Lil Baby, also known as Dominique Armani Jones, is a trap tap treasure hailing from the trap breeding ground of Atlanta, Georgia. Coming from a long line of other rappers also taking on the “Baby” name, Lil Baby’s lyrical delivery although fresh and new, is the furthest thing from juvenile.
Lil Baby’s approach to the trap music scene is also making waves and changing the way the game is played by other trap stars like Migos, Travis Scott, and Fetty Wap. He also held the title of having the most album streams in July 2020 and is challenging the likes of Drake and The Weeknd for chart-topping staying power.
Rise to Fame
Lil Baby was born on December 3rd, 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia. At two years old, his father left the family, leaving his single mother to raise him and his two sisters. During this time, Lil Baby would teach himself dice games in order to make money and became good enough that he started to be recognized for his skill by certain Atlanta circles. Since the age of 10, Jones was referred to as “Lil Baby” and received the name from friends as he was always seen hanging around with an older crowd.
In early 2012, he was charged for possession with intent to sell among other charges. After disputing his first lawyer’s claims to take a 2-year plea deal, Lil Baby asked for a new lawyer who arranged for him to participate in a special program that would only incarcerate him for a year. While attending this program, an incident occurred that led to his sentencing being replaced with the original 2-year deal.
However, after being incarcerated for two years and out on bail, Lil Baby decided to focus on his career by signing with 4PF (4 Pockets Full) and Quality Control Music.
Career and Albums
Lil Baby dropped his first of many mixtapes, Perfect Timing, shortly after being released from prison. His first mixtape generated a lot of buzz not only because of Lil Baby’s unique rap style but also by featuring tracks with Young Thug, Lil Yachty, and other hit rappers. His follow-up mixtape, Hard Than Hard, was released shortly after in June 2017.
He eventually dropped another mixtape, but this time it was a collaboration with close pal and Atlanta native/rapper, Marlo in October that year titled The Hard Way. The Hard Way, with one of his good friends and Atlanta rapper, Marlo in October 2017.
Although The Hard Way did not make as big of an impact as the previous Perfect Timing and Harder Than Hard mixtapes, it still created a buzz around raised eyebrows for the up and coming trap and a hip-hop star.
Harder Than Ever
Lil Baby’s big breakout in the mainstream happened in December 2017 with his mixtape, Too Hard, which produced his hit single “Freestyle” which was also released as a music video in November that same year to promote the upcoming mixtape. The success of “Freestyle” gained a lot of attention for his mixtape and in May 2018, Lil Baby released his debut studio album, which landed on the number three spot on the Billboard 200, Harder Than Ever.
After Harder Than Ever, Lil Baby then released his collaborative mixtape Drip Harder with friend and fellow trap rap star, Gunna, in October 2018. The lead single, “Drip Too Hard” went on to become certified RIAA Platinum and MC Platinum. The album peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. Drip Harder was produced under the labels YSL Records, Motown/Capitol, and the label that initially signed him, Quality Control.
In September of 2018, Lil Baby showed off his acting skills and followed the likes of his trap predecessors before him such as Future and Wiz Khalifa by appearing in an Adult Swim production, specifically in the series FishCenter Live. Two months later, he released his mixtape Street Gossip and in December of that year, Lil Baby collaborated with Yung Gravy on Gravy’s single, “Alley Oop”.
Continuing his foray into acting, Lil Baby also starred in How High 2, the sequel to the 2001 cult stoner classic, How High, which premiered on MTV in August 2019.
In June 2019, Lil Baby and trap superstar Future released a single titled “Out the Mud” and then one month later appeared alongside DaBaby on the single “Baby“, which was released on Quality Control‘s second studio album, Control the Streets, Volume 2. “Out the Mud” peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and in November 2019, Lil Baby released the single “Woah” as the lead single for his upcoming sophomore studio album, My Turn. “Woah” peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and on November 15, 2019, Lil Baby released the song “Catch the Sun” from My Turn that was also featured for film Queen & Slim.
In January 2020, Lil Baby released his second single, “Sum 2 Prove” from My Turn, which reached number 16 on the Hot 100. My Turn was released in February 2020 and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.
The album also features guest appearances from trap and hip-hop stars such as Future, Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, 42 Dugg, Gunna, Rylo Rodriguez, Moneybagg Yo, and Young Thug. My Turn churned out 12 songs that appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, giving Lil Baby a total of 47 songs on the chart, which put him at a tie with cultural music icons, Prince and Paul McCartney. By now, Lil Baby had officially become a chart-topping star.
After the release of the My Turn‘s deluxe version in May 2020, the album shot back up to the top spot on the Billboard 200. In June of 2020, Baby dropped the politically charged and highly motivating track, “The Bigger Picture.”
This track served as a response to the highly publicized murder of George Floyd and the subsequent international protests that took place afterward calling for an end to police brutality. The track also paid homage to the Black Lives Matter movement and peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
This accomplishment made “The Bigger Picture” Lil Baby’s highest-charting track, ever. In July 2020, Lil Baby was featured on late Pop Smoke’s “For the Night”, from Smoke’s posthumous debut album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, which reached number six on the Hot 100.
Lil Baby’s rap style has been categorized as a type of trap street poetry. His rap’s flows are praised for being fast, fluid, high energy, and cocky in all the right ways. His southern drawl adds depth to his occasional singsong verses to make his words feel commanding but also slightly playful. When Lil Baby takes the stage, he comes out swinging like he’s the king of the genre, which he is definitely on his way proving he is deserving of that title.
