Following Lil Baby’s powerful and polarizing Grammy performance of his song “The Bigger Picture” on Sunday, the Atlanta artist shared that he met Jay-Z at Sunday’s festivities.
In a new interview with Billboard, Baby elaborated on his initial reaction after meeting Hov and how he hopes to be like him someday.
“I’m really not that fond of meeting other celebrities, but Jay-Z is a guy who I look up to, and look up to the way he moves and the things that he’s done,” he said. “I see myself following in his footsteps.”
In terms of his performance, Baby talked about why it was important for him to include visuals of riots and police brutality to capture the realities that he has faced.
“I wanted to use a specific situation that would give people an understanding of where I come from,” he explained. “I didn’t really want to use the George Floyd or Breonna Taylor [killings] or something. I wanted to use something that stood by me. That happened in Atlanta, and I live in Atlanta, and I’ve been in some of those same exact situations.”
Following the performance, some people were fairly critical of Lil Baby for including images of Black death as a part of his visuals. Tamika Mallory was featured delivering a speech during the performance, and Tamir Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice, was vocal in her disapproval of it.
Despite the criticism, Baby hasn’t wavered. “It’s a never-ending saga for the people who really live in it,” Lil Baby told Billboard. “But to the world … stuff like that dies down when no one’s talking about it. But me, I’m a person who really has family members who’ve been killed by the police. I really have friends in prison for the rest of their lives for things that they didn’t do. I’m really a part of that outside of music, when I’m not on stage, when I’m at home. That’s my everyday life. I talk to my people in prison, I’m spending millions of dollars on lawyers to get my people out of a messed-up system.”