Chicago’s Lil Bibby is one of the brightest stars breaking out of the city’s vibrant scene, and he’s down at SXSW this week for the first time, putting on shows at Fader Fort, for LiveMixtapes, and other places around the city. But the young gun—whose Free Crack mixtape lit the underground on fire when it dropped late last year—is still on a learning curve, having only performed 30 or so shows and trying to pick up tips from his elders.
After performing at the Fort, Bibby stopped to speak with XXL about his come up, his new EP The Book, his enemies in Chicago, and why he’s sick of that damn Drake question. —Dan Rys (@danrys)
XXL: How’s SXSW going so far?
Lil Bibby: It’s alright, man. Fader gave me an early show, but it was still a lot of people out there. I got like one [show] every day; LiveMixtapes got a show Saturday, I think that’s gonna be a big show. And I’m really just down here chillin. I just wanna do the shows, then if I can, get some girls back to the hotel. [Laughs]
You’re still new to performing. How many shows have you done?
Altogether, 30 or 40 shows. I seen Drake’s show; when I went to the Drake concert in Atlanta, he took the whole stadium down. I was looking at it like, man, that show just made me realize I need a lot of work. So he was like, man, that shit takes years. But he had the big O come from the ceiling, and he was walking around it, point at people, “I see you over there, I see you over there,” he was talking to all the fans. And people would go crazy when he would point at them; people were flipping out.
It’s been a couple months since Free Crack. Other than that big Drake co-sign, what’s the craziest thing that’s happened from that?
It’s been a lot of stuff, man. [Laughs] Mac Miller called me, he was cool. Everybody has been reaching out. Everything’s going good.
I heard you’re working on an EP. How’s that coming?
Yeah. That EP will probably be out in 6 weeks, 6 to 8 weeks. It’s called The Book. I went to Twitter and I asked somebody for help with the title, and they came up with The Book Of Bibby, and I was just thinking, like, why don’t I just name it The Book?
Is that a biblical reference?
Nah, just telling my story.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned in the past year?
It’s about music—the industry’s about music, but it’s a business, and everything is about money, too. So you gotta be on your business game, and you gotta know stuff, man, ’cause people will really try to take advantage of the things you don’t know. It’s really fucked up, man. Learn the business as much as you can, man, ’cause if you don’t, you’ll regret it. Learn the business and work on your craft every day. Don’t take no breaks.
What have you been up to on the day to day?
Lately I’ve been in Chicago, and I really can’t go to too many studios in Chicago, ’cause it’s kinda crazy out there. I gotta lot of enemies, I can’t really do too much moving around in Chicago. But I’ve been down in Atlanta, next week I’ll be out in L.A. for like two weeks, I got a show out there. But day to day, I’m just at the house thinking about this EP. I’m like four songs in, I got four or five songs, and I’m tryna put eight joints on there. Seven or eight. I’m really just thinking about that.
Is it crazy for you that you can’t make moves around your hometown?
Nah, I’m used to it, man. That’s how Chicago is, though. Always be careful. And me, I’m a known face, everybody know me. There’s not too many people that look like me—you can see me from a block away—so you gotta watch. I got a lot of enemies that I don’t even know about. But yeah. Used to it. I like being out of town now. But I gotta take a lot of pictures when I’m out of town now. I be chillin. Plus, like, I ran into Future in Atlanta, Justin Bieber. He’s cool, man, Justin Bieber’s real cool.
I’m sure you’re sick of the Drake questions.
Yeah, I’m sick of that. [Laughs] Every interviewer asks something about Drake—I know he tired of that! “If this boy don’t stop sayin’ my name…” But yeah, I’m tired of the Drake shit. I don’t wanna hear no more about Drake after this. That’s my homie, Drake, I’m a big fan, but I don’t wanna hear that.
What else you got planned for the year?
I’m gonna drop a song off the EP this week, it’s called “Dead Or In Prison,” so be on the lookout for that. And I really got to get a tour started. I really wanna do my own tour. Or I gotta get on somebody’s tour that I mess with, so. I’m really trying to work on my craft, that’s about it. Shows, recording.
You’re up for XXL‘s Freshmen 10 spot. Got a message for the fans?
Go vote for Bibby—Vote Or Die. And if you don’t vote for Bibby, man… I’m not gonna finish that thought. [Laughs] But everybody go out and vote for me, we need that 10 spot.
Previously: Lil Bibby Says Drake Scared Him
Lil Bibby, Chinx And Vic Mensa Show & Prove In XXL Issue 153
Lil Bibby Offers His Street Tales In Free Crack Mixtape
XXL Freshman 2014: Lil Bibby Pitch [VIDEO]