DaBaby Stakes His Claim as the Best Rapper Alive
With a combination of talent, charisma and a little internet know-how, it’s no surprise that newly minted 2019 XXL Freshman DaBaby has leaped out of Charlotte, N.C. and become one of the most exciting artists in hip-hop. DaBaby is going global.
After delivering his first raps back in 2014, the 27-year-old rapper formerly known as Baby Jesus has kept his foot on the gas by putting out eight mixtapes, including Baby Talk (2017), Billion Dollar Baby (2017), Baby Talk 5 (2018) and Blank Blank. This past March, he upped the ante with Baby on Baby, an audio thrill ride that includes an Offset feature (“Baby Sitter”) and “Suge,” a song that became his first-ever Billboard Hot 100 top 10 single.
While his rugged raps and decisive baritone helped him develop the core of his fan base, his music videos have taken his virality to a new level and further distinguished him from trite gangsta rap archetypes. The visual for "Suge" finds DaBaby rocking faux muscles and adopting the persona of a Suge Knight-like rap industry figure. In "Baby Sitter," he's an oversized kid stuffing himself with Fruity Pebbles and causing mischief with Offset. Meanwhile, in the video for "Carpet Burn," which is his most audacious yet, the rapper mocks another rapper he fought in a Louis Vuitton store. You get the idea, and so do his fans, who've helped his videos get over 109 million YouTube views over the last few months.
With his blend of athletic flows, quirky videos, viral stunts—in 2017 he wore a diaper to the South by Southwest Festival—and some honest-to-God strong rapping, the Interscope Records artist has made a career off fire and brazenness. He's got the work ethic to match up with the confidence, too.
“I feel like, since 2019, period, ain’t nobody [outworked me]. I done outworked everybody," DaBaby tells XXL. “And if I'm lying, let's line it up. Let's line up music that's put out, let's lineup videos that's [been] put out. Period. Let's lineup day-to-day content. Show's that's been done.”
Months removed from unloading his breakout album, DaBaby said he was only planning on leveling up even more. "Now that I'm a XXL Freshman, you know, I feel like that sets high standards for me, and I feel like I have to deliver. I like pressure," DaBaby says. "I plan to exceed all expectations."
See what DaBaby brings to the table by checking out his Freshman interview up top.
See Photos of DaBaby Behind the Scenes at the 2019 XXL Freshman Cover Shoot