Nowadays in an oversaturated music industry, more than ever do we appreciate artists who carry a different, unique, and captivating sound that sets them apart from the rest.
2KBABY is the newest superstar out of Louisville, Kentucky.
At only 20-years-old, the rapper and singer already has records with some of the biggest artists of our generation, from Marshmello to Lil Durk to G Herbo.
When it comes to turning your life around for the better, 2KBABY serves as a role model — someone who’s risen from the trenches with no food on the table to now being able to provide for not only himself, but his family and loved ones.
Talk about full circle, 2KBABY, real name Christian Todd (who used to go by Lil Sage) went from listening to G Herbo (his favorite rapper), to then doing a song with him (“OLD SOUL” ).
In fact, it was 2KBABY’s remix of Herb’s “Eastside Story” into “Southside Story” that first got him his hood fame.
His biggest song to date remains “OLD STREETS,” a heartfelt record that speaks volumes to the pain and obstacles he faced coming up as a kid — even catching the ear of Lil Durk who hopped on the remix. Fast forward to 2021, the Warner Records signee continues to achieve new heights, releasing “Like This” in collaboration with dance music’s hottest DJ and producer, Marshmello, and most recently “Great White.” The sky’s the limit for 2KBABY, and fans are at the edge of their seat for new music.
On the 11th episode of Shirley’s Temple, Shirley Ju sat down with 2KBABY at Matrix Studios in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his love for cannabis, collaborating with Marshmallow on “Like This” and more.
AllHipHop: How much you smoking?
2KBABY: About a zip a day. I be smoking, ain’t gonna lie.
AllHipHop: How long you’ve been smoking for?
2KBABY: My first time ever smoking, I was 14. But I wasn’t a heavy smoker. Living in my city, I wasn’t really big on smoking weed. I smoked the blacks, but I wasn’t smoking weed. I wasn’t trying to be out and about high all the time, I was trying to be focused. Once I moved out my city and moved to Atlanta, I was putting my all into music, then I started smoking a lot of weed. I’ve been smoking since a youngin’, I’m 20 now.
AllHipHop: You’re only 20 and have a record with one of the biggest artists in the world. Were you aware of who Marshmello was?
2KBABY: I was already aware about who Marshmello was. Of course, lately he really started breaking out a lot more into different audiences. He started doing the track with 42 Dugg, then with Roddy Rich.
AllHipHop: So how did you hop on that train?
2KBABY: Just good people on my team, good people on his team. Bro heard the song, it was a song I had did a couple years ago. I had put it out, but I wasn’t who I was. I was still who I was, but a lot smaller. People didn’t see it, but bro heard it and he did his thing with it. Turned it into a whole new song. We made it happen. Since then, we were vibing.
AllHipHop: Wait with the head off or on? [laughs]
2KBABY: With the mask off. After he heard the song and sent it back, we got up in person. We’re vibing all the way up until we shot the video, and now we here.
AllHipHop: What was your reaction when you heard it back?
2KBABY: I was amazed honestly. Being from where I’m from, even the music I grew up listening to, I was really proud of myself seeing how far I’ve come as an artist. I really want to be able to take over every genre and even grow as an artist. I want to perfect my craft and see progress. Seeing where I came from, damn now I’m here. The song sounds great. I know what type of audience it’s going to go to, an audience I never thought I’d be able to reach. It’s a blessing.
AllHipHop: You said you want to make pop music. Talk about wanting to attack every genre and your distinct sound.
2KBABY: I want to make everything. Lately I’ve been trying to make pop and other s###, but I always continue to do what got me here. I always continue to make music in the lab for the streets, for my people that still love “Old Streets” and still love Lil Sage. I’m definitely trying to master everything in the background.
AllHipHop: I love “Old Streets.” I know that was originally a freestyle for Say Cheese?
2KBABY: It was a freestyle I’d posted, then Glock Rivers picked it up on Twitter. He’s a big influencer on Twitter. It went viral on Twitter. It went crazy, then it transitioned over to Instagram. Say Cheese picked up the freestyle, then a whole bunch of other pages. When I posted the freestyle, I had 20K followers. It was going viral for the whole summer. By the end of summer, it had 70K to 80K going up on 100K. By the end, I made it into a real song and dropped it.
AllHipHop: Did you think it’d become your biggest song? You can feel the emotion.
2KBABY: When I first did it, when I first dropped the freestyle, I didn’t know nothing. Now that I think about it, I’d dropped “Like This,” the original one. I was trying to promote and trap people to watch my video I just dropped. Alright, let me shoot a freestyle video and post it on Instagram. S###, that went crazy. They wasn’t even paying no attention to the music video I was trying to get people to watch, the freestyle’s going crazy.
AllHipHop: How was it getting Lil Durk on the remix?
