Grammy Preview: Lil Baby

By Michael Dominguez

Read the full article at Hits Daily Double

Quality Control/Motown/Capitol superstar Lil Baby has the year’s biggest album with My Turn (which was recently certified as 2020’s only double-platinum album so far). Meanwhile, the rapper’s thoughtful “The Bigger Picture” powerfully crystallized a movement for social justice amid systemic inequality. Now favored for big Grammy love, Baby probably wishes he’d decided to Turn down the interview request from this sorry rag.

Last year you were nominated for “Drip Too Hard” with Gunna. What was your first Grammy experience like?
My first Grammy experience was really cool. Hearing my name in that room, having kids from where I’m from hear my name on TV at the Grammys—that alone was special. Sharon Osbourne said my name in front of everybody, and that made me feel good. That was good for me. I went with my mom, and it was great for her to experience that with me.

“The Bigger Picture” looks like a Grammy favorite. What would a nomination and win in a major category mean to you?
To me, the Grammy win would mean that I’m on the right track and that I’m heading in the right direction. Not to say that I’m on the wrong track if I don’t win, but a win would assure me a little more.

Winning for “The Bigger Picture” would be important because I feel like it’s more for the people and the culture—more about what’s going on—versus me just rapping about lifestyle or flexing; it’s a song of substance that really came from me. It’s my chance to give them something different and show a lil piece of who I am, crack my shell a little bit. Because a lot of people only think of what they see and how they see rap.

Meanwhile, My Turn is the most-consumed album of the year. How do you value full projects compared to singles?
I actually look at them the same, because whether it’s a single or full project, once I put it out, I am going hard with it; I expect it to do well. But I feel like a whole project will do better than my singles, because it gives my fans different choices. I can tell a story through a complete body of work, but I can also tell a story in a single too, like “The Bigger Picture.”

I honestly believe I could have done My Turn last year, but I did it this year because I knew. Not to toot my own horn, but I knew it would be my turn once I dropped.

Do you identify “The Bigger Picture” as a protest song?
Not at first, but that’s what it’s become. I wasn’t, like, “I created a protest song.” That wasn’t my intention. Everybody was calling me, and I saw comments on the Internet about how people with a voice weren’t saying nothing about what’s going on. I didn’t want to rush and say just anything. A lot of times when I make comments online or do an interview, I feel it gets misconstrued—but I can express my thoughts through my music. I don’t really like interviews, but when I make a song, I feel like people better understand me. I didn’t think of it so much as a protest song but as a song for the people.

That’s the way I connect to the world: by making music. My skill is to tell a story, so I made a song about the situation, using my platform to speak for the people the way I want to—on my own terms, and the way I know my people relate to.

I already felt a responsibility before “The Bigger Picture,” and that’s how it even came out. For a minute now, it’s been my responsibility to speak for my side and stand up for them. Because if I don’t do it, well, who else?

Grammy has yet to recognize a younger generation of rappers. Do you hope to be a harbinger of change?
It’s crazy that I never looked at it like that, but as soon as you said that, I was thinking, yeah—that’s right. So now, I’m, like, hey, if I’m the first young dude to win a Grammy, repping my people and my side of town—WE LIT.

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