Lil Baby was the best rapper of 2020, but he didn’t always see a career for himself in music. As Young Thug shared, the fellow Atlanta rapper even paid Lil Baby to keep rapping in the early stages of his career. Thankfully, Thug’s investment paid off. Lil Baby is an artist who can authentically speak for the streets in all facets, from its struggles to triumphs and everything in between. Baby, whose real name is Dominique Armani Jones, was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, with his two sisters and single mother. After dropping out of high school and later going to prison for drug possession from 2012 to 2013, Baby would eventually start seriously pursuing rap when he caught the attention of the record label Quality Control Music.
Lil Baby was locked in from then on, releasing a series of mixtapes including Perfect Timing, Harder Than Hard, and Too Hard in 2017. The lead single off Too Hard, “Freestyle,” would be crucial in helping Lil Baby capture the attention of the rap world. This was all a prelude for Harder Than Ever, which featured appearances from Drake, Gunna, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Offset, and others, making Lil Baby a full-fledged rap star.
The success of Harder Than Ever built anticipation for Baby’s 2020 studio album, My Turn, which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200. Later that summer, as protests broke out across the country, Lil Baby released his powerful song “The Bigger Picture,” centered around police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. “The Bigger Picture” would go on to be nominated for a Grammy—where Baby delivered a performance of the track—and be regarded as one of the most important rap songs of the year. Now, it’s a losing game not to bet on Lil Baby.