Everything Blocboy JB does is for his father who’s behind bars
“Matter of fact, I got my own movie on the way. It’s my daddy movie,” the rapper told REVOLT. “I always talk about my dad, so everything I do is really for him.”
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Blocboy JB is here to prove he’s a superstar. Real name James Bale comes from the streets of Memphis, home to some biggest names including Juicy J, Young Dolph, and Yo Gotti — but Bloc stays in his own lane. Thanks to him, the “Shoot” dance became an online phenomenon after going viral.
Following the success of hit singles “Rover 2.0” featuring 21 Savage and “Look Alive” featuring Drake, with the latter’s music video currently at 327 million views and counting, Blocboy creates nothing but bangers. Having made the XXL Freshman List in 2018 and even winning a BET Hip Hop Award for Best Mixtape with his critically acclaimed Simi, the accolades have only begun.
Now, he returns with his highly anticipated debut album titled Fatboy, released via Interscope Records. At first glance, you might wonder why a skinny individual like Bloc would name his project Fatboy, but it was actually a nickname he carried in his childhood. The album serves as a first glance into who he is as a person behind all the turn up music.
REVOLT caught up with Bloc to discuss life, his friendship with Tay Keith, Fatboy, how he connected with 21 Savage, and reconnecting with his father! Read below.
You lived around the corner from Tay Keith coming up in Memphis. What were both of you like then?
We were young and really dumb. We used to smoke a lot of weed and chill. Tay Keith used to go to a different school though. That’s why the separation from school, we couldn’t wait to get back home, meet up and link. Kick shit.
What was the moment when things got lit?
Tay Keith did the “Birthday” song by Blac Youngsta. His turn up was before mine really, it made me go harder. Seeing him turn up like that, “Ay yeah I gotta keep going.” No tellin’.
Were you prepared for “Look Alive” featuring Drake to take off the way it did?
Nah, when it first came out, they asked me, “How many views do you think it’s gon’ get in a day?” I said, “Uhhh, 100 thousand.” That motherfucker blew. I know it’s a banger, but you don’t always expect the most of out things. When it happens, you’re like, “Damn it really happened.” My mind always takes me far because I always have low expectations.
“Came a long way from sittin’ in the nosebleeds.” Do you miss basketball games?
Yeah, I used to stay at the [Memphis] Grizzlies games. They had good games, I’ll say that. Even though they lose, Ja Morant will put up 20 to 30 [points]. He’s the Rookie of the Year, so it’s his season.
When you were working at McDonalds, what were you dreaming then?
Rapping, hell yeah. I was selling dope. I used to work and have a little side job, so I could keep my weed and other money rotating at the same time. I had to hustle.
Debut album Fatboy out now. I know this was a nickname you had when you were younger. Why Fatboy?
I named it Fatboy because I wanted people to understand the real me, to actually listen to the song instead of dance. Actually break down the lyrics. The “Shoot” vibe, they’re ready to dance and never listen to what I’m saying. Why even put a verse right there, why not leave the song saying “Shoot” right? I grew up watching Fat Albert. I wasn’t in the era, but I still watched the tapes. My stepdaddy used to have bootleg tapes.
It’s hard to imagine you chubby.
I was young, so my body wasn’t even fully grown. I was fat. I used to play center in football, I was fat as hell. Chubby. I lost that shit. I started playing basketball, my body started growing. Next thing you know, I’m skinny.
Do you eat healthy or are you just blessed?
Nah, I don’t eat healthy to be honest. I don’t be watching my carbs or nothing because I know I’ma eventually play basketball and run it down quick. I’ma burn that all out.
I interviewed Choppa, he doesn’t work out either. Can you bring us back to the first “ChopBloc”?
Shit the first “ChopBloc,” I don’t even think it was supposed to be a real song. It really got leaked, it wasn’t even a real video. If you go look at the first joint, we did a song in the studio our first time linking up. Before he got on, I used to be on my Instagram and he’d be one of the folks I’d clicked on every time I see him. I had to check him. The first “ChopBloc,” we’re just in the background talking, doing other shit. Behind-the-scene footage. Then “ChopBloc Pt. 2,” we shot the video.
