Baby Bash: Child's Play

Baby Bash is not tripping if you think he isn’t hard enough [pause]. The Vallejo, CA native and Houston based artist has over three million downloads of his latest hit, “Cyclone” featuring T-Pain, the title track of his latest album. So, to his credit, he’s got plenty of fans out there. While hits like “Cyclone” and past chart toppers like “Suga Suga” have made the Chicano an enigma as far as categorizing his music [Is he a rapper, a crooner or somewhere in between?], he does sport legitimate MC stripes stemming from his time spent in Cali rap outfits Potna Deuce and Latino Velvet. Prepping to co-headline the MTV Sucker Free Latino Spring tour with Pitbull, the former Baby Beesh candidly offers incite into his D-boy pedigree, working with the late Pimp C and Mac Dre and, among other things, his musical How do you feel Cyclone is doing for you?Baby Bash: The album is doing great. Doing real good, I’m going to have three million as far as downloads, as far as singles, “Cyclone” just came out of no where, it’s my first club banger. I’m really happy about that and everything is going good. It seems so weird man, it’s so funny because it seems like, I got more popular. From “Suga Suga” to “BabyI’m Back,” I had like a nice little thing there, I was sort of decent. But it like almost tripled with “Cyclone,” because it’s like a club banger. It’s crazy how one club song can brighten it all up, it’s kind of weird. It’s all tight, it’s all lovely.The intention was to make a club song, because I used to be at clubs man…and I would hear a song, and you would see a reaction when the intro of a song [would] come on. You can’t do that with “Suga Suga” or “Obsession.” Lil Jon had wanted to work with me already, he said I like how you get down with your melodies. So I said okay, give me one of your classic Lil’ Jon bangers. So when he gave it to me, I wrote the hook and T-Painwalked in the studio. He was like “What’s this bruh?” I said “Man, ‘Cyclone.’” He was like “Man I like that, that’s tight,” and so he jumped on it. I didn’t even expect for it to be as big as it did at first. I know you come from a rap pedigree coming from Vallejo and being part of Potna Deuce and Latino Velvet and your earlier work.Baby Bash: Yeah, straight Vallejo. I’m a product of Mac Dre and E-40, V-Town man. And it’s so funny, I was a d-boy rapper, that’s how I rapped. I wasn’t thinking about no radio s**t, I was straight rocking it up, chopping it up. Then when you start going broke though, you start going, “Hmm…man the radio sounds nice right about now.” I always had a lot of girlfriends all the time, and they’d always tell me, “Why you always trying to rap so hard?” I was a legitimate d-boy out there, don’t let the pretty face fool you, I was really out there doing my thing. Then finally I was like, “You know what, give me a radio beat.” And that’s finally when Happy Perez gave me that “Suga, Suga” song and I was high as hell. It was actually called “Lifted”, because I was hella lifted when I wrote it, to tell you the truth. And then it’s just like “Mary Jane”, Rick James got on the radio with that. It’s almost kind of like the radio saying, “Oh he’s talking about a girl, that.” It just took off from there. So that put me in a little pop category, but I didn’t mind; the checks were Obviously your able to touch that pop category, but coming from your rap d-boy history, does it ever bother you that you don’t get much attention from traditional rap outlets?Baby Bash: At first it upset me a little bit, thinking like, “These muthaf****s; these dudes don’t understand. If they only knew, if they only f***ing knew.” Then I got to a point where I’m like, “It’s not worth trying to beat a dead horse.” But yeah, I got frustrated a little bit, because people start saying I’m pop and it’s like, “If you only knew where I come from and how I get down.” But I’m a businessman. I went to where the demand was so I supplied it. I see these fly females, fly chicas and they want to hear some hype club music and it turned into a business. I got to take care of my family. Believe it or not, I had a little hardcore fan base when I was Baby Beesh, so a lot of them got upset. I had to weigh up my options. It’s just like I’m a good basketball player and a good baseball player; if I can’t make it in basketball, and I got a contract playing baseball for the Yankees, guess what I‘m going to do? I’m going to play shortstop so quick. What I had to do is just not let my frustrations get to me. Now it’s like hilarious, it’s funny. I don’t even know why I was thinking like that. I’ve never wanted to be Mr. Battle Rapper. I’ve never been the one to do that anyways so I’m really a songwriter. I arrange it, write it, make