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The artist I chose to review was Dominique Jones, who is better known as Lil baby. Lil baby is an American rap artist with a unique skill and understanding of rap culture. He is one of my personal favorite rappers, and many other college kids favorites too. Lil Baby has lately made a hot impression on pop culture and rap culture throughout America. The impression Lil Baby has made on pop culture has been a quick one too. Lil Baby came to be a success quickly through the way he is able to create multiple vibes through his music. Lil Baby essentially has a song for every mood, the beats in his songs are diverse as some are high and up pitch, and some are low and deep pitched. The way Lil Baby is able to give off multiple vibes in his music is one of the many reasons to why he has become so popular lately.
Born in Atlanta Georgia, Lil Baby grew up surrounded by pop culture and rap culture. Being a product of his environment, surrounded by rap culture, Lil baby had a natural extensive knowledge of rap music growing up. That environment that he grew up in, in Atlanta consisted of famous rapper, Young Thug. Young Thug was one of Lil Baby’s peers growing up in Atlanta, he helped introduce him to rapping at a young age. Today Lil Baby often references Young Thug in some of his songs such as, “We Should”. Lil Baby is humble for young thug as he helped him become who he is today. The two Atlanta based rappers have enormous amounts of respect for one another. After getting into the loop of things in Lil Baby’s late teenage years, he ran into some adversity. Lil Baby had some troubles around 2015 when he was 19. Those troubles lead to Lil Baby going to jail for two years for. Jail time for just a simple probation violation, a minuscule charge. If Lil Baby got these same charges today being who he is, it would have been no big deal. Lil Baby makes reference to how corrupt the government prison sentencing is in his Grammys performance “The Bigger Picture”. In, “The Big Picture” Lil Baby raps at the Grammy’s about police brutality throughout America. He talks about his childhood experiences in Atlanta and how his community was not respected by police. The line “It’s bigger than black and white” is often repeated throughout the song which I really liked. A call by an on-stage performer was later made out to President Biden to demand justice for African American people. The on-stage performance Lil Baby gave at the Grammy’s correlates his childhood experiences in America with the current ongoing social justice issues we are currently still seeing in America today. Lil Baby’s Grammy performance was tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.
After serving the jail sentence that he did for two years, Lil Baby came out more motivated than ever. He was hungry and motivated for a more successful life. Lil Baby saw first-hand how unjust and cruel the prisons system can be for people with minuscule charges. After getting out of prison in 2017, Lil Baby started rapping again as he realized he had a serious talent. Lil Baby often refers to his time in prison as a time he reflected and grew in his life. Shortly after he was released, in 2017 he released the mixtape “Perfect Timing”. This mixtapes title correlated to the point of time Lil baby was at in his life. He had just gotten out of prison and released a hot mixtape that would eventually change his life. Therefore, the title, “Perfect Timing” for his mixtape was really a perfect title. After the release of “Perfect Timing”, Baby took off and never looked back. He suddenly became one of the hottest artists in the world. Lil Baby’s album “My Turn” was at the top of the US Billboard 200 in 2020. Thus, making Lil Baby’s studio album, “My Turn” the number one album in the country. The title of the album “My Turn” is surreal to his success, just like the mixtape title “Perfect Timing”. Lil Baby is intelligent in the way he titles his music to correlate it with what is going on in his current life. “Perfect Timing” and “My Turn” are true in that aspect of correlating his life to his album titles.
The album “My Turn” really is Lil Baby’s turn, and we are all just here to witness. Just 4 years ago in 2016, Lil Baby was not even rapping. Now today he’s released some of the hottest tracks in modern day rap. Tracks such as “Commercial” in his album “My Turn” are upbeat with a tempo that goes up and down. He is able to produce high temp beats while at the same time rapping in a high pace. It’s essentially a double whammy of up-tempo lyrics and beats to give the song an electric vibe. The electric vibes that Lil Baby is able to create is why so many big times DJ’s reference his music for parties. His music is also often seen ay gyms for workouts, and anything else that gives off an exhilarating experience.
Lil Baby is considered one of hottest rappers out of Atlanta. Atlanta is a city with many well-respected rappers from the likes of future, TI, and Gucci mane. Lil Baby instantly became more infamous than all three, he did so through his consistent top selling songs that always seemed to blow up. His style of rap is almost entirely different from anyone else, or does he just out work everyone else? Lil Baby was in the studio for days at a time when he was creating the studio album “My Turn”. Being in the studio for multiple days at a time is one example of how he is an incredibly hard worker. His hard work is a large reason to why his rise of fame happened so quickly. Lil baby was that good off the bat, and everyone knew it. Lil Baby’s fame has skyrocketed since his prison sentence and his music has been incredibly consistent since he started rapping again in 2016. Lil Baby is a good example on how hard work and utilizing your skills can change your life, he is considered an inspiration by many.
The album “My Turn” took Lil Baby from the sky to the moon. This album accelerated his career in ways he never saw. He wasn’t rapping much and all of a sudden became the next big thing in just a year. When “My Turn” was released in 2020 people really knew this was Baby’s turn, and he wasn’t going to look back. Fire songs such as “Commercial”, “Solid”, and “Can’t explain” are some of the albums most popular songs. All three songs offer a hype, up tempo vibe to them. Alongside the album, other singles were released that too became very popular. The single “Woah” was released earlier in late 2019 and was considered a top single in the country for a long time. I listen to “Woah” a lot before football as it gives me the energy I usually do not have to practice. Lil baby quickly released another top single just two months later in January known as “Sum 2 Prove”. Both these singles were an instant hit for Lil Baby and can still be heard throughout numerous stations on the radio today.
This piece is part of the on-going series “The Social and Political Commentary of Music Reviews,” which is part of an Alternative Journalism course at Tulane University taught by Dr. Christine Capetola.