The fertile, sprawling metropolis of Atlanta is home to dozens of hip hop’s most popular artists and influential trendsetters, as well as tens of thousands of kids harboring dreams of one day joining the genre’s elite ranks.

The latest Atlanta rapper to rise from obscurity is 20-year-old SahBabii, the brace-faced warbler from the city's ninth ward whose breakout hit “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick” feels like a euphoric rush of laughing gas. The song has been remixed by T-Pain, Fetty Wap, and Wiz Khalifa, received co-signs from Drake, Young Thug, Metro Boomin, and Lil Uzi Vert, and earned SahBabii a major label deal.

But who is SahBabii, exactly? We gleaned information from his interviews with the New York Times, XXL, and HipHopDX to piece together the following portrait.

He spent most of his childhood in Chicago

Born Saaheem Valdery, SahBabii was 13 years old when his family moved from Chicago’s Wentworth Gardens projects to Atlanta’s 9th ward. He used to catch glimpses of Young Thug, Cash Out, and his other idols at the local grocery store. The lukewarm reception to his first two mixtapes, 2012’s Pimpin Ain’t Eazy and 2013’s Glocks & Thots, cast a blow to his confidence, and he put his music career on hold. “I got so depressed that I had a bald spot in my head and they told me it was because of stress. I had a couple of suicidal thoughts,” he told HipHopDX.

With the help of his older brother T3, he began to improve his craft and started working on his third mixtape, Sandas. He got fired from his job at Dick’s Sporting Goods last fall, right around the time “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick” was beginning to take off.

He nearly threw away “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick”

SahBabii recorded “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick” on a broken microphone in T3’s bedroom using the music production software Cubase. An avid consumer of Animal Planet, he first laid down the hook then added bird noises to fill in the gaps.  

Upon completion, he uploaded a 15-second clip of the song to Instagram and received an unexpectedly enthusiastic response. “I seen it going viral on the Explore page,” he told HipHopDX. “At first I liked the beat, I liked the song but I grew not to like it for some reason, so it was really a throwaway until I seen it going viral on IG.”

He released the song in October as a part of SANDAS. “Atlanta was on it, the girls twerking to it, the whole clubs singing it, radio,” he told XXL. “Atlanta was definitely behind it.”


Energy Connected Us, Could Of Swore We Was Brothers That Grew Up In Da Same House

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Young Thug flew him out to London

Things really started to take off in February, when SahBabii released the “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick” music video. Young Thug flew him out to London, where the Boy Meets World tour was in full swing. He recorded a couple songs with Thug and, during a backstage meeting with Drake, learned that Drake was interested in adding a verse to “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick.”

The next month, he announced that he signed a record deal with Warner Brothers.

He has the full support of his family

SahBabii’s profile in the NY Times reveals that his parents quit their jobs to support his blossoming music career. His father, a former Chicago gang leader turned employee at Marta, the Atlanta mass transit system, is his manager. His family has founded the production group Casting Bait Music Group and trademarked the phrase “pull up wit ah stick."