There’s an art to being a smooth rapper that one must perfect if they wish to remain relevant and be taken seriously amongst the mainstream gangsta images of rappers. You have to exude smoothness with the right balance of strong confidence, vulnerability, and a street smart edge.
Ever since his 2003 hit song, “Suga, Suga,” the Vallejo, California born rapper, Baby Bash, has been steadily perfecting his craft as a smooth MC with a unique and self-described urban Latino flavor. Most recently he got clubs all over the scene worked up into a frenzy with the hit single, “Cyclone,” off of the album of the same name. Now he is ready to hit the road with rapper Pitbull for the MTV TR3́S Sucker Free Latino Spring Tour, which kicks off March 15th in Orlando, Florida.
Sixshot spoke with the hit rapper/songwriter before he hopped on the tour bus about why he decided to tour with Pitbull, how Pitbull is doing after being struck by a glass bottle on-stage, why Baby Bash refuses to let people calling him corny get to him, why he argued with his record label over the direction of his album, why being under the radar doesn’t bother him, how the responsibility of taking care of his family affects his work, his biggest supporter, the one thing you’d be surprised to learn about him, and more.
Your browser does not support inline frames or is currently configured not to display inline frames. NG>Tell us why you decided to team up with Pitbull for your tour.
Me and Pitbull been friends for awhile now. He’s a down to earth dude and we get along real good. We‘ve known each other for a couple of years and we did a couple of songs together. I just think it was about time. We both have similar stories. It’s kind of crazy. Both of us came up with street raps and then all of a sudden we get on the radio with club bangers. Next thing you know we’re making club banger radio hits. He’s from the east and I’m from the west and the south. I think it’s good we kicked the door down because I think together we can get a good move on this little Latino urban fusion. We’re both Latinos but we’re urban Latinos. In this crazy world where people like to break down and categorize you as urban, Latino, reggaeton, R&B, pop—we’re just urban kids who happen to be Latino and I think our music shows that.
Recently it was in the news that Pitbull was struck by a bottle on stage during one of his shows. Have you been in-touch with him since then?
Yeah, he had fourteen staples. It’s crazy. It happened right here in Texas. You got haters everywhere. He got hit by some random drunk dude, but you get haters every now and then. He bounced back and he finished the show. With a big old cut in his head he still finished the show, but yeah, he’s good.
In many of your interviews you note that people assume that you may be corny. Has that been something that you’ve been trying to overcome with your image and the harder sound of this album?
Well I don’t really try to do anything. Before anything I’m a songwriter. I’m not trying to be Mr. Battle Rapper or out rap anybody. I’m more of a songwriter so my songs are more songs than rap songs. They know me from “Sugar, Sugar,” which put me in a pop category, but I started off as a b-boy rapper before radio and any of that stuff. So it’s funny when people say corny because if they get to know me they’ll say “He’s one of the coolest cats.” Of course they can’t do that since they just see me, hear my songs, and of course I’m not gonna deviate from that either if that’s what’s paying the bills. I’m a businessman also so I’m not gonna be a dummy and try to prove a point. I’m a business man so it’s business before anything on mine.
But with “Cyclone,” Lil’ Jon came to me and wanted to do a song. So for me to work with people like Lil’ Jon, E-40, Carlos Santana, Pimp C, Akon and T-Pain is all the stamp that I need because they’re geniuses. If they like my style then I must be doing something right.
The album is a success but it has also been criticized as safe and conventional compared to your previous work. Do you agree?
I think there’s a lot more radio singles on it and that was a label move. The label didn’t want a lot of my street songs on there so we had little arguments here and there. But I’m a team player and I’m gonna release an underground mixtape with my street stuff on it. Yeah it’s kind of safe but it’s clever and witty. The album is full of great singles. People try to judge me with songs on the radio, but you gotta understand those are radio songs. It’s music for the radio and if you want to hear the underground stuff you gotta get the underground mixtape.
