DaBaby Talks Pop Smoke Guest Verse & Rap’s 2020 MVP Debate: 'It's a Close Race, Ain't It?'

Last year, DaBaby became a rap superstar with his MVP-caliber performance, courtesy of his first Billboard 200 No. 1 album KIRK and his punchy Billboard Hot 100 top ten single, “Suge.”

For his second act, Baby has been busy this year netting another Billboard 200 No. 1 LP in BLAME IT ON BABY, along with his first-ever Hot 100 No. 1 single, for his electric smash “Rockstar” featuring Roddy Ricch. The cherry on top? Last week, Baby scored three top 10 appearances on the Hot 100, thanks to his features on Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin (Remix)” at No. 3 and Pop Smoke’s “For the Night” at No. 6.

For the rap virtuoso, his self-proclaimed moniker, “Billboard Baby” is no longer a pipedream, but now a crushing reminder for those who once questioned his mainstream prowess. 

“That was major,” Baby tells Billboard of his three Hot 100 top ten appearances, including another week at No. 1 for “Rockstar” -- at that point, the song’s fifth. “I check in with Billboard regularly anyway, and I know the charts update once a week too. So when I went to check, once I saw 'Rockstar,' I‘m like ‘Cool.’ And I saw 'Whats Poppin,' I’m like, ‘OK.’ Then when I saw 'For the Night,' I was like, ‘Damn! I’m all over the top ten.”

Adds South Coast Music Group CEO, Arnold Taylor: “This is such an amazing moment for DaBaby and the SCMG brand. We will continue to apply pressure and break as many barriers as possible. More history in the making!”

And while Baby continues to soar with his indelible run on the solo front with his sixth week at No. 1, his status as a features savant is only getting stronger by the record. His cameo on the “Whats Poppin" remix and “For the Night” are shining examples of why he is sought after: his animated delivery and his side-splitting wit add extra sauce to an already well-balanced track, most notably on the latter.

After 50 Cent joined Steven Victor to work on Pop Smoke’s debut album, Baby received a call and was asked to take part in the project. Initially, he didn’t know Lil Baby -- who is also featured on the track -- would be alongside him, as well. “It was just a pleasure just to even be part of that, to be a part of something so special for somebody who lost their life behind this,” shares Baby. 

Elsewhere in our interview, Baby also explains his desire to one day link with 50 Cent, and breaks down some parallels between him and the New York titan. “The way he came out gunning with his relentless hustle, that’s one of the people I came out watching,” relays Baby. “That’s actually somebody who I study. And as far as being versatile not only as an artist, but an individual, period. Being business-minded, acting and being versatile, I soak that up from him.”

With Baby making a resounding push in 2020 for MVP honors in the rap bracket, his climb to the summit won’t be as easy as 2019 was. Lil Baby’s ubiquity and lyrical improvement along with Roddy Ricch’s agility on the music circuit with “The Box,” will require Baby to put in extra legwork to emerge victorious this year.

“It’s a close race ain’t it,” he quips. “I really can’t call it. I rock with Lil Baby and I rock with Roddy Ricch. Both of them my partners, man. Both of them real good dudes. Both of them real genuine dudes. For us three to be the three names in that conversation right now, it wouldn’t matter to me where the standings land at the end of the year. I know what I’m going for. They my partners. Love y’all to death. Y’all good people. I know what I’m going for. I want everybody -- I want everybody’s head, personally. And I know them two, they’re on the same thing.”

Watch Billboard’s interview with Baby in-full up top as he talks about his upcoming drive-in concert in Chicago, wanting to pursue acting, paying homage to George Floyd during his 2020 BET Awards performance and more. 

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