“Lil Baby can easily be labeled a rap GOAT, or the greatest rapper of all time. The rapper’s flow, authenticity and dedication to serving others are some of the reasons behind his massive fanbase.Whether you are a fan of his music, Lil Baby serves as motivation to almost everyone. His success story shows that no matter where you come from, everyone has a chance to make it.” -Brittani Holmes
A Star Was Born
Dominique Jones was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 3, 1994. Though he was born into a lower middle class family, he did not allow his upbringing to define his future. He was two years old when his father left the family, leaving his single mother to raise him and his two sisters alone. He grew up hanging with friends like Young Thug and Gunna. Jones would often times turn to the “street life” as a way to create an income for his family. Though he was not struggling academically, Jones would repeatedly get in trouble, resulting in him dropping out of Booker T. Washington High School in the ninth grade.
A Minor Setback for a Major Comeback
When the street activity caught up with him, he spent periods of time in jail and was eventually sentenced to prison at 19. He served two years on weapons and drug charges. As an adolescent, Lil Baby leaned more toward a life of petty crime and street hustling, while his friends went on to thrive in the music industry. He always had a passion for music, street activity was his means of income. Upon his release from prison in 2017, Lil Baby jump-started his rap career with a mixtape called Perfect Timing. During this time, many mainstream artist pleaded with Lil Baby to get out of the street life and take music more seriously. It was during this season that he finally accepted his calling to rap.
His Rise to Fame
As his mixtape attracted a bigger audience, Lil Baby worked constantly on new music, releasing hot singles such as “My Dawg” and “Freestyle” in the summer of 2017. Other releases that year included Harder Than Hard, 2 the Hard Way (with Marlo who is now deceased), and Too Hard. Lil Baby’s debut studio album, Harder Than Ever, appeared in May of 2018. His debut album contained features from Drake, Offset, Lil Uzi Vert, and many others. Due to the popularity of his release, the album entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number three. Lil Baby continued to be successful with his next album “Drip Harder”, which is a collaborative mixtape with his childhood friend and rap peer, Gunna. Lil Baby continued his trend of making Billboard charts, as the album was released that October and reached number four on the Billboard 200. The lead single, “Drip Too Hard” went on to become certified 9x Platinum by the RIAA.
On January 10, 2020, Lil Baby released the second single, “Sum 2 Prove”, for his album, and it reached number 16 on the Hot 100. The album, My Turn, was released on February 28, 2020 and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. It features guest appearances from Gunna, 42 Dugg, Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne, Moneybagg Yo, Young Thug and Rylo Rodriguez. My Turn produced 12 songs that appeared the Billboard Hot 100 chart, giving him a career total of 47 songs on the chart, putting him at a tie with Prince.
The Bigger Picture
The Bigger Picture is a protest song written by Lil Baby. It was released on June 12, 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. In the song, Lil Baby showed his solidarity with the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, calling for justice against police brutality. In many interviews, Lil Baby admitted that he was hesitant to speak on social or political issues, but when it came to the Black Lives Matter protests, he felt it was important to support the cause through his music. Lil Baby’s activism exceeds more than just in his music. Today, he remains civically engaged in his community and speaks out against issues that face African Americans on a daily basis.
Beyond the Music
Lil Baby is more than a musical artist, he is also a philanthropist. He teamed up with Foot Locker Atlanta to serve the Atlanta community. Together, they worked to renovate a basketball court at a park in the Oakland City section of Atlanta. Continuing his history of philanthropy, Lil Baby donated several bikes to kids in Atlanta. The rapper hosted a back to school drive where he gave away laptops, school supplies, and new clothes to kids in the area. Lil Baby also surprised students at his former high school with a performance and $150,000 to establish a scholarship program. Lil Baby’s belief in giving back to his community is evident through his continuous philanthropic efforts and support of police brutality victims, such as george floyd. Today, he continues to be of service to our youth.
Holmes, Charles. RollingStone.com, 20 July 2020, www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/atlanta-rapper-lil-baby-bigger-picture-song-1027815/.
King, Noel. Lil Baby On Taking Music Apart To See ‘The Bigger Picture’, 21 Oct. 2020, www.npr.org/2020/10/21/923944010/lil-baby-my-turn-bigger-picture-criminal-justice.
Lamarre, Carl. Billboard.com, 3 Aug. 2021, www.billboard.com/music/rb-hip-hop/lil-baby-billboard-cover-story-interview-2021-9609040/.
Lipshutz, Jason. Billboard.com, 9 July 2020, www.billboard.com/music/rb-hip-hop/lil-baby-superstar-analysis-9416012/.
Orejuela, Fernando. “Make It Count While We’re Here: Words, Music, and the Summer of 2020 LL Cool J. ‘Untitled.’ Instagram, May 31, 2020.Https://Www.instagram.com/Tv/CA4BGv9gvm8/?Hl=En.
The New York Times, 21 June 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/arts/music/popcast-lil-baby.html