Lil Baby started dating Instagram Influencer and entrepreneur, Jayda Cheaves, in 2018, and in February that year, they had one child together. Cheaves is also featured in his music video for the second single off Drip Harder, “Close Friends”.
Lil Baby also has another son from a previous relationship.
Lil Baby has stated that growing up he would listen to the Gangsta Rap genre, which inspired him to become a rapper. He would listen to the likes of Snoop Dog, Wu-Tang Clan, Dr. Dre, and others and this influence would later create Lil Baby’s signature Trap style that would make him a star in his own right.
Lil Baby is also known to upload videos of himself, his son, and Jayda dancing to viral dance videos on Instagram and Tik Tok.
Lil Baby and other rap stars are becoming prominent Black Lives Matter protestors as they incorporate topics of social injustices in their music.
He is also a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and has been known to post content across all of his social media platforms showing support of the movement. In his music video for the song “The Bigger Picture”, Lil Baby talks about the realities of the black community experiencing social injustices and also exposes the paranoia and stereotyping young black men experience daily with police brutality.
Another aspect of Lil Baby’s influence in his music is his raw story-telling of his life behind bars before finding success as a rapper. He has made previous claims that he wishes to inspire others to find a successful path of their own after incarceration.
In addition to being a consistent chart-topper, Lil Baby’s music videos for his singles are also a YouTube sensation. As of August 2020, he has 360 million views for “Lil Baby “Freestyle” Official Music Video”, 250 million views for “Lil Baby x Gunna – Drip Too Hard (Official Audio)” and 177 million views for “Lil Baby, Gunna – Close Friends (Official Music Video)”.
New and Upcoming Projects
As for Lil Baby’s next steps, there are rumors circulating that he will be collaborating with one of his big-time influencers, Kayne West. This may be due to the fact that Kayne West tweeted that Lil Baby is his favorite rapper, a compliment considered in the highest form by the notable West. The supposed collaboration hasn’t made any more progress other than an itinerary from one of Lil Baby’s flights showing him traveling from Atlanta, Ga to Cody, Wyoming where Kayne’s ranch is currently located.
Lil Baby was also featured on the re-released track “24” by Money Man, which is a song honoring the late Kobe Bryant. The track has been praised for Lil Baby’s and Money Man’s experienced flow delivered with powerful metaphors and hard-hitting torrential syllables.
Check out Lil Baby’s full discography below for your next bopping playlist:
Perfect Timing (2016) (mixtape)
- “Days Off” [Prod. By Headnon]
- “Option” [Prod. By OG Parker]
- Digital Trapstars – Lil Baby – “Rider” Ft. Young Thug [Prod. By EarlThePearl
- “9TO5” Ft. Skull – E [Prod. By JboOnDaBeat]
- “For You” [Prod. By BassGod]
- “100 Round” Ft. Lil Yachty [Prod. By 808Mafia]
- “Grindin” Ft. Marlo and Yogi [Prod. By EarlThePearl]
- “Up” Ft. Duck and Gunna [Prod. By Bricks]
- “Racks In” [Prod. By EarlThePearl]
- “Plug [Prod. By KellViciousBeats]
- “Our Year” Ft. Gunna [Prod. By Wheezy]
- “Trust” Ft. Young Scooter [Prod. By StackBoy Twaun]
Harder Than Hard (2017) (mixtape)
- “A-TOWN” Ft. Marlo (Prod. By Quay Global)
- “MY DAWG”
- Digital Trapstars – Lil Baby – “Dates” (Prod. By Quay Global)
- “My Drip” (Prod. By Quay Global)
- “Life” (HeadNod Productions)
- “Narcs” (D- Billy)
- “Ride Or Die” Ft. Marlo & Bite Da Don (Prod. By Quay Global)
- “Stendo” Ft. 4PF DT (Prod. By Quay Global)
- Digital Trapstars – Lil Baby – “Pink Slip” Ft Young Thug (Prod. By Bricks Da Mane)
- “Large” (Prod. By Wheezy Beats)
- “Survive Da Motion” (Prod. By D- Billy)
Harder Than Ever (2018)
- “I’m Straight”
- “Exotic” (featuring Starlito)
- “Yes Indeed” (with Drake)
- “Bank” (featuring Moneybagg Yo)
- “Throwing Shade” (featuring Gunna)
- “First Class”
- “Right Now” (featuring Young Thug)
- “Life Goes On” (featuring Gunna and Lil Uzi Vert)
- “Transporter” (featuring Offset)
- “Fit In”
- “Boss Bitch” (featuring Hoodrich Pablo Juan)
- “Never Needed No Help”
My Turn (2020)
- “Get Ugly”
- “Heatin Up” (with Gunna)
- “Grace” (with 42 Dugg)
- “Live Off My Closet” (featuring Future)
- “Same Thing”
- “Emotionally Scarred”
- “Commercial” (featuring Lil Uzi Vert)
- “Forever” (featuring Lil Wayne)
- “Can’t Explain”
- “No Sucker” (with Moneybagg Yo)
- “Sum 2 Prove”
- “We Should” (with Young Thug)
- “Catch the Sun” (from Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack)
- “Gang Signs”
- “Forget That” (with Rylo Rodriguez)
My Turn: Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)
- “Social Distancing”
- “All In”
- “Low Down”
- “Get Money”
- “We Paid” (with 42 Dugg)