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This year, North Carolina-bred emcee DaBaby made an undeniable mark with the arrival of his Baby On Baby debut album. Emerging with a refreshing cadence, unmistakable swagger, and a hint of good old-fashioned je ne sais quois, DaBaby has captured our ears and shows no signs of slowing up.
Making waves with a string of independent releases before finally inking a joint venture deal with South Coast Music Group and Interscope Records, DaBaby has laid the groundwork for a career doused in longevity. Equipped with alluring personality and addictive soundscapes, the southern rapper has earned hefty co-signs from the likes of J. Cole, Boosie, and Birdman; among a host of others. Since shedding his former moniker of baby Jesus, DaBaby has been on a steady mission to prove just why he's the "best rapper alive." Even if he hasn't quite arrived at that particular destination yet, it has been a long time coming for the upstart to get the recognition he deserves, and we've listed the five reasons why you should get on that wave now.
1. He's putting on for the Carolinas
In case you haven't noticed, there's been a hip hop renaissance taking place between the Carolinas as of late with the likes of Rapsody, YBN Cordae and, of course, J. Cole taking their rightful places -- front and center -- in setting a standard for the sounds that emerge between the states. Planting his stake in the city of Charlotte, DaBaby has firmly carved out his own lane in a sweet spot that blends the swagger of street anthems with lyrical finesse. His uptempo creations have infused a new liveliness and excitement into an area well-known for much more conscious, and weighted outputs.
2. Baby On Baby
With the arrival of his debut Baby On Baby studio album via Interscope, DaBaby opened up at No. 25 on the Billboard 200, making an unmistakable indication toward something special in the making. Overall, Baby On Baby is an impressive body of work that does an impeccable job at displaying the southern emcee's versatility across backdrops while flexing his ability to curate a coherent sound. It's arguably one of the year's better efforts to date and will likely hold up its weight as one of hip hop's most refreshing debuts in years.
3. His newly dropped charges
Last November, DaBaby found himself implicated in a deadly shooting at a local Wal-Mart in Huntersville, North Carolina after a 19-year-old died of gunshot wounds. The rapper, born Jonathan Kirk, was the only person charged and faced the possibility of being locked up for carrying a concealed weapon. He previously addressed the incident by implying that he acted in self-defense when two men approached him, while he was shopping with his family. "If them gunshots ain't go off, my f*ing daughter could've got hit, son could've got hit," he stated.
Most recently, the charges that were brought up against him were dropped, freeing the rapper of the burden that a prison sentence can have on any budding artist's career. Such a burden has been evident with the new class of controversial star's in hip hop, but a clean slate for DaBaby means the opportunity to focus on his music and prove his worth without distraction.
4. His interesting marketing tactics
Dababy's first wave of prominence arrived in 2017 when he began to walk around in public wearing nothing but a diaper, naturally a play on his stage name. Notably, he garnered significant buzz for bringing the antics to SXSW, underscoring his attitude of nonchalance and his strong sense of humor. It certainly was enough to get people talking, inevitably leading them to his impressive catalog. "You wanna control your message, you wanna control your image," he once explained of his methods in an interview with LA Leakers. "You wanna control all that. The less you control, the more of yourself you're giving away."
5. His humorous music videos
Aside from baring it all in public, DaBaby has also managed to translate his comedic tendencies into interesting visuals for his tracks. Full screenings of music videos for cuts like "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Suge" are excellent examples of a talented artist who has decided not to take himself too seriously. The result of such a combination is a library of entertaining pieces of imagery that certainly rival the string of monotony displayed in hip hop's music video landscape these days. He's effectively setting a blueprint for just how far a little creativity can get you and in DaBaby's case, that equates to over 13 million YouTube streams and counting in just under a month for one clip.
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