An Intro To Lil Baby
Lil Baby is a 25 year old rapper from Atlanta, who decided to pursue a career in hiphop after serving a 2 year prison sentence ending in 2016. He started his career in music by dropping his ‘Perfect Timing’ mixtape in April of 2017, being released under the Quality Control label among others, and featuring Lil Yachty and Young Thug among a roster of underground artists. Despite receiving minimal promotion the mixtape was well received and generated a solid amount of buzz for his first project. Only 2 months later he dropped his ‘Harder Than Hard’ mixtape which also generated a bunch of buzz for Lil Baby, largely due to the hit lead single ‘My Dawg’. 3 months after that, in October of 2017 he dropped his 3rd mixtape of the year, a collaboration mixtape with Marlo titled ‘2 The Hard Way’.
Lil Baby really started to make waves with the release of his fourth mixtape of 2017, the December released ‘Too Hard’. Too Hard was Lil Baby’s most successful mixtape so far and garnered such hits as ‘Freestyle’ and ‘All Of A Sudden’ with Moneybagg Yo. Lil Baby capitalised on all the buzz he built up in 2017 by releasing his debut album ‘Harder Than Ever’ In May of 2018. The album featured a couple of smash hits, most notably the Drake assisted ‘Yes Indeed’, and ‘Life Goes On’ with Gunna & Lil Uzi Vert, which helped the album debut at number 3 on the Billboard 200. Later that year he linked up with frequent collaborator Gunna for the mixtape ‘Drip Harder’ which dropped in October, and gave us such hits as ‘Drip Too Hard’ & ‘Never Recover’ with Drake. The mixtape was generally well received and was another great step forward for Lil Baby, with the song Drip To Hard eventually going platinum. Just one month later in November of 2018 Lil Baby released the commercial mixtape ‘Street Gossip’, boasting features from Meek Mill, Gunna, Offset, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane and numerous others. The mixtape was well received and is Lil Baby’s last official project at time of writing.
In 2019 Lil Baby surprisingly dropped no projects, and instead kept his presence in hiphop through his features, and what a year he had!
Why Do I Consider Baby One Of The Best Of 2019?
To put it bluntly, I think Lil Baby had an exceptional year as a feature artist. He ticked pretty much all my boxes; he had a ridiculous number of features averaging more than 1 a week, he was consistent throughout the year with many more good than bad features, and he quite often stole the show with a standout performance. On top of that he had a great versatility between his features and the artists he collaborates with, and I think 2019 was a big step up for him from 2018.
Below are all the songs I’ve taken into consideration while working on this project. All songs feature Lil Baby as a feature artist and almost all were released in 2019. The exceptions are the 21 Savage song and Alley Oop by Young Gravy, which were released in December 2018. The reason for this is that I feel like his 2019 feature run started after his last project ‘Street Gossip’, with these 2 songs being the start of the run. I’ll include a little note on why I dislike certain songs for clarification.
The Good (good song with a good feature)
• Trippie Redd – Mac 10 (ft. Lil Baby & Lil Duke)
• Young Thug – Bad Bad Bad (ft. Lil Baby)
• Yung Gravy – Alley Oop (ft. Lil Baby)
• Quality Control – Ride (ft. Lil Baby, Rylo Rodriguez & 24Heavy)
• Quality Control – Leave ‘Em Alone (ft. Lil Baby, Layton Greene, PnB Rock & City Girls)
• Quality Control – Back On (ft. Lil Baby)
• Quality Control – Baby (ft. Lil Baby & DaBaby)
• 21 Savage – can’t leave without it (ft. Gunna & Lil Baby)
• Post Malone – On The Road (ft. Lil Baby & Meek Mill)
• DJ Khaled – Weather The Storm (ft. Meek Mill & Lil Baby)
• Polo G – Pop Out Again (ft. Lil Baby & Gunna)
• ScHoolboy Q – Water (ft. Lil Baby)
• Lil Gotit – Da Real Hoodbabies (remix) (ft. Lil Baby)
• Yo Gotti – Put A Date On It (ft. Lil Baby)
• Khao – Done With Her (ft. Gucci Mane, Lil Baby, YBN Nahmir & Tabius Tate)
• 42 Dugg – Not Us (ft. Lil Baby & Peewee Longway)
• Jamz – Baby Shower (ft. DaBaby & Lil Baby)
• Stefflon Don – Phone Down (ft. Lil Baby)
• Luciano – Fendi Drip (ft. Lil Baby & Ufo361)
• D Block Europe – Nookie (ft. Lil Baby)
• PopLord – Call Me Daddy (ft. Lil Baby)
• Flipp Dinero – How I Move (ft. Lil Baby)
• Mak Sauce – Bando Beaters (ft. Lil Baby)
• Bla5er – Beat Up (remix) (ft. Lil Baby)
• Lykke Li – Sex Money Feelings Die (remix) (ft. Lil Baby & SNOWSA)
• Ayo215 – Bother You (ft. Lil Baby)
• Dash Gwopavelli – Change Up (ft. Lil Baby)
• Sammie – Times 10 (ft. Lil Baby)
• Kiana Ledé – EX (remix) (ft. Lil Baby)
• Geauxmozzi – On God (ft. Lil Baby)
• Lil Jairmy – Chances Make Champions (ft. Lil Baby)
• DaBaby – TOES (ft. Lil Baby & Moneybagg Yo)
• Lil TJay – Decline (ft. Lil Baby)
• Yo Trane – Shine Like Beyoncé (ft. Lil Baby)
• Land strip Chip – Thumb (ft. Lil Baby)
• The Plug – Red Eye (ft. WSTRN & Lil Baby)
• Aoc Obama – Ain’t Gonna Lie (ft. Lil Baby)
• YFL Kelvin – Pretty Penny (ft. Lil Baby)
• ADE – Something New (ft. Lil Baby)
• Party Favor – Wave (ft. Lil Baby & Rich The Kid)
The Bad (Bad song, bad Lil Baby feature, or both)
