Detroit seems to be the hub for today’s hottest artists in the rap game, from mainstream acts such as Eminem and Big Sean to more recently the newer cats, such as Tee Grizzley, Kash Doll, Sada Baby, Icewear Vezzo, Babyface Ray, Peezy and more.
Insert Skilla Baby, who’s proud as hell to be up next. In just two years, the rising star has already signed to a major label (Geffen), and collaborated with the biggest names to come out of the city. Having standout verses with Kash Doll on “OH BAY” and Peezy on the “2 MILLION UP” remix, Skilla Baby effortlessly inserts himself as a force to be reckoned with.
In describing himself, Skilla Baby states he’s “one of the youngest up and coming Detroit talents,” which is crazy to think that this is just the beginning. He explains, “Because I’m still working on myself. I feel like I can elevate my music. I don’t feel like my music has peaked. I still got a lot of work to do.”
And if there’s one thing you can expect from Skilla Baby, it’s that he lets his work speak for himself. Most recently, Skilla Baby linked up with Tee Grizzley on a joint mixtape titled Controversy, spearheaded by lead single “Striker Music.” The title of the project speaks volumes to the fact that no one expected Skilla to work with Tee, given Skilla’s friendship and working relationship with Sada Baby. Sada and Tee have previously had their differences in the past.
Additionally, Skilla Baby will be revealing the deluxe to his debut project We Eat The Most, and starring in a film called Outside on Tubi releasing June 10th.
AllHipHop spoke with Skilla Baby in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his sound, roots in Detroit, signing in two years, his relationship with Tee Grizzley, releasing their joint tape, collaborating with Kash Doll and Peezy, wanting a plaque, and more!
AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?
Skilla Baby: I’m unorthodox sonically. I’m different. I got a lot of sides to me. I’m diverse, you can’t put me in a box. I make my music based on how I’m feeling. My music doesn’t sound like anything you’ll hear from somebody else because my whole process, the way I go about music is different.
AllHipHop: What does Detroit mean to you?
Skilla Baby: Detroit means real. If I was going to name a city that defines real, I’ll say Detroit. You never know what you’re going to get, it’s like a box of chocolates.
AllHipHop: Can you expand on that?
Skilla Baby: You got lame people, you got real people. You got street people, it’s multifaceted. You got musicians, you got athletes, we got everything. Bad b######, ugly b######, fat, tall. Anything you want is in Detroit.
AllHipHop: How was your upbringing there?
Skilla Baby: Like anybody else’s. It’s hard, but it was fun. I appreciate coming up in Detroit because the struggle made me who I am.
AllHipHop: Who were the artists that made you want to do music?
Skilla Baby: Lil Wayne, Anita Baker, Tupac, people like that. I got a lot of inspirations forreal.
AllHipHop: When did you realize you could do music for a living?
Skilla Baby: A year or two ago, when I started making money consistently off of it. Streaming, features, stuff like that. A lot of it is from streaming, there’s so many ways to stream. Once you learn the business, you can find out how easy it is to make money.
AllHipHop: Only two years in and you’re already signed, how’s that feel?
Skilla Baby: It’s really surreal, I’m still taking it in. It hasn’t hit me as hard as it should. I’m still working, so it ain’t hit me. I hadn’t had a chance to sit down and be like damn.
AllHipHop: Did you think it’d be this quick?
Skilla Baby: I never knew, I just always knew what my end goal was. Accomplishing one of my goals as being a signed artist, having recognition and notoriety for what I do, I appreciate it. I appreciate everything that comes with it.
AllHipHop: I know your name came from having skills on the basketball court, were you nice when it?
Skilla Baby: Yeah, I was a good talent. I was talented, but I always got in trouble in school. So that ain’t work out for me.
AllHipHop: What were you getting in trouble for?
Skilla Baby: Little silly stuff. I wasn’t a bad kid, I’ll just do silly stuff. Talk too much, stuff like that. Class clown type stuff.
AllHipHop: You just dropped the Controversy tape with Tee Grizzley. What does it mean to have this out?
Skilla Baby: It was big for our city. It was big for the culture forreal forreal. Me and Tee cracked Top 10 on Apple. We streaming really well, we getting a lot of good feedback. We broke the barriers for Detroit as far as people working together. That’s what I wanted out of it, more than anything.
AllHipHop: How did y’all first meet?
Skilla Baby: I met Tee in the studio in Atlanta. We just did a song. We got mutual people that we’re very close with, so they put us together. Our friendship been building up ever since. It’s been hard.
AllHipHop: What is the energy in the studio with y’all?
Skilla Baby: It’s different every time. One day we might talk about a girl, one day we might talk about some street s###. Depends on what we saying and how we feeling, how our conversation is going in the studio. Because when we in the studio, it’s not all about making music. It’s about making that connection with each other, really coming together. We trying to make hits, we trying to make plaques. So that’s what we try to come together and do.
AllHipHop: What was the moment y’all decided to do a project?
Skilla Baby: Probably two sessions in, the second session. We’re like, “bro, we sound so good together. Let’s just try this.” We did it, we started working on it again. It came out, sonically it sounded right to me and him. We gon’ go with it.
AllHipHop: Why the title Controversy?
Skilla Baby: Because there’s a lot of controversy. Us messing with each other is controversial. To the world’s eyes, we’re not supposed to be friends. But we’re friends, we’re cool. The thought of us being around each other, working with each other is controversial, so I decided to name the project Controversy.
AllHipHop: Was Tee one of the ones you looked up to out of Detroit?
Skilla Baby: He’s the one that started it for us, as far as on the street side. It was always Doughboyz Cashout Scooch x Team Eastside, but they ain’t break them barriers like he did. Kick the industry door for us, so you can’t help but respect it. We gotta give credit where it’s due, Tee one of them ones.