So if you’re an underground fan trying to judge my radio songs that’s not fair. It’s like getting a metal rocker to judge rap or a rapper to judge some classical music—you can’t just judge it off one thing.
In the past you’ve said that you feel like you’re under the radar when it comes to press and mainstream hip-hop magazines. Do you still feel the same way?
Yeah, but I love it. I might be under the radar but I think it’s good for me because I still got my privacy. I care more about the songs than I care about Baby Bash or the image. My songs are more important than anything, I think that’s helped my career and life because I’m at peace all the time. I have no drama and no issues. There’s nobody that can say I’ve done anything foul. I don’t have an ego and I’m not cocky. I’m kin of like a working class guy. I feel like one of them. I think people root for me because I’m a good dude and under the radar. I’ve never wanted to be in the forefront. I just love making music and being able to provide for my family and I think that’s where I’m at now.
I read in an interview that you take care of most of your family. Does that provide a greater sense of motivation to your work?
Yes it does, that’s a good question. I take great pride in taking care of my family. My parents were heroin addicts and I come from a shaky background when it comes to family, drugs, and alcohol. I feel like I’m the one who broke the cycle and can take care of everybody. It’s a lot of responsibility and pressure on me but I can thrive off it and it gives me stuff to write about. I’m a logical dude. I got common sense. People might think Baby Bash gets all the women or he parties all the time, but I’m a logical dude and I handle my business.
Tell us one thing we’d be surprised to learn about Baby Bash.
I’m a dog animal lover. I got like six dogs and besides my family I take care of all my dogs. I’m always trying to find people to adopt other dogs. In Texas we have a lot of animal rescue places. After the Louisiana hurricane a lot of animals got rescued. I’m always out trying to get people to rescue a dog. That’s a big passion of mine
You’re helping dogs, you’re helping your family out but who would you say has your back? Who supports you?
Well of course my grandmother who is one of the strongest women of all-time. I just did a spread for Latina Magazine and I had to get her in it. I bought her a house next to me. She’s my biggest back bone. She’s been there since day one. My mom is doing good. She finally got out of rehab, but my parents are doing good. My brothers are doing good too, but my grandmother has been one of the strongest points in my whole life.
I read that if you weren’t in the entertainment business you could see yourself working with juveniles. What about that work appeals to you?
I’d like to work with the thirteen, fourteen year-old boys who want to be cool and got what I call the I-wanna-be-down-syndrome. You got older guys who tell youngsters, “Hey, if you want to be down you got to do this.” But I’d like to catch them before they fall for it and teach them early while they can still be saved. I think the way I talk and the way I break stuff down—I think they’d listen to me. It sounds simple but I make it sound clever at the same time.
I read that you’re working on a film entitled, Primos, is that true?
Primos is gonna be an independent film and it’s hilarious. I wrote the script and everyone liked it. We got a couple of offers and we finally took an offer about a couple of moths ago. We’re getting all the paperwork and litigations done right now, so yeah be ready for it.
Unlike most celebrities you’re more focused on real estate than branding across fashion, movies, and such. How are the real estate ventures going for you?
It’s not going too good in California right now. I still got a couple of houses in California. Two years ago it was a lot better, but to me it’s like a big bank account. If you buy a house it’s like a bank. It’s holding money for you. That’s how I look at it but it’ll be moving on up pretty soon hopefully.
What more do you want to accomplish in the industry?
Well just creating good music. In this crazy industry the kids in fifth or sixth grade are dominating what gets played on the radio. It’s kind of weird. I want to bring good music in this land of the music industry where the music isn’t’ the best right now quality wise. I want to bring clever music; I want to put things out; I want to sign groups; I want to make movies; and I want to write movies but all in good taste and good fun because I’m a happy guy. I’ve been through the lowest of lows as far as real life, but I don’t let that distract me from my happiness. From my music you can tell I’m a happy dude and I just want to spread happiness.
For more information on Baby Bash please visit:
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