Photo: Jackie Dimailig
DaBaby Talks 'BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE),' Black Lives Matter Remix Of "ROCKSTAR" And Rap's Obsession With Deluxe Albums
DaBaby opens his newest album, BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE), on some realness.
"I said I really ain't wanna do the deluxe thing, man, but you know … / I'm ready to put out some new-new / Show these n****s what I do-do," he quips on album opener "BILLBOARD BABY."
The deluxe version, released last week (Aug. 4), is an extension of the North Carolina-based rapper's chart-topping album, BLAME IT ON BABY, which he originally dropped in April. Still, the 10 fresh tracks featured on the newly released package are enough to stack up a standalone album on their own merit.
For DaBaby, who was initially reluctant to create the extended version, the idea for the deluxe album came after he saw his fans engaging with the original during the earlier stages of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent quarantine episode.
"I wasn't busy on tour performing the music that I just put out on the original BLAME IT ON BABY," he tells GRAMMY.com. "I wasn't busy, and I ain't feel like the world was busy. And I just felt like the world needs more music, 'cause music consuming everything a whole lot more because we don't got nothing else to do."
With BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE), DaBaby now joins a long line of fellow rappers and artists dropping souped-up deluxe albums during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the way he sees it, the deluxe package is more than an addendum to the original—it's a "step up."
"I feel like anything I put out, if it's new, it has to be better than what I put out previously," he says. "I want to always get better, always progress. So I definitely felt like what I put out on the deluxe was a step up from what I put out on the original, even though I put out a No. 1 song on the original one."
BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE) is the latest victory lap in DaBaby's long-running winning streak. The album follows his debut LP, Baby On Baby, and follow-up, KIRK, both of which he dropped in 2019. The former featured the rapper's breakthrough hit "Suge," which garnered him his first-ever GRAMMY nominations (Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song) at the 2020 GRAMMYs. Last October, KIRK became his first album to top the charts in the U.S.; six months later, he repeated the feat with BLAME IT ON BABY.
While his relentless work ethic has taken him to the top of the charts and rightfully earned his place atop the rap throne, he's (secretly) taking his steps toward the "next level" in his career.
"The next level would be mega-stardom, you know what I mean? And something will take place that'll take it to the next level. I just don't want to reveal it yet, but just know it's a super-big thing on the way—super-big thing," he teases.
GRAMMY.com spoke with DaBaby about the unplanned vision of BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE), the inspiration behind the Black Lives Matter Remix of his breakout song, "ROCKSTAR," and rap's current obsession with deluxe drops.
You open your new album, BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE), joking about how you didn't want to "do the deluxe thing" and instead put out some "new-new."
Show people what I do-do.
Exactly. When you originally wrote the original version of BLAME IT ON BABY, did you have a plan or an idea to do the deluxe version?
Oh nah, I didn't … What I was saying at the beginning of that, I was serious. I never really did like the idea of a deluxe. I looked at it as like a bailout, really. I felt like people drop a deluxe when ... they weren't satisfied with the original album. That's how I always looked at a deluxe.
But even when the pandemic hit and everybody started doing a deluxe, I made the point, like, "Nah, I won't do one of those. I'll just drop a new album." But then I dropped [BLAME IT ON BABY] and then I see the way people are receiving music right now, I see the way everything is going on with the whole COVID thing. And I wanted to put out more music.
I wasn't busy on tour performing the music that I just put out on the original BLAME IT ON BABY. I wasn't busy, and I ain't feel like the world was busy. And I just felt like the world needs more music, 'cause music consuming everything a whole lot more because we don't got nothing else to do.
Did you write the 10 new tracks featured on the deluxe after the original one dropped? Did you record them at home in quarantine?
I did some records at home. One of them, I put a blog on my Instagram of me recording it. I only did like two of those at home. I did "TROUBLE" at home, I did "GO" at home. And the rest of them I did in the studio.
Speaking of that new-new, the deluxe features 10 new tracks. That's basically a whole new album right there. How do you decide what goes on a new album versus what goes on a deluxe album? Where do you draw the line?
