19-year-old Lil Bibby doesn’t exactly want to be in the spotlight yet. The Chicago rapper finished up a vigorous press run earlier this month promoting his debut mixtape, Free Crack. As part of the city’s new class of MCs bubbling from the region, Bibby’s name has been ringing loud thanks to the overwhelming response to the tape. His stock is rising now; however, Bibby is not sure he wants it that way.
“The ‘Kill Shit’ joint, you know how that did,” he says. “But then, probably the joint I did called ‘Stressing’ got to a lot of people. I was going through some shit. Shit just be changing too quick. I had to get used to this shit. You know how people act. I can’t explain it.”
Bibby—birth name Brandon Dickerson—is secretive about his past. When asked about what exactly he experienced growing up on the East side of Chicago, there’s little to be revealed. Instead, he defers to an answer that a lot of young rappers have echoed. “Where I am from, that’s probably one of the craziest places in Chicago. I had seen and did a lot of stuff,” he says. “I don’t like talking about that type of shit though.” Even if that is the case, Bibby is developing his own sound that combines the rigorous landscape of the drill scene with the lyrical dexterity of New York’s best street rappers. There are bits and pieces of his life throughout the tape, where songs like “Raised Up,” “Water” and “Stressing” have rumbled in the underground.
“I was really trying to let my fans know who Bibby is,” he says. “I probably want to do an EP or something. I ain’t gonna tell too much then. I probably wait until the album come out and then I am gonna give you the details. How Bibby became Bibby.”
The determined MC is still adjusting to fame, though. It becomes a familiar story for rappers to become big names one day, but Bibby believes it comes with a price. After receiving a co-sign from Drake, who called him and longtime friend Lil Herb “the future,” and then meeting him for the first time during Drizzy’s Would You Like A Tour?, there has been a bit of pressure to live up to expectations. He says Drake’s shoutout delayed his project because he wanted to put out the best material possible.
“The Drake shit, I really had to come with more shit. Drake scared me,” he says. “He told me, ‘I’m waiting on it. The streets waiting on it.’ Man, I gotta make some hits. So I went back into the studio, and we came up with ‘Water,’ ‘Whole Crew.’ All type of shit like that.”
For Bibby, he looks back at 2013 as the year where he built his foundation. Still, during this period, the teenage MC is beginning to realize the music industry isn’t all that glamorous, taking the necessary precautions to be aware of what’s going on. “There’s a lot of fake shit. A lot of people that just want to come around,” he says. “You gotta keep your eyes open.”
With hopes of stripping away the baggage and adapting to rap stardom, Bibby’s confident that next year will be his to conquer. “I think I got it down pat,” he says. “I got it 2014.”
Stay schemin’. —Eric Diep