sure it’s all right with the hooks. Just about every song you’ve heard me on, you may have heard other people singing the hooks but you best believe I wrote the hook, and I did it how I wanted it How did “Mean Mug” with Pimp C come about?Baby Bash: I was sitting down taking a plane trip to LA in first class. And sitting right next to me was Pimp C and he goes, “Ah Baby Bash man, I always wanted to meet you man.” And I’m like, “Woah.” That’s pretty crazy, because he’s like hardcore underground. He was like “I heard your songs , when I was locked up man and I like how you get down man. You know you use that slang.” He even knows how I do it, you got your radio sound but you put some of the street slang into it. I am from Vallejo so, I’m from the Mecca of slang. So when he told me that I was like, “Oh we got to work together.” So we chopped it up, we became good friends, hung out a couple of times and he said, “You better not do that album without me bruh.” And “Mean Mug” [is] one of my harder songs, with my group the [Stewey Brothers]. We went to the studio we knocked it out, and he wrecked it. [Pimp C] ripped it up so tough I was so happy for him to lay that down for me. “Mean Mug” is an old expression that E-40 and them had back when I was a youngster. He wrecked it and I couldn’t believe it, two months later he passed. It’s the weirdest thing, I didn’t get to enjoy that song with him or perform it with him as I had wanted to. The same thing happened with my last album with Mac Dre, bro. Three months later after Mac Dre did a song on my album, he died. He got shot in Kansas City and actually Mac Dre is my favorite rapper of all time but I was a fan of Pimp C too. It’s kind of crazy.[Baby Bash f/ Pimp C, Mistah F.A.B. & Da Stooie Bros. "Mean Mug"] What musical influences did you get from living in California and from living Houston?Baby Bash: From California, it’s the more uppity quicker city slick talker. The slick talk, the slang and then you come to Texas and you get more of the bounce the Southern swing and bang. The more slow coolness and bounce with the beat has the double time. So what I did was I combined it and created my own big old pot of menudo. Add the ladies to the market. It’s so funny, bro - when I started rapping, one of my shows when I was doing my d-boy raps, the clubs had all dudes. Maybe five or six little hardcore females out there. Now I do shows that are all fine women everywhere and I tell that to all the hardcore cats who said, “Man Bash you going soft on us.” I say, “you should see my shows,” I love it. Now I do shows for a bunch of ladies instead of a bunch of People have a difficult time categorizing your music, so how do you describe it in your own words?Baby Bash: I’ve been dealing with that my whole career. That been one of my biggest peeves because in this music world, you got all these dorky nerdy guys up at these labels [who] act like they can categorize music like they know what’s up. I’m a Latin kid who grew up urban; who is Chicano, who listens to everything from reggae to Lenny Kravitz to E-40. So my music is a fusion, and I know some people don’t like that word in music. But I think that’s what music is coming to, its coming to a fusion because now like “Apologize” from One Republic is a straight pop song but black people love that song now. I felt that way back when I did “Suga Suga” because black people love “Suga Suga” too, even though it got categorized in pop.I’ve done all black shows in Oakland and they know every word to my pop songs right down to my hardcore songs. And then I’ll go do a song for an all gangster Latino low-rider show crowd and they know all the songs. Then I’ll do an all American college white crowd and they know all the songs. So I think I’m one of the few artist that’s not a big-time Kanye West type dude that can do that. I still feel that I’m under the radar. I just happened to be a Latino guy who was raised listening to oldies and stuff. My music is a fusion of urban pop-ish, R&B-ish, reggae-ish type sound with a little light rock. My music is more melodic than trying to out-rap Would you say that since music is going more and more digital, that has helped you since that way you can’t be stuck in one category in a record store?Baby Bash: There’s pros and cons to the digital world right now. But me, I have three million downloads right now so, obviously I’m doing something right. It’s helped financially of course it’s a blessing but as long as people hear the records. I’ve always seen people mad at other people bootlegging but me, I don’t care if people bootleg my records as longas people hear my songs. Money-wise I’m kind of set now, so as long as people hear my music and enjoy it, then I’m good.