Photo: Jackie Dimailig
DaBaby Talks 'BLAME IT ON BABY (DELUXE),' Black Lives Matter Remix Of "ROCKSTAR" And Rap's Obsession With Deluxe Albums
The chart-topping, GRAMMY-nominated rapper checks in with GRAMMY.com to discuss the unplanned vision behind his newest album and his next steps toward "mega-stardom"
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 ns 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.
Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More
The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'
In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.
"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.
Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.
"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."
Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American.
"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images
Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream
Proceeds from the event will be go toward loans to small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, via Accion Opportunity Fund
This Saturday, June 20, artists including Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz and more will come together for Small Business Live, a livestream fundraiser event for small businesses facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proceeds from the livestream will go to Accion Opportunity Fund to support small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses.
“Entrepreneurs of color are denied credit more often and charged higher rates for money they borrow to fund their businesses. We need to accelerate support to underserved businesses in order to reach our full potential,” Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia said. “We have to decide what we want our Main Streets to look like when this is over, and we must act decisively to keep small businesses alive and ready to rebuild. This is a fun way to do something really important. Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic, the recession, and centuries of racism, xenophobia and oppression.”
Tune in for Small Business Live Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT on smallbiz.live. The site also provides a full schedule of programs and links to watch the livestream on all major digital platforms. To learn more about Accion Opportunity Fund, visit the organization's website.
Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Rolling Loud Festival Los Angeles Reveals 2019 Lineup
Find out who's bringing the heat to the hip-hop fest returning to L.A. this December
Today, Rolling Loud revealed the massive lineup for their final music festival of 2019, Rolling Loud Los Angeles, which is set to take over the Banc of California Stadium and adjacent Exposition Park on Dec. 14–15.
This iteration of "the Woodstock of Hip-Hop," as the all-knowing Diddy has called it, will feature Chance the Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert, Juice WRLD, Young Thug and Lil Baby as Saturday's heavy-hitting headliners. Sunday's headliners are none other than Future, A$AP Rocky, Meek Mill, YG and Playboi Carti.
L.A.'s own Blueface, Tyga and Doja Cat, are slated to perform, as well as representatives from the diverse rap scenes across the country, including Wale, Juicy J, Lil Yachty, Megan Thee Stallion, Gunna, Tyla Yaweh, Machine Gun Kelly and Yung Gravy.
The lineup announcement follows the successful wrap of Rolling Loud Bay Area in Oakland this past weekend. The event's flagship Miami event took place in May this year, and the New York and Hong Kong debut editions will both take place later this month.
Some of y’all not ready for these moshpits https://t.co/3nlaudjapq— Randy (@randyt0321) October 1, 2019