2KBABY: Shout out to Lil Durk man, Durk hopped on the remix through the same people. Before I had made my decision as far as what label, I’d already made connections with certain people over at Alamo. Shout out them over at Alamo. My team and their team, it was off the strength of what we had already had. We crossed paths in the past, so same s###.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to get your first plaque so young?
2KBABY: It’s a blessing. It motivates me. Once I got that first one and I put it up on the wall, I envision the whole wall covered in plaques. It made me want to get more!
AllHipHop: You came along way since bologna meat…
2KBABY: Facts! Bologna meat to gold plaques.
AllHipHop: A huge part of this show is mental health. What was the reality of coming up in Louisville?
2KBABY: You gotta definitely be strong. You gotta be strong-minded because it’s a crab-in-a-bucket effect. It’s really every man for himself because nobody really gets it out of us. Everybody’s trying to maintain, they chasing a lot of s### that’s not even in the city too. Listening to everybody else and being around too many other people, you gon’ get caught up. My big bro instilled in me when I was 14: “always ride alone.” I had times when I was on some knucklehead s### and I was picking up the squad, but I learned my lessons from that s###. I tell everybody else: “ride dolo” when I’m in my city. It’s different. My city is lost in time.
AllHipHop: Really? How so?
2KBABY: The best car you gon’ see in my city is a Maserati. If you see anything better than that, it’s one of the odds. We ain’t even got no designer stores. The closest designer store is in Simpsonville. Other cities like here, New York, LA, everybody got stars coming out of there every day. You see stars, you see cars, you see all this crazy s### like it’s normal. In my city, we see all that on our phones. What I’m doing right now and what I’m seeing, my life now is still surreal everyday. It was already programmed in my head: “this is where I’ma be, this is where I’ma live or die. This is the normal.” Now, it’s crazy. Everybody and they mama wish they could go to Cali, in my city. It ain’t even about getting out here or trying to get no big crazy AirbnB. In my city, they be satisfied to be out this m########### in the hotel. Just be walking the strip.
AllHipHop: You say “I’ve been through too much just to live like this.” How was your mental state back then?”
2KBABY: Once I really put my whole focus into it, it did help. I ain’t gon’ lie growing up, I drove myself crazy sometimes. I look at other other kids, they live life. They focus on being a kid, having fun every moment. Damn, why am I 12, 13, 14, stressed as f### like I’m old? I was never satisfied, I always wanted more. I didn’t have the most. My momma had told me we didn’t have it like that, that’s just being real. We gotta work for everything, but I never gave up though. I always kept hustling.
AllHipHop: How does mom’s feeling now? I’m sure she’s proud as f###.
2KBABY: Yeah she’s good now, everybody’s good now. Everybody’s good, everybody’s maintaining. We all trying to keep working to the next level. It’s just the beginning.
AllHipHop: You used to rap as Lil Sage, where’d that come from?
2KBABY: It was my nickname back home, all my friends called me Lil Sage. I really started rapping because my best friend got locked up when I was 14. At that time I waited 6 months, he was downtown in the YC (Youth Camp). His sister told me after 6 months he got sent to camp. In my head worsT case scenario, I’ma start rapping Just to say free my homie. So he got a name here back out here while he’s gone, leaving his legacy. That’s what I was on. By the time he came home, I gained the city on my back. I said “c’mon bro, let’s go crazy with rap!”
AllHipHop: Is he still here to this day?
2KBABY: Yeah, he’s still here. Shout out Blasian, he got a kid now. Bro still doing music.
AllHipHop: How’s your mental state now that you got all these eyes on you?
2KBABY: I really focus every day on not living too fast. I try to stay in the same mindset. Keep myself in the same place I was when I was back home, living with my mama or living with my grannie. Staying at one of my homie’s spots, I was hungry as f###. Every day, I’d wake up hungry. I know it’s never overnight, but as long as I’m making progress everyday and taking care of what I gotta take care of, I’m getting steps closer. I’m set.
AllHipHop: I want to touch on “Old Soul,” because I love G Herbo. You’ve got the perfect features.
2KBABY: G Herbo is one of my favorite artists, fasho. Once I got that feature, alright I know what I’m doing right. That’s one of my favorite songs.
AllHipHop: Was that done in the studio or was that sent?
2KBABY: Nah it was sent. Same s###. Me and bro caught up in New York though. It was dope! Pulled up to his first show on the tour in New York, that s### was crazy.
AllHipHop: People be knowing all his lyrics.
2KBABY: Yeah, everybody be saying he off beat, but I don’t hear it.
AllHipHop: Talk about dressing up as old people. How was that?
2KBABY: Oh man, that was dope I ain’t gon’ lie. When I looked at the treatment, I loved it. I was chillin’, it wasn’t nothing crazy. Shorty went crazy on the makeup. The most fun honestly was the acting. We shot the video in two different places. I shot the video in Atlanta, he shot his s### back home. It was the beginning of COVID, everything was real strict. My favorite part was they did something in the video where we FaceTimed each other while we’re playing chess, that was dope.
