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Lil Baby is trying to show "the other side" of a life of streets and struggle

The rapper talks success, new music, guidance from his label, and why you'll never catch him in the trap on Facebook Live.

Drea O

For most rappers, it takes some time to make a jump from artist to mogul. Lil Baby, however, who only launched his rap career a few months ago, is already ready to be groomed for a transition. Fortunately for him, he’s playing for just the right team.

“Even though I’m an artist, I’m learning how to be a mogul too,” he said. “I got Pee giving me game. They’re really coaching me to do it all.”

The “Pee” the Atlanta native is referring to is Pierre "Pee" Thomas who, along with Kevin "Coach K" Lee, has helped steer the careers of Lil Yachty and Migos, as well as launched one of the most exciting record label’s in modern hip-hop.

Under the tutelage of the Quality Control co-founders, the 21-year-old needed less than nine months to craft the three mixtapes that sparked the buzz currently surrounding him and his music. So far, his collection of 2017 releases includes his debut project Perfect Timing, the Lil Marlo-assisted 2 Da Hard Way, his breakthrough Harder Than Hard, which was equipped with viral hits like “My Dawg” and “My Drip” and now his latest mixtape, Too Hard. Both tracks have pulled in millions of streams with “My Dawg” having had garnered north of 16 million listens.

During a recent visit to the REVOLT TV offices, Lil Baby spoke about the success of his singles, Quality Control’s guidance, and his latest mixtape, Too Hard.

Were you surprised by the success of “My Dawg?” I definitely wasn’t surprised because, off of the dribble, I was telling people that this is the song that will get me heard. I knew this was the one because I had already had the wave, but I didn’t really have a song to go with the wave. When I made this song I was like, “This is gonna do it.”

With you releasing a substantial amount of music in such a short period of time, do you have a special connection to any song in particular? It gotta be “My Dawg” because that is the song that took me so far, so quick. I’ve been booked up for the last three or four months for every weekend. “My Dawg” carried it. I actually have content around it, but I know that that song gets me there.

What do you plan on buying with your first big check? It’s definitely going to be a foreign car. An over-a-quarter-million-dollar car. Even if I get a check right now for $250,000, I’m going to buy me a car.

What was it about Coach K and Quality Control that made them the right team to guide your career? Really, it’s like no other way. I would’ve never even rapped if it wasn’t for Coach K. At this point in the process, I wouldn’t even know how to go somewhere else. In the processes that I was in, I could’ve been tricked with no problem. With them, I know they ain’t going to trick me. It’s deeper than the rap. At the same time, I have someone who is teaching me and showing me because I’m listening on the conversations regarding the other artists. I’m there when Pee is having meetings, when he on the phone, when he has calls. I’m firsthand learning the game.

How did 2 Da Hard Way with Lil Marlo come about? Marlo is my dawg. On my projects, I already have songs with him. The streets [are] kind of like our chemistry. Some of my hardest songs are with Marlo. That kind of turned into “y'all might as well drop a tape.” So we ended up dropping a tape.

Talk about your new mixtape Too Hard. I’m kind of really excited about it because I’m getting better and better. I already know my fans are played out on my other mixtapes. Some people are still just getting to it, but the fanbase I’ve built up, they’re ready for me to drop something. I expect the excitement to be there and they are actually waiting on me. I’m excited to give it to them.

How have your past struggles shaped your music? That’s all my music really is, what I’ve been through, but I really haven’t given my full story. Right now I just swag rap, just drip rap. I ain’t really got deep in it. With some of my new songs I got coming out, I’ll have some stories in it about what I been through. If you didn’t know me, you’d see me like a little rapper, not knowing that I’m really from the struggle. I’m from the streets. I run the streets for real. I just don’t portray that image, even though I lived it for real.

Why is that? Because that ain’t cool for me. I’m forced to do that. I don’t have any other choice but to live that way. I don’t like it. That shit real. That shit everyday, so on the camera I’m trying to show the other side. I’m in the hood everyday, but you’ll never catch me on Facebook Live in the trap.

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