Have you known Choppa way before his shit popped off?
Mmhmm. I used to go on instagram and roast people, I’d always roast him. That’s how we built that friendship, off of that. I used to fuck with him on there.
Have you talked to him since his spiritual awakening?
I done talked to him, but he wasn’t that deep in it. We’d be talking or smoking. He’s like, “I’m finna go meditate.” It’s a minute ago, he stopped smoking and all that.
What are you most excited for with Fatboy?
Just the videos and everything — to see the rollouts. I don’t care much about first week sales because throughout the weeks, motherfuckers gon’ catch on. First week it could sell 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K, it doesn’t even matter. Next week, you’ll probably sell 30K, 40K, ain’t no tellin’. I’m looking at the progress, I’m not looking at nothing else. This my first album, so I can’t do nothing but get better.
What records mean the most to you and why?
The “Outro” is really one of the ones I really rapped on. You really hear me rapping on it because it’s like a beat breakdown, you hear nothing but instruments. “Let’s Go,” and I’m ready to drop the “FatBoy” video.
Is that when you’re rocking the Fatboy suit?
Hell yeah, going crazy. Seeing everybody dressed up and having fun. That’s what I remember. Everybody laughing.
What’s the process in putting out music? Do you have to play it for Yo Gotti?
Mmhmm, I play the project for everybody. I gotta play it for my folks, let my partners hear it. Make sure everything’s okay. Gotti fucks with it. He said, “You gotta do something with this one.” It feels good. I got support from a lot of people.
“Rover 2.0” with 21 Savage is one of my favorite records of yours. Bring us back to when you made that.
When I wrote “Rover,” I was in the back of a truck. Not a Rover, but the Explorer. I knew this song finna do something. This shit hard. I said, “Yeah this a hit right here.” My cousin was in the room. I said, “I’ma play you that song.” Everything, the chorus. He said, “This ain’t it.” I’m like, “What?!” Once I dropped it, it came together. I know my music. When you get that feeling, I know for a fact this song too damn hard. If I can’t stop listening to the song, then I know something because I’m quick to go to the next song.
How did 21 get involved?
Instagram. Instagram’s the key right now. Really DMs. I had about 21K followers, I wasn’t one of the people on Instagram. I didn’t even know Drake’s name on Instagram. I’m like, “Who the fuck is @champagnepapi?” I look at the page, oh that’s Drake. I saw the blue check @champagnepapi, went crazy after that. I was more on Facebook, but I was never a social media person.
Now are you a social media person?
Still not, I gotta get into it. They’re trying to get me into it. If I’m on my phone, I’m looking for beats.
How proud is your mom of you now?
Very proud. It feels good, I can’t wait to go home. My mom and everybody’s at my house in Vegas.
What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean to you?
It means a lot to me. Black Lives Matter is me. I’m a Black life.
As someone with a platform, how can you continue to push the narrative?
I’ma tell you, I don’t want to just jump and make a song. I want to actually do something. I’ma contribute by making my own shit. I’ma get everything around like candy. I want to make some soap. All types of shit.
What are some of your goals?
Shit, my goals I already achieved. I want to get me a star on the ground. I want to be in some movies. Matter of fact, I got my own movie on the way. It’s my daddy movie. My dad’s in jail, he’s been in jail for 15 [years]. The whole story’s about what he did to go to jail, all the shit that went on, what he went through. Him finding out that I was rapping and I’m his son, he didn’t even know all this time. I started talking to him this year and last year. Before that, I never talked to my dad since I was young.
What was that moment you guys finally connected?
I was on the phone with my sister. She told me my dad said, “You gon’ call him?” He got 25 [years], but I don’t think he’s going to do the whole thing. He got caught with a gun and used to sell dope. I always talk about my dad, so everything I do is really for him.
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