AllHipHop: Did he give you any advice in this music business?
Skilla Baby: Yeah, he says “take everything for face value. Business is business. Don’t look at who to make friends out of it. Don’t bank on everyone being your friend, it’s business at the end of the day.
AllHipHop: What is “Striker Music”?
Skilla Baby: “Striker Music,” if you know you know.
AllHipHop: How was it shooting that music video?
Skilla Baby: It was fire, whole bunch of people came together. We got a whole bunch of cars, pulled up in the hood. Spent the cars off, went to a tire shop. It was fun. The whole process of the project was fun: shooting videos, making the music, the conversations. The people we met, the ideas, the whole thing was fun.
AllHipHop: It was in Detroit?
Skilla Baby: Yeah. We did some of the music in LA and Atlanta. Making this one song, “Side Piece,” was fire. Just the ideas bouncing off each other, that was the memory.
AllHipHop: You shout out Sada Baby in the song, he respond to that line?
Skilla Baby: “I’ll let off shots, leave, return with the strap like Sada.” You know, me and Sada ain’t really talked about the project. Sada been busy, he been booked for shows and doing s### like that. We both been real busy so we ain’t have time. I actually seen them at Juan’s baby shower. We talk about life, we don’t really talk about the project. But he commented fire on them pictures so I know he knows it’s fire.
AllHipHop: You’ve worked all over. When you were working on McDonald’s, did you ever think you’d be here?
Skilla Baby: I hoped that I’d be here. I didn’t know I’d be here.
AllHipHop: How’d you land the collab with Kash Doll? “OH BOY” is fire.
Skilla Baby: That was fun. I heard the song, Joseph McFashion wanted me on it. He’s a blogger. He’s like the Shawn Cotton of Detroit. Like SayCheese, he got his blog. He signs rappers, do all that. He works with Kash Doll out a lot, so he asked me to be on the song. Kash Doll was rapping like a n*gga on there, she was rapping harder than a guy. I’m like yeah, I want to be on there fasho. At first, I told them I can’t even do this. She rapping too hard, she going too crazy! How am I gon’ go on there? It just came out, it came out good. I enjoyed working with her as well too. I always wanted to work with Kash Doll. She one of them people like Tee. She’s been doing this for a long time, we respect her at home.
AllHipHop: What didn’t mean to do the “2 MILLION UP” remix?
Skilla Baby: Peezy asking me to be on “2 MILLION UP” was fire for me too, these are all people I wanted to work with. I always say I wanted to work with them, these are staples in our city. Being asked to be on “2 MILLION UP,” as big as that song is, as fire as it is, how many streams it got, I was honored to do it. I was honored that somebody would ask me to be on there. Damn, they respect me. I’m respected by people that are solidified in this, so that was big for me.
AllHipHop: Did it boost your numbers or anything?
Skilla Baby: I didn’t really look at my numbers after the “2 MILLION UP.” But I know before the project dropped with Tee, my Spotify numbers went from 80K to 400K monthly listeners. In two weeks, it’s crazy.
AllHipHop: That must have felt nice?
Skilla Baby: Yeah fasho. Going from 80K to 500K monthly listeners was big for me. I didn’t know how big Spotify was, how important it was until the team told me. Everybody don’t got Spotify. So if somebody’s listening to you on Spotify, they really listening to you.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your We Eat The Most Deluxe?
Skilla Baby: A couple of nice features that you’d want to hear. You gotta tune in to see, coming with a few good people y’all want to hear me with, that’s not from Detroit. Just good music. I’m trying to make good music at all times. I’m in a great space, so the music I’m pushing out means something to me. By meaning something to me, the listeners, the consumer will love it.
AllHipHop: You were shot before, how did that affect you? You get any trauma from that?
Skilla Baby: Not for real. I accept what being a street guy comes with. I think that was a million dollar bullet because after I got shot, I got rich.
AllHipHop: You got shot and you were in the club the next day. You weren’t hurting?
Skilla Baby: No, not forreal. I ain’t really feel it. I got shot in my side. I felt it a few weeks later when I started to get a bruise. But other than that, I didn’t really feel it.
AllHipHop: Best encounter with a fan?
Skilla Baby: I had a lot of good in college. When I went to the high schools in Detroit, I got chased out the school before. They chase me. Somebody told me I saved their life. I be having all types of great encounters with my fans, my fans love me. Young to old, I have real good encounters with my fans. Like little kids or a baby, I love when a baby comes up to me. If a baby knows, you know kids are real genuine. They either like you or hate you. They don’t like you, or they love you. When I get kid fans, they be rapping my music and parents happy to see me, that makes my day
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself?
Skilla Baby: I want some plaques. Platinum plaques. I’m fiending. I’m in a rush. I need them. If I don’t get no Platinum plaque, I’ma feel unaccomplished. I’ma do anything and get my plaques, fasho.
AllHipHop: What’s the closest song you have, that’s approaching?
Skilla Baby: “Tay B Style.” “Icky Vicky Vibes.” I think the Tee project, I’ma get a Gold plaque pretty soon. Pretty fast.
AllHipHop: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Skilla Baby: I like playing sports, going to the gym. I like traveling, shopping. The normal stuff. Go to the hood, making money. I like anything to do with money.
AllHipHop: Anything else you’re excited for?
Skilla Baby: I got a movie coming out, it’s called Outside. It’ll drop on June 10th. It’s about being a street Prophet in Detroit. It’ll be on Tubi, I’m excited about that.
AllHipHop: You take acting classes for it?
Skilla Baby: Nah, I want to take acting classes though. Then I got some big features. I’m supposed to be going on tour with a couple of big guys, so I’ma see how that goes. I ain’t gon’ rush it and say nothing. But hopefully if it’s God’s plan, then it happens.