Lil Bam is next up out of Birmingham, Alabama. Calling himself “the motherf##king Don,” which is also tattooed on his stomach, real name Keshawn Hampton claims to be “the rawest rapper out of Birmingham.
The smooth-talking assassin, the hustlin’ Prince Charming. While there are a lot of “raw people out from the Bram,” Bam just likes to talk his s##t.
The 21-year-old’s biggest song to date is his most recent “Julio” single, who’s music video recently hit over a million views — completely independent. The song pays tribute to football player Julio Jones, who played college ball at Alabama before making his mark with the Atlanta Falcons — paralleling Bam’s exact life journey as he moved to Atlanta at age 18.
Beyond that, the record recently got an explosive remix from Rick Ross and viral sensation Jucee Froot. This follows the success of his EP Airport Baby released earlier this year, accumulating over 4 million streams to date.
Signed to MBK4L Records and AWAL/Kobalt music, Bam is on the brink of breaking through to the mainstream.
AllHipHop caught up with Lil Bam to discuss his biggest influences, what Airport Baby means to him, the best encounter with a fan, goals, and more!
AllHipHop: You posted in Alabama?
Lil Bam: H### yeah, unfortunately. I don’t like being here mayne. I left this b##ch at 18, I be wanting to stay gone. I’m too comfortable when I’m here. I stay in the A, been down here since the Coronavirus started. I came back for my people, that’s all.
AllHipHop: Being from Birmingham, what was the household like growing up?
Lil Bam: Growing up here was cool. I grew up in Avondale, it was a lot of sh-t going on. But 9 times out of 10, I wasn’t involved so it really never had a bad effect on me. I found it fun, I used to love that sh-t. When I was young, my mom used to send out a whole search team looking for me. Because I’m on the block, I’m trying to go where they at. I always hung with guys who were older than me. It’s different for me than everybody else.
AllHipHop: Why was it different for you?
Lil Bam: People will try to say they live a rough life in Birmingham, I don’t look at it like that. Birmingham is a great place to be. Some people when you hear Birmingham, they automatically think of murder, etc. I love Birmingham, but this isn’t the place to be forreal. This isn’t the place to stay.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences growing up?
Lil Bam: I listened to a lot of Hot Boys growing up. Lil Wayne was raw as h###, he’s the s##t coming up. Boosie, Webbie, the whole Trill fam were doing their s##t. They influenced a lot of s-t going on down here. Once I got older and realized “okay maybe I want to be a rapper,” Chief Keef and Lil Durk were the ones. They were young and doing this s–t, I liked it. I know I could turn up like that.
AllHipHop: You been to Chicago?
Lil Bam: Never been to Chicago. What’s crazy though, they were huge influences for us. Man, I been had this tattoo. [shows upper arm] The OTF. I got it on my arm, my people got it tattooed on his neck. You couldn’t tell us we weren’t Glo Gang when we were younger. I swear, we was Glo Gang. We had the clothes and everything, the whole city knew we was Glo Gang when we came through. They’re a big inspiration to us.
AllHipHop: What was the inspiration behind your name?
Lil Bam: As a kid, my name was Bam Bam. As I got older, they had to drop one of them Bam’s because that s–t sounded weak. When I started rapping, at first my name was Lil Three. It’s a name my brother gave me, then he ended up getting killed. I said “f##k it, I’m riding with Lil Three.” When I decided to be an artist forreal, f##k that, I’m Bam. Everybody knows Bam.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
Lil Bam: I was rapping when I was 9 years old. I knew I could rap, but I didn’t think I’d end up being a rapper. It was a dream of mine, but it wasn’t one of my main goals. It’s something I wanted to do. Once I got in, I seen okay, this is constant blessings falling in my lap. I’d be a f-king fool to leave this alone and try to pick another route, when this was for me.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to the studio session for “Julio.”
Lil Bam: I wasted a lot of time in that session. I’d wasted so much time in the studio, that’s the last beat that DreDidIt (producer) played. I’m like “f–k, I’ve got to get on this one. I’ve got to do something with this one.” Really last minute in the studio, that’s how that song was created.
AllHipHop: It’s so crazy when artists say that about their biggest songs.
Lil Bam: I promise, I didn’t even think “Julio” was going to be one of my biggest songs. I thought it’d be a song a couple people vibe with, and it’d be alright. It turned out to be a hit, I didn’t even know it.
AllHipHop: What is it about that song you think people f##k with?
Lil Bam: The energy. Back in Birmingham, a lot of people from my area love when I say “I’m a real Avondale n*gga, free Bleek.” They love that sh-t mayne, they know we been hollering free Bleek for a while. “Make them hoes get it off the floor,” they love that. You know I gotta talk that s##t.
