The Break Presents: Bali Baby
One of Bali Baby's earliest brushes with fame was totally coincidental. The 20-year-old Atlanta artist, who has been making noise via her tough-talking track "Banana Clip," was serving a month-long jail sentence in 2016, for violating her probation when she received an unexpected shoutout from 2 Chainz via Instagram.
"I called my mom on the jail phone and she was like ‘You’re famous! 2 Chainz posted about you,’" Bali Baby tells XXL of 2 Chainz's inadvertent plug in 2016. "My friend had on [2 Chainz's] ‘Hibachi for Lunch’ shirt, and he posted it [to] promote his brand. But I was in the picture and I had just went to jail, so everyone was under his picture like, ‘Free Bali!'"
To be fair, Bali was just getting used to mass exposure. That same year, she dropped "Dip Dip Freestyle," a surprise hit that she never expected to take off. "I was making fun of somebody actually, on Twitter, and [the freestyle] went viral hella quick," she says.
Bali Baby has been on the rap scene for nearly two years, in that time churning out six projects, including December's Merry Bhristmas, which showcased her raspy soprano over remixes of classic Christmas cuts. “I feel like all the legends did that," she says, citing Destiny's Child and Mariah Carey as examples. "With Christmas music, no one really comes out with new ones—it’s just the same songs re-innovated. So next year at Christmas time, I can bring this tape back out. People can listen to this tape every year, forever."
She's not slowing down. Bali's latest EP, Bali Blanco, dropped on March 30, but the workaholic with a nonchalant flow says she's already got six mixtapes in the chamber, ready to go. Now she's cooking up her debut album, Baylor Swift, it's title an obvious play on one of music's biggest stars. "It’s pop and real emotional," Bali says of the album, "so we just ran with it."
Get familiar with Bali Baby in the latest edition of The Break.
I grew up listening to: “A lot of Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé and Jhené Aiko—I ain’t really listen to hip-hop. I listened to radio music a lot when I was younger, and then I would listen to, literally, all Lana Del Rey—I would just blast her. I love rock-pop music. I listen to every song on Guitar Hero.
“[As far as female rappers], Nicki Minaj, that’s it. I couldn’t listen to Lil Kim or Trina ’cause it was a whole lot of ‘I’ma suck this…’ That wasn’t me. Nicki Minaj has other stuff, she doesn’t just talk about that. So I rock with her.”
My style’s been compared to: “Maybe Jesus Christ himself? That’s about it.”
Most people don’t know: “I used to play soccer [laughs]. I was fire; I could’ve gotten a scholarship. I also know how to play the piano—I took piano lessons for six years.”
My standout records or moment to date have been: “'Banana Clip' is definitely my biggest record. It’s about to hit 2 million on YouTube."
My goal in hip-hop is: “To become so iconic that if I blink twice people are like ‘Whoa, what the fuck is going on?!' You know, like Beyoncé—she’ll cry or kiss a face and everybody’s like ‘Oh my God, stop the press!’ That’s how I wanna be. I want everything I do to be influential."
I'm going to be the next: "Superstar!"
Standouts: "Banana Clip"
"Woah Woah Woah"
Bali's Play 2
"Dip Dip Freestyle"
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