DaBaby- Da king of the queen city


Story by Jack Meltsner, Co-editor-in-chief

A Charlotte rapper gaining fame is as rare as a lake in the Sahara Desert. Since the rap game took off in the 1990’s, only one Charlotte native has gained national attention. From the group “Cult Rap,” Deniro Farrar caught the attention of rap fans nationwide with his collaboration on the project “#NewCharlotte” in 2017. By including verses from Charlotte’s most notable rappers of the time, this project laid the groundwork for the next wave of Charlotte rappers.

Among the new wave of Charlotte rappers, Lute and DaBaby have caught national attention. Lute has received attention courtesy of the North Carolina rap group, Dreamville, a group spearheaded by rap legend and Fayetteville native, J. Cole. On the other hand, DaBaby — formerly known as Baby Jesus — took the world by storm with the release of his album “Baby on Baby” in March 2019. DaBaby’s song “Suge” would have been the most popular song at its release if it weren’t for Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” Nevertheless, “Baby on Baby” reached a peak of third place on Billboard’s US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart earlier this year.

What ascended DaBaby to the status of Charlotte royalty is the fact that he constantly refers to and reps Charlotte in his songs. He inspires Charlotteans and acts as an icon that represents the city’s rap game, something Charlotte rap fans have been craving. One rapper who points to DaBaby as inspiration is Salisbury native Stunna4Vegas who DaBaby just signed to his record company, Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment. Growing up in Salisbury, just a short drive up I-85 from Charlotte, Stunna has rode DaBaby’s coattails, often performing alongside him on tour.

DaBaby’s newest album,”Kirk,” was released on Sept. 27. The album represents his family and is titled as such in honor of his last name. Known by his family as Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, DaBaby shows his loyalty to his city and his family by providing Charlotte rap fans with something to be proud of and cherish like it’s their very own. DaBaby’s lyrics in the song “Vibez” on the album “Kirk” shouts out his hometown by referring to one of our main highways. “I just hopped off a private plane and went and hopped on 85.” 85 being the nickname of one of Charlotte’s premier highways: I-85. 

On “Kirk,” the first song is the most famous, “INTRO.” DaBaby commenced his September album by momentarily letting his profane lyrical history sit on the back burner as he divulged into his humble beginnings. By straying from his signature flow, “INTRO” demands attention for its message: that rappers are people too. By including lyrics that explain to the world that Kirk’s father died the same day that his song “Suge” went number one on the Billboard charts, he reveals his vulnerability to his fans.

Since the release of “Kirk,” DaBaby has climbed social ranks and obtained international fame. On Sept. 30, he appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” and rehearsed the top three grossing songs on his new album: “Intro, Prolly and Bop.” Available to the world, audiences can stream DaBaby’s feature on “The Tonight Show” via Youtube or other streaming services. His new album “Kirk” is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, and Youtube, among other platforms.

As of Oct. 10, 2019, all 13 songs on “Kirk” sit on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, making DaBaby the most popular rapper right now.

“He’s one of the only rappers to make it from Charlotte and he’s inspiring my classmates and me to pursue a career in the rap industry. He has really made Charlotte a hotbed for new rappers.” Sophomore Chris Green said.