AllHipHop: What did it mean to pay tribute to Julio Jones, who played college ball at Alabama?
Lil Bam: Julio was the f–king man when he was playing football at Alabama, then he went to the Atlanta Falcons and turnt up some more. That’s the same storyline for my rap career. I turnt up here, then I went to the A and turnt up some more. I’m the Julio of the rap game, I’m coming with that.
AllHipHop: How’s Atlanta treating you?
Lil Bam: Oh, I love Atlanta. It’s treating me way better than how Birmingham treated me mayne. It’s a love-hate relationship with Birmingham.
AllHipHop: Is your family still back there?
Lil Bam: Some of my family’s still here, but majority of them nah. We left for a minute, I was 18 when we got the h### on.
AllHipHop: What was an 18-year-old Bam like?
Lil Bam: I was grown. I turnt up at 18. My main focus was being able to lift some weight up off my mom, my auntie, my cousin’s shoulders. All my life, they were always working. They work so much. My auntie even took on some of my uncle’s kids, so she had even more pressure on her. All I be wanting to do is help them out the best way I can, whatever they want. If they need it, they got it. I want to make life a little easier for them, that’s all.
AllHipHop: How was recruiting Rick Ross & Jucee Froot on the remix?
Lil Bam: It was cool as h###. I didn’t expect it from the jump. At first I was saying I didn’t want to do a remix, but I got a mutual partna with Rick Ross and Jucee Froot goes up. They were f–king with the song. When bruh called and said “Ross said send the whole song,” I’m like send it! What you waiting for? Ross’ s–t was finished so fast, the whole song was completed in less than 2 days. It had me excited because it had my mom excited, she’s a huge Rick Ross fan. She loves Rick Ross. I played the song for her and when she heard the Maybach Music tag, she almost wrecked the damn car. I swear to God. She’s like “that’s Rick Ross? Play that back!” It’s a major move too, it’s big to be able to work with artists like Ross and Jucee Froot.
AllHipHop: Airport Baby did 4M streams independently, how does that make you feel?
Lil Bam: Not going to lie, I had a feeling. I already knew Airport Baby was going to be that. I had songs on there I’d made so long ago like 2018, the beginning of my career. I said I was going to put all my best work on there, I knew I had to. It’s a no-skip. scored with that one. Everyone says they love it, it’s a great feeling.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite song? What song means the most to you?
Lil Bam: “Dallas” is my favorite song, but the one that means the most to me is “Enjoy the Glory.” That song’s more personal. I put more of my feelings and what’s going on in my head onto that song. It’s a lot. Once you get to a certain level, people don’t understand we’re still humans too. We still go through stuff like everybody else. That song was me expressing myself, stuff I wouldn’t usually say to somebody. When I heard that beat, bet I’m about to talk that s-t on there. I’m bringing it all the way raw.
AllHipHop: What’s one thing you want fans to get from Airport Baby?
Lil Bam: I definitely want them to enjoy the entire project. I didn’t come with a storyline or certain kinds of songs, I wanted it to be mixed up so they can see that I’m very versatile. I can do all kinds of stuff. When it comes to me and that microphone, as long as the beat’s feeling me, we’re cool. If the beat’s feeling me, I’ma eat it up.
AllHipHop: Best encounter you had with a fan?
Lil Bam: I was in the mall, this kid approached me. He’s real excited, he thought he’d never meet me. He wanted me to autograph something for him, but he didn’t have nothing for me to sign. I told him “give me your shoe.” If he didn’t like how I wrote it on there, I’d get him another pair of shoes. I signed his shoe, and I signed a $5 bill for him. He told me he wasn’t going to ever spend it. I loved that s–t.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your project in September?
Lil Bam: Just know how it’s coming. I have to top the last project every time I drop one. If Airport Baby’s doing that, you know when the next one comes I’m really doing that. All I’m doing is practicing. I’ve got a million songs, and I’m ready to fill the world with them b##ches.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Lil Bam: I need a cool vibe first. You can’t be bored in the studio, you need a cool vibe. You gotta have some Backwoods in the studio. A raw little tender something, I’m ready to roll. [laughs] Them main 3 things are there all the time.
AllHipHop: Being only 21, what are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Lil Bam: I definitely want to get focused, that’s my main thing. I’m trying to get all the way locked in so I can do what I know I can do. I know I’ve been selling myself short for a while, playing around because I’m still trying to make the transition. Now, I’ve got it in my head to where this is my lifestyle. Nothing else matters right here, I’ve got to do this. I’ve got my head on straight but if I get all the way focused and stay focused, I’ma be unstoppable.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Lil Bam: Don Make the Law, of course.