• SAINt JHN – Trap (ft. Lil Baby) ehhh So mid
• DJ Khaled – You Stay (ft. Meek Mill, J. Balvin, Jeremih & Lil Baby) just ok
• Jacquees- Your Peace (ft. Lil Baby) boring r&b, short baby verse
• Gunna – Derek Fisher (ft. Lil Baby) disappointing collab
• Bankroll Freddie – Drip Like Dis (ft. Young Dolph & Lil Baby) bankroll sucks
• Julian Perretta – Pony (ft. Lil Baby) poppy
• KSI – Down Like That (ft. S-X, Rick Ross & Lil Baby) Lame soundtrack vibe
• Gucci Mane – Tootsies (ft. Lil Baby) lazy
• Young Scooter – Petty (ft. Lil Baby) scooter trash/phoned in baby
• Teenear – I Like It (ft. Lil Baby) generic
• Jay5 – PLENTY VIBES (ft. Lil Baby) amateur
• Momoh – Spend It And Forget It (ft. Lil Baby) drags on, momoh eh
• Gucci Mane – ICE (ft. Gunna & Lil Baby) whole thing boring/lazy
• Dave East – Night Shift (ft. Lil Baby) boring Dave, throwaway Baby
So to put that into numbers, that’s 40 great features on great songs, out of a total of 54 features in 2019. I think anyone that can deliver 50+ features in a year deserves praise for the hustle, regardless of quality or consistency. In terms of quantity, I feel like anyone who averages a feature a month has put in a solid enough grind to make an impact, but with artists such as Lil Baby, Gunna & DaBaby who manage to average a feature a week it’s just a whole different level of maintaining relevancy. One thing that sets Lil Baby apart from Gunna and DaBaby is that Lil Baby didn’t release any of his own projects in 2019, so it felt like he was seriously giving his all to his features to make sure his name didn’t fade away, and this led to more consistency than the other 2, and many more standout moments.
With 54 features and 40 solid ones, there’s a lot of positives I could touch on, so I’m just going to focus on a couple of main things I think contribute to Lil Baby’s case, as well as some specific examples. Another thing I think Lil Baby had over Artists like Gunna and DaBaby is his versatility; he changes things up quite a lot from song to song in comparison to the others who only offer a couple of main flows and deliveries. Lil Baby handles half of the hook and then goes hard on the verses of songs such as ‘Alley Oop’ by Young Gravy & ‘Put A Date On It’ by Yo Gotti. He delivers some heartfelt bars and impressive melodies on both ‘Phone Down’ by Stefflon Don & ‘Leave Em Alone’ by Quality Control. He steals the show with incredible rap verses at the end of songs including ‘Water’ by ScHoolboy Q & ‘Mac 10’ by Trippie Redd. Another thing which impressed me with Lil Baby in 2019 was the variety of artists he worked with. He had amazing chemistry with British Rapper Stefflon Don on ‘Phone Down’, spat one of his most solid verses of the year on ‘Nookie’ by D-Block Europe, a duo from London. He went hard with an amazing feature on ‘Fendi Drip’ by German Rapper Luciano. He even had an amazingly melodic feature on the remix of ‘Sex Money Feelings Die’ by Swedish singer/producer Lykke Li. Aside from all these amazing international acts Lil Baby has appeared on a whole range of songs by American artists of all different genres, and it’s this flexibility that really helped Lil Baby spread his name around in 2019.
Lil Baby isn’t without faults though, with multiple disappointing performances throughout the year. I found the song ‘Trap’ with Saint Jhn to be real average and not worth the praise I’ve seen it get. He had 2 feature on Gucci Mane songs (Tootsies & ICE) that I was expecting to be really good, but each one ended up being super average. Probably the most disappointing of all was his collaboration with Gunna on the song ‘Derek Fisher’ from his Drip Or Drown 2 album, which was nowhere near as good as a majority of their past collabs. And on top of all that he had a bunch of average features on songs by underground artists, which just ended up taking away from his consistency. So there are certainly some criticisms from me personally, but feel like these are far outweighed by the highlights.
So overall I think Lil Baby had a stellar year, and was easily one of the best feature artists of 2019. He may not have had the amount of features as DaBaby, and may not be as consistent as someone like JID, but he came close to both, with a ridiculous amount of features and so many memorable performances he was one of the most common names to pop in my head when considering who had a good year. The thing that stood out most to me at the end of the day was how much Lil Baby improved from 2018 to 2019, and if you’re still not a fan of Lil Baby I’d suggest checking some of my favourite features and getting on the hype train before his next project drops in 2020!
My Favourite Lil Baby Features were on Alley Oop by Young Gravy, can’t leave without it by 21 Savage, Water by ScHoolboy Q, Mac 10 by Trippie Redd, Leave Em Alone by Quality Control, Phone Down by Stefflon Don, On The Road by Post Malone, Weather The Storm by DJ Khaled, Da Real Hoodbabies (remix) by Lil Gotit, Done With Her by Khao, Fendi Drip by Luciano, Nookie by D-Block Europe, Banco Beaters by Mak Sauce, How I Move by Flipp Dinero, & Toes by DaBaby.
What were your favourite Lil Baby features of 2019?
Who would you like to see Lil Baby work with in 2020?
Thanks For Reading!
– Shan –