat nor Twitch clarified why he got banned, but fans assumed it was because he took too many edibles on stream and passed out – something that likely went against Twitch's limited policies prohibiting drug use. Either way, Cenat rebounded from this ban as well, and his Twitch channel continues to grow exponentially.


He's big on family -- and bought his mom a house

Family is hugely important to Kai Cenat, and fans have gotten to know his family fairly well through his content. When Cenat first began posting on YouTube, his little brother was a major part of his videos. After the two of them filmed a mukbang video in which they talked about his little brother's older girlfriend, Cenat's fans began turning up for the latest gossip about his little brother's love life.


Since then, Cenat's sibling has been a regular guest star on his YouTube channel, but he's not the only one who's gotten in on the fun. Cenat brought his entire family onto his stream in February 2023 and let his audience get to know them a little better.

Cenat wouldn't be where he is today without his family, and he knows it. Like plenty of other successful content creators, Cenat has tried to pay it forward in the best way he can imagine. In October 2022, Cenat revealed that he'd spent the better part of the year working on buying his mom a house, which he excitedly showed off for his viewers.

He's gotten to hang out with big celebrities

Kai Cenat's meteoric rise to Twitch fame has brought him a ton of attention, and not just from his viewers. Cenat's stardom has put him in touch with some pretty big celebrities, and he's gotten to hang out with them both on and off stream.


Cenat's put his moves to the test in some rap music videos, but actually streamed with a major rap star near the end of 2022, when 21 Savage came to hang out with Cenat and his audience on another of Cenat's "just chatting" streams. Needless to say, the chat lost their collective minds with excitement, and 21 Savage found himself admiring Cenat's setup. Who knows? Maybe this will inspire the rapper to dive into Twitch himself before too long.

21 Savage isn't the only person who thinks that Cenat has a great computer setup for streaming. Kyrie Irving actually reached out to Cenat for help getting a new gaming rig for his own streams, and Cenat filmed a whole video about it. He was originally going to take Irving shopping for a new computer, but instead thought, "Why not be MrBeast for one day?" So he did all the upfront work himself. 


Considering how much Cenat's fans love having celebrities guest star in his streams and videos, it's safe to expect there'll be more surprise appearances in the near future.

He wants to be more relatable than other YouTubers

Kai Cenat's most diehard fans fell in love with him when he was still a high-schooler uploading YouTube videos as a hobby. They kept watching as he went off to college and were thrilled when he decided to pursue content creation full-time. His viewers cheered him on as he's joined AMP, released his own music, and met up with major celebrities, but Cenat himself has continually been concerned with keeping himself in a position to genuinely relate to his audience, even as his channel grows to record-breaking levels.


On No Jumper, Cenat explained some of his strategies for staying connected with his audience. As he explained it, when he was a kid watching YouTubers like Jake Paul make it big, he suddenly found himself feeling alienated when their content became centered around spending tons of money or finding ways to brag about their successes. 

Cenat wants to avoid showing up his own audience in that way, and he finds importance in the smallest details of his streaming setup. "In my streams I have a busted up old-*** chair ... I would never change it due to the fact that people relate to s*** like that," he said. He may be rich and famous now, but Cenat still wants to find ways to stay down-to-earth and hold onto his identity.


As of 2023, he's officially the biggest streamer on Twitch

It's not uncommon for content creators to come out of nowhere and take the internet by storm, but Kai Cenat's career is really something else. He started uploading videos to YouTube in 2018 and within three years he was a massive success, making videos full time, and getting to do things he'd only ever dreamed about before. He started streaming on Twitch in 2021, and in even less time he completely took over the platform and shattered Twitch's subscriber record


On February 28, 2023, Twitch's official Twitter account acknowledged Cenat as "the new king of Twitch" after his became the channel with the most subscribers in the platform's history. The previous record of 283,066 subscribers had been held by Ludwig Ahgren, but Cenat's February 2023 "subathon" — in which he streamed continuously for four weeks — pushed him over the top.

Cenat exploded in excitement the moment that he and his fans broke the record, but that wasn't the end for him. He managed to cross his goal of 300,000 subscribers just a few days later, further cementing his spot as a streaming legend.


Kai Cenat accidentally caused a riot

Kai Cenat's fans were shocked when the streamer was arrested and charged with inciting a riot on August 4, 2023. Cenat announced to his fans that he'd be doing a massive giveaway in Union Square, Manhattan, telling his followers to expect gift cards, PlayStation 5 consoles, and more surprises. The excitement turned to terror, however, when thousands of participants turned out for the event and quickly got out of hand. Videos of the ensuing riot quickly went viral on social media, showing people who showed up for the giveaway engaging in fistfights and destruction of property. Police on the scene arrested dozens of attendees, including Cenat himself.


The following week, Kai Cenat broke his silence on the riot, going live on Twitch to admonish the people who turned what could have been a positive event into such a nightmare. He also apologized for not realizing how quickly things would spiral out of control. "Being from New York ... it has been my dream to want to give back to the community that made me who I am ... But after Friday, bro, I've come to realize the amount of not only power, but influence that I have on people," he said. Though the event didn't ruin the streamer's reputation, it did shock a large section of his fanbase. The event also caused Kai Cenat to take a brief break from his streaming schedule and to reflect on how to approach these kinds of events in the future.