AllHipHop: I was gonna ask, are you good at chess?
2KBABY: Hell yeah! I whoop ass in chess.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite G Herbo song?
2KBABY: “Back On Tour.” When he dropped that, he was going by G Herbo. I like “Eastside Story” too. That’s how I blew up back home. I remixed “Eastside Story” and called it “Southside Story.” That’s how I got my hood fame.
AllHipHop: How was Atlanta?
2KBABY: Atlanta was cool, I locked in in Atlanta. I was in the studio everyday, either in the basement or in Sonny Digital’s studio. Shout out Sonny Digital, that’s big bro!
AllHipHop: I know Lucci’s out there, you got “Half A Milli” with him.
2KBABY: Hell yeah, shout out Lucci. We all under the same label.
AllHipHop: Is there someone you want to work with that you haven’t?
2KBABY: Post Malone, I want to work with Post Malone. That’s gonna happen.
AllHipHop: Are you big on manifesting?
2KBABY: YeaH fasho, that’s what I be on all day long.
AllHipHop: Do you meditate?
2KBABY: I be trying to. I ain’t gon’ say I be sitting up somewhere with my feet or my legs crossed up, but I definitely talk to myself. I be figuring s### out. Every day, I gotta get s### done. I gotta make progress here and there. I’ll be figuring s### out, having conversations with myself. Two minds work better than one. I can’t think with one mind, I gotta think with two minds.
AllHipHop: You record off the dome?
2KBABY: Yeah, I don’t write anything. Going to the studio prepared to me is going to the studio with the energy, ready to create and get in the bag. Call whoever I want to call. Call my squad, whoever to meet up and help with the vibe. Get in there and start painting.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
2KBABY: Lemon pepper wings, weed of course, and my loved ones forreal. Gotta make sure they my people.
AllHipHop: How many people you got in your circle?
2KBABY: Not more than I can count on my hand.
AllHipHop: You liking it out here in LA? I know you’re cold.
2KBABY: Yeah I’m freezing out here. I love LA, I make some of my best music out here. The scenery and the vibes, of course the weed. It’s all inspirational, motivational.
AllHipHop: Talk about your drip, I see you.
2KBABY: Shoutout Cult man! Cult sent me the jacket.
AllHipHop: Who are your favorite designers?
2KBABY: I like Balenciaga. I like Gucci, Burberry. I love Burberry. Honestly, I’m not one of those n*ggas that be crazy about designer s###. I grab s### I like. I could walk into whatever store and if I see a T shirt or flannels, I’ll buy it. I be wearing flannels, s### like that.
AllHipHop: I see crystals around your neck, I love that.
2KBABY: Yeah, I’ve been recently trying to get up on that s###. Trying to get some better vibes.
AllHipHop: You have a new song “Great White” coming out Friday, why did you name it “Great White”?
2KBABY: In the chorus, I say “Great White, all you little n**** in the backseat” basically saying I’m a big shark and everybody else is watching. Also sharks do their own thing, a shark is in its own world in the ocean while everything else is happening on land. I’m not in the mix like that. And when anything comes into the ocean the shark is at an advantage.
AllHipHop: And you shot a video for “Great White”? yeah the video is about me going and getting it by any means. Rich Porter came up with the treatment and we shot it in LA.
AllHipHop: Anything you want to let the people know?
2KBABY: I’m dropping my mixtape next month, it’s called First Quarter.
AllHipHop: Any features?
2KBABY: Mozzy, I threw Mozzy on there. That’s big bro, I f### with Mozzy. I got Mozzy on there, I ain’t gon’ say all the features right now. Always got something in the works.
AllHipHop: Favorite emoji?
2KBABY: The laughing emoji.
AllHipHop: Favorite snack?
AllHipHop: Favorite song at the moment.
2KBABY: “Like This.”
AllHipHop: Favorite thing to do for self-care?
2KBABY: Shower. I take a shower when I’m bored. I take a shower when I wake up and take a shower when I go to sleep. During the day if I’m bored, f### it. If I feel like I’m sticky, take a shower.
AllHipHop: Hot or cold?
2KBABY: Hot! I like the heat, I ain’t gon’ lie.
AllHipHop: Greatest fear?
2KBABY: Going broke.
AllHipHop: Favorite show on Netflix?
2KBABY: Right now, I like Riverdale. I like Shameless too though.
AllHipHop: What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
2KBABY: Being at peace.
AllHipHop: First thing that comes to mind: “Old Streets.”
AllHipHop: What’s your secret talent?
2KBABY: I play alto saxophone and tuba, some high-pitched s###. I bought one, on some f### it s###. I should try to record some saxophone s###…I like Dragonball Z. That’s the only anime I watch. N*ggas be leveling up and going super saiyan, I be trying to level up.