“Getting’ money is easy. Doing something with it is the hard part,” says Lil Baby. “My ultimate goal is for my son, and a lot of other kids, to not have to grow up the way I grew up. I give them a different outlook; I want to let them know they can have this much fun by doing something legal like me rapping.”

Lil Baby was doing fine on the streets, financially that is. After two years in the penitentiary, seeing close friends doing life, he finally gave in to the urgings of Coach and P at Quality Control Music to put that hustle into music. And two years later, wrapping up his authentic realities into addictive and beautiful deliveries, Lil Baby has become a genuine phenomenon. Every single project he releases has hit gold or platinum status, he was named the Best New Artist of 2019 at the BET Awards, graced the covers of both The Source and XXL as the “next big thing” and his songs have been streamed more than 11 billion times and had 3 Top 100 albums in 2019 alone. This year sees him coming back hard, harder, hardest with new album “My Turn.”

Lil Baby’s street anthems have established himself as one of the crown jewels in the chart-smashing Quality Control Music roster, going from ‘Rookie of the Year’ to massive critical acclaim, four gold RIAA certified singles, one double-platinum certified single, two triple-platinum certified singles, and one five-times-platinum certified single. His debut album, Harder Than Ever, entered the Billboard Top 200 at number three, with tracks from the record holding four spots concurrently on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. This year his single "Drip Too Hard" (with Gunna) was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Performance, marking Baby's first Grammy nomination in his young career of just over two years. The song started off the year as the first #1 at urban radio and was also the most played song of 2019 at urban radio. Lil Baby book-ended 2019 with another #1 song at urban with "Baby" (feat. DaBaby). Earlier the year Baby's solo song "Close Friends" also hit yet another #1, showing his clear dominance throughout year with 3 Top 10 singles.

With such a rapid rise and a relentless stream of hits, it’s clear that Lil Baby is one of the greatest modern success stories in hip-hop. Baby's fresh-faced career is still not too far removed from the street politics and ghetto realities he once knew, and he has raised the bar not only with his poetic story-telling, but with a rapid-fire linguistic genuineness that brought him to prominence.

“Whatever you doing, you need to do for yourself and be a stand-up guy - If you ain’t no stand-up guy you gonna fall,” says Lil Baby. “Whether I'm at the gas station or be at the store, I be there by myself. I be regular. I have an impact and people look up to me now. It's more than the money.”

The Too Hard mix tape, with the double-platinum single “Freestyle,” was Lil Baby’s first release to hit the national charts. Critics began to take notice of his writing and rapping skills—his accounts of street life that brought listeners into an urban underworld without glorifying it—leading to acclaim in The New York Times, Complex, The Fader, and many more. Rolling Stone singled out Baby as the culmination of his hometown’s dominance of 21st Century hip-hop: “Lil Baby is the result of over 15 years of Atlanta rappers obsessively reinventing themselves,” they wrote, calling him “a master synthesist.”

“Baby’s star is as bright as any young artist in the game,” wrote The Source in a recent cover story, going on to call him “one of the best storytellers of his generation.” Furthermore, the magazine noted, “add in his business acumen, leading to a new label and rubbing elbows with executive, and we have the evidence of a rising powerhouse.”

This mind-blowing, explosive rise to massive popularity and acclaim happened almost exclusively outside of mainstream media and conventional strategy. It came, instead, for the purest reason of all—kids responding to and connecting with Baby’s unique and distinctive sound and story, and his undeniable authenticity.

And he still has his dawgs in the SWAT, and is giving back, not only monetarily but by starting his own label, Wolfpack, to give talent that may not have the perfect set of circumstances that he did. He hangs with his crew popping wheelies on his 3-wheel motorcycles and shopping at the Lids in his hometown mall. In Atlanta, seems everyone is friends with Lil Baby, from the corner grocer to the uber driver to self-made moguls like Coach and P.

