On Sunday night (June 27), DaBaby had no problem flexing his acrobatic muscles during the 2021 BET Awards. Once again, his creativity was on display as he gifted fans an aerial performance of his new single “Ball If I Want To.” Baby’s penchant for dynamic productions and thrilling videos became a topic of discussion last week when comedian/actor Lil Duval tweeted that he was this generation’s Ludacris.
“I wouldn’t even say we’re one of the same,” Baby told Billboard on the red carpet Sunday. “I feel like that’s too commonly used. I think people use that too lightly. I was inspired by Ludacris’ creativity with his music videos. [I was inspired] by a lot of people. Not only people like Ludacris, but people like Nelly. I mean, everybody.
“I feel like as the generations unfolded, people from every era was inspired by somebody from the era before them,” he continued. “Even when it boils down to 50 Cent, Eminem, and Mystikal, everybody’s videos used to be crazy. Busta Rhymes’ videos used to be crazy [too]. So I definitely was inspired by Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, and several other artists with their music videos.”
Baby’s viral explosion on the music scene came when he unleashed comical videos at the start of his career. Visuals like “Walker Texas Ranger” and his breakthrough record “Suge” catapulted Baby into the pantheon of savvy video creators. “I feel like there was a missing aspect with music videos in the game. When I came out with the song, I popped with [‘Suge’], that was me putting my creativity on display. I just snapped back into doing it recently with ‘Ball If I Want To’ and ‘Red Light Green Light.’ Now we’re going back to the drawing board. You can see what I got coming.”
Along with Baby’s thrill for theatrics, his ascension in the pop space has been a sight to see. Dua Lipa’s “Levitating (Remix)” remains a top-five fixture on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked to No. 2 last month, courtesy of Baby’s punchy delivery.
“I’m still staying true to myself,” relayed Baby when asked about hopscotching his way into the pop world. “When I first started rapping — even as a local artist — I knew I wanted to get to a level where I not only make music in this genre but all genres. And I want to fit into all these genres without compromising myself as a person and artist. It don’t really be a challenge — it’s what I love to do. I feel like that should be everybody’s goal. It never was my goal to stay in a bubble. I’m all over the place, and there’s so much I can do as an artist. I’m never gonna stay in a box. I’m gonna do as much as possible.”
With two new singles in the same number of weeks — most notably his latest Hot 100 top 40 entry, “Ball If I Want To” — Baby is ready to net a trifecta and drop a third record very soon. “I finna go overseas next with this next single,” he exclaimed. “Put your belly shirt on.”