Meet the next big name from the ATL rap scene.
There’s a new sleeping giant nestled in the cozy bosom of Atlanta’s burgeoning rap scene and his name is Lil Baby.
His mixtape Perfect Timing, which was dropped in April, has signaled the arrival of a red-hot new talent and the world is taking notice. Managed by Coach K and Pee, the CEOs at Quality Control, the tandem that Billboard called “the smartest guys in hip-hop,” Lil Baby is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow ATL luminaries Migos, Rich the Kid and Young Thug, the latter of whom grew up in Baby’s neighborhood. He and Thugger collaborated on “Rider,” one of several bangers on the mixtape, which has only added to the buzz of who some are calling the next big thing at QC.
Besides Young Thug, Baby has earned an impressive roster of powerful features, including Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty, Young Scooter and more. Lil Baby has said of his mixtape’s title, “I got out of prison at the perfect time,” but that can now be used as a larger statement about his career as a young-but-respected emcee.
Lil Baby hopped on the phone with HNHH to talk about the process behind making Perfect Timing, his ability to stay humble through his rising level of notoriety and who the 21-year-old turned to for musical inspiration growing up in the A.
How does it feel to have your hard work and mixtape (Perfect Timing) be paying off like this at the outset?
It actually feels great like, I’m still at the point where it kinda’ hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m just going with the motions right now.
What was that recording process of Perfect Timing like? Did it come together quickly for you or was it a longer process?
Real quick. Like actually it started off as not clearly you know what I’m saying. I was just playing around, playing around and some of the music was sounding good so we were like we might as well take the material and go with it so that’s what I did. It turned out great. You know I ain’t really think it was going to get the response I got but I got hell of a response.
Did you go in with a mindset of a specific sound you wanted for the mixtape or did that come together as you were recording it?
It just came together as I was recording it, but some of my songs got like different sounds. It was a mix of sounds actually.
Do you feel like you accomplished what you set out to do with the mixtape? Certainly by the response it’s been super positive so far.
Exactly it’s not going bad at all. The thing is I’m getting a hell of a response and people haven’t even heard it yet so you know what I’m saying, it can only get better from here.
I’m curious about the writing process. How do the lyrics for a song come to you? Is it spontaneous or do you have to sit down and have actual writing sessions?
I actually just go in the booth and go from there like I just freestyle and go in. I stop and then just listen to it, I take some parts out and keep and delete some parts. I ain’t wrote a rap though.
Next I want to talk about Quality Control. How did you hook up with Coach K and Pee?
I met Pee before he got into the music industry. We from the same neighborhood in Atlanta and kind of grew up together. That’s when Coach K came around. We started recording and they did what they suppose to do.
Coack K and Pee, they’re running probably one of the biggest hip hop organizations out there right now. Do you sort of feel like you could be the ‘next big thing’ with those guys?
Me personally, I don’t feel like that but everybody who I’m talking to that’s their response. They say ‘you next, you gonna be the next one, you gonna be big,’ but me, I’m a very humble guy. Like, it take a lot to make me feel myself I just go in like very humble.I never told nobody I’m gonna be next, but I will say I’m goin’ at they neck.
Is there any pressure on you because of all the big names that Coach K and Pee deal with on such a regular basis?
I hung around artists before I got into rap. Atlanta artists, and now most Atlanta artists are big. I’ll be telling myself, ‘you gotta go harder,’ but they’ll say I can’t be comparing myself to them because they’ve been rapping for 10 years. You know what I’m saying? Like, you just started rapping. I gotta be great.
You’re really close with Young Thug as well. How did you two meet in the first place?
Me and Young Thug, we know each other from school, like high school together and grade school, we’re from the same area.
What was it like working with Young Thug? You featured him on one of your tracks on the mixtape.
We was going to the studio every night and stuff like that to hang. Me and him are really cool. I never wanted to rap but he was my bro so I’d tell him, ‘Let me get on a song,’ and he’d tell me, ‘Go ahead,’ like it was never a ‘no’.
Did you get any sort of advice about music or ‘the biz’ from him or anyone else you worked with on the mixtape?
Yeah, like everyday - Gucci Mane, Young Thug. Any artist in Atlanta, now they see I’m rapping and they pull my coattail about anything. They don’t really have to tell me something, it’s just like ‘I’m watching,’ you know what I’m saying?
What was it in general growing up in Atlanta? Did you always want to do music as you became older?
Ain’t like what it was like. Never thought I’d be here on the phone doing interviews. Never thought I’d be going the rap way. People know they was going to be a rapper and, like, that wasn’t me at all. I’d be a hustler more than anything. I always know I’m gonna get me a bag of money though.
Do you think the music scene in Atlanta has changed since you were a young guy to now?
When I was younger, you never saw no rapper or someone that was famous. Nowadays, you see them all the time. Atlanta’s buzzing now, you know what I’m saying? You ain’t never seen no T.I.’s or Outkast when I was younger.
Who did you listen to growing up like who were the artist that inspired you?
Have you got any new stuff coming up in the near future?
To me, I give Perfect Timing, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 2. My new music coming out, I give it a 13.