“All of my artists are personal to me,” says QC co-founder “P” Thomas. “But Lil Baby, I've known him since he was young. I just know his story. And his story, his background, and where he came from, and I just knew that if we grinded hard and worked that hard, we would end up where he is now.

“His work ethic is incredible,” the CEO continues. “I told him, ‘Whatever you was doing in the streets, just apply that same hustle to the music game.’ That’s what he did, and now he’s one of the brightest stars in the hip-hop community.”

Lil Baby got his name early on when he started hanging around older friends and relatives hustling dice at 12 years-old (the first time he went to juvie), and eventually moved on to the drug game (a past chronicled in the QC-produced documentary Preacherman). Running in the same circles as rappers like Young Thug, he became a familiar presence in the local studios, and caught the attention of QC founders Coach K and P.

“Coach used to always say that Baby had that swag, he needs to rap,” says P. “He was like my little man in the hood that wanted to get some money—all the way dedicated and motivated. He really reminded me of myself.”

But Baby wasn’t interested. Why walk away from the money he was making on his grind? “I didn’t want to be no rapper at first,” he says. “I thought it was just cool being who I was.”

After the prison bid, though, he decided to switch up his hustle and give music a chance. He started releasing mix tapes, beginning with 2017’s Perfect Timing, which featured Lil Yachty and Young Thug. His skill and the power of his unfiltered street-level perspective were immediately evident. Harder Than Hard came a few months later, including the regional hit “My Dawg.” More mix tapes, and more hits, followed at an almost impossible pace.

“We dropped six projects in 18 months,” says Coach K. “Who does that? And each project, he showed growth. I’ma put it in sports terms—he goes home and practices so hard. And then you put him in the big game, and he scores the winning touchdown.”

The 2018 release of Harder Than Ever, his debut album, took things to another level. “Yes Indeed,” featuring Drake, peaked at Number Six on the Billboard Hot 100, ranking at Number Thirteen on the year-end charts for Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs, and giving us the great line “wah wah wah, bitch, I’m lil baby “ The kid who had never been on an airplane when he first hit the studio had gone from the hood to worldwide fame in a matter of months.
Incredibly, things got even bigger with Drip Harder, his collaboration with Gunna, which made it to Number Two and also turned up on numerous Year-End “Best Of” lists. No less than seven songs from this one project hit the charts. XXL called Lil Baby and Gunna “an Ultron of melodic hooks and hard-nosed street raps,” and Complex wrote “Drip Harder makes you feel grateful that such beautiful music could exist while you’re alive.”

Lil Baby closed out 2018 with one more release, Street Gossip, which came out less than two months after Drip Harder. With guest appearances from Meek Mill, Gucci Mane, Offset, and others, it was another sensation, including the hit “Pure Cocaine.” Baby is already multiple singles into the next collection, including “Out the Mud,” featuring Future—another superstar collaborator, who has called Lil Baby “one of the GOATs of trap music right now.”

If Quality Control is the label that pointed the way toward hip-hop’s future—both sonically and in the way music is consumed today—then Lil Baby, with his intense dedication and astonishingly rapid growth, may be their definitive artist. And for Baby—who hasn’t slowed down since his run that earned him The Fader’s “Rookie of the Year” title—success is a team effort, and he wants to use his incredible ascent to bring up those around him. As he puts it, “I want everybody to win.

“Every day I'm getting shaped and molded. Keepin' on, being a better artist, and improving on this, improving on that” he says. “I've grown, and my passion for music has grown. I've enhanced my vocabulary. The more I'm in it, the more I'm practicing and the more I'm advancing.”

"Of the sweet-voiced Atlanta sing-rappers, Lil Baby is growing into the most well-rounded…both hypnotic and narratively detailed, an absorptive blob and an impressive lyrical exercise." - New York Times




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HOTBOII Feat. Lil Baby Don't Need Time (Remix)

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The Bigger Picture

We Paid feat. 42 Dugg

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Grace feat. 42 Dugg

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