That's the thing, I didn't. I ain't draw it. I feel like anything I put out, if it's new, it has to be better than what I put out previously. And that's just the way I rock. I want to always get better, always progress. So I definitely felt like what I put out on the deluxe was a step up from what I put out on the original, even though I put out a No. 1 song on the original one. But I just felt like putting out a new wave of music, though. It was so much going on around the time that I dropped the original one that I felt like I wanted to hit 'em again. That's what we did with the deluxe.
In the last few months, artists like Gunna, Lil Durk, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi Vert and others have dropped deluxe versions of their albums. Now we got BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE). Why is the rap game so obsessed with deluxe albums right now?
I think it's because people consuming everything a whole lot more now. People really don't got nothing to do; everybody trapped in the house somewhere. So I feel like it's the perfect opportunity to be putting more music out for anybody—just give people something to do. You at least want to listen to some music.
Speaking about being trapped in the house, on your track "GO," you rap, "I ain't mad at the corona, I've been chillin' at the crib." How have you spent your time in quarantine? Have you had any positive outcomes out of this quarantine era?
You have more time around family members and loved ones, more time around the kids. Just more time to do other things creatively than I didn't have the time to do before the coronavirus hit.
The original BLAME IT ON BABY was, at one point, the No. 1 album in America. Do you think the deluxe album has the potential to take back the throne?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it'd definitely end up back on No. 1 again, before it's good and done. Definitely think it'll beat that.
The deluxe album features a Black Lives Matter remix of your breakout song, "ROCKSTAR." Tell me why you felt it was important to release this version.
Mainly, just everything that was going on in the world and all that going on while I had the No. 1 song on Billboard. I felt like I had to address it, especially with me being a victim of racism and police brutality. That was only right for me to use my platform, use the platform that my song had at the time to touch on what was going on.
What kind of impact do you think the remix made on your fans and your followers?
I definitely think it touched a lot of people—a lot of people told me—especially with the performance that I did at the  BET Awards when I did a video for it. I think it touched a whole lot of people, and just gave a different outlook on everything that was going on.
We're living in a challenging era: Protests are happening around the world, we're in a pandemic. A lot of artists are stepping up to use their platform the way you did on your Black Lives Matter Remix. Do you think it's important for artists to use their platform to speak on what's happening in the world?
Yeah, absolutely. I feel like rappers are some of the most influential people in the world. So I feel if there's anything going on, it's almost like a responsibility [for us].
I gotta talk about your work ethic a little bit. You dropped your debut album, Baby On Baby, in March 2019; six months later, you dropped your follow-up album, KIRK, and seven months after that, you dropped BLAME IT ON BABY. Now, four months later, we got BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE). How much new music are you sitting on any given time? How do you space out your music?
I really just go with the flow. Whenever I feel like it's new and something fresh, that's when I really turn my creative switch on and do what I do. I'm going to bring my element to the game.
You've had two No. 1 albums, you had a No. 1 song, you have a couple of GRAMMY nominations. What needs to happen this year or in the near future to take your career to the next level? And what does that next level look like for you?
The next level would be mega-stardom, you know what I mean? And something will take place that'll take it to the next level. I just don't want to reveal it yet, but just know it's a super-big thing on the way—super-big thing.
And I will be at the GRAMMYs every single year that I'm a recording artist.
I know you move really fast with your music. You just dropped BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE). But what can we look out for from you in 2020 or 2021?
I got a lot of big features that I've done; those are going to drop whenever those people, the artists on the song, are ready to drop. So I got a lot of big features that should be popping up here and there and coming out for the rest of the year.
The people want to know: Any features you can tease out?
No, I can't. I can't do it without the consent of the person on the song; they may or may not want that revealed.
While we're on the topic, features are a big platform where up-and-coming rappers can pop off. Are there any emerging artists you have your eyes on for future features?
Stunna 4 Vegas, Rich Dunk. Stunna 4 Vegas—he'll be at the GRAMMYs next year, fo sho.