Lil Baby has lived many lives in his 25 years, and while his time on the streets earned him hard time, he applied the same hustle to his music career. After a string of successful mixtapes and album releases with Quality Control, Lil Baby polished his skills and came harder each time with tracks that ooze charisma, raw talent and deserved acclaim. After making a name for himself in the mixtape game, Lil Baby proved he could pull off a major label studio release. Harder than Ever produced a string of hits from Lil Baby.
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Interspersed with clips of the artist rapping among protesters is news footage from recent uprisings throughout the country. DaBaby, the charming year-old Charlotte, N. Instead, they picked up their pens and rush-released urgent new bars about the uprisings. In the song, DaBaby claims he was defending his daughter; he was later found guilty of a misdemeanor weapons charge and received probation. Artists from Public Enemy and N. A to Kendrick Lamar and 21 Savage have long included messages about race and politics in their work. The scrutiny is heightened for Black celebrities who sometimes feel an immense pressure to illuminate the plight of an entire race. How L. Case in point: Last week, hip-hop superstar J. Lil Baby and DaBaby are rich young music stars, not organizers or activists.
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The year-old rapper has spent the past 15 minutes teaching me to play cee-lo, a dice game that helped make him famous in certain Atlanta circles long before he reached legal drinking age. Outside, torrential rain falls on a collection of cars worth many, many mortgages. Inside the headquarters of Quality Control, the most successful hip-hop label currently operating in Atlanta and home to Migos, City Girls, and Lil Yachty, three green dice bounce against the wooden floor. Baby, born Dominique Jones, is a patient and methodical teacher, calmly answering my inane questions about throwing technique. Every time he throws the dice he snaps his fingers, trying to will the numbers to his cause. For example, the young rapper rolls a and explains that his score would be two. There are additional rules: is an automatic win, so is rolling two matching numbers and one 6; is an automatic loss. I maintain that he never told me, and look to his crew for support that never comes. Baby offers no leeway. Baby is detailing a night when acquaintances chipped in money in hopes of seeing one of his winning streaks up close, the type that would leave everyone chasing him across the city to win their cash back.