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Gunna is changing. I should have known. He is, after all, perpetually dripping. We’re way up in the hills. I’m told it’s Malibu, but my Instagram location tells me otherwise: Agoura, California. Wherever we are, the scenery is amazing. It’s around an hour-long drive from the city of Los Angeles. There are two addresses for the music video shoot today. The first is a ranch, doubling as our parking lot. Brown, white, and speckled grey horses fill outdoor stables, and various ranch accoutrement (I don’t know the names of ranch accessories, but, you know, probably a tractor or something) decorate the gravel road and haphazardly-grown lawn.

At first, I’m excited that maybe Lil Baby and Gunna will have horses in their music video??? Yeah, I am a 10-year old girl at heart, so the idea of horses (read: ponies) is quite exciting. I soon realize though, this will not be my 10-year-old self’s birthday wish come true. After we park in an empty dust-filled lot, we hop in a shuttle bus. Our driver retreats from the ranch and heads back up the hill to the neighboring property. The wayward driveway conceals us completely from the road. As we exit the shuttle bus, I’m immediately adjusting my vision of this music video (no horses); instead I see an expansive, secluded and sleek property, and girls in nude and white-coloured bodysuits flitting around it.

The low-leveled mansion is set far back on its island-like real estate. The landscape leading towards the house probably costs more than I make in a year, so I’m not even trying to guess the cost of this house (also, I’m really bad at that game-- although someone else does guess, “15 million?”). There is the forever-green astro turf curving a path around the yard, lined with well-manicured desert plants and stones.

The interior of the home leaves more to the imagination. It’s been carefully covered with cardboard, each surface protected from any would-be harasser, whether that be of the food, smoke, drink or people variety (although, the latter three things are not even allowed in the home, as signs outside indicate). In one of the many garages, a craft service station offers an array of snacks fit for a munchies connoisseur (and since I am one, you know I remember the snacks all too well: Welch’s fruit gummies, mini Oreos, granola bars, popcorn, roasted organic seaweed, grapes and apples for the healthy, chocolate M&Ms, gummy bears, chips, trail mix...DM me for the full list).

This is where I’ll be for the next ten hours. Gunna and Lil Baby have convened in L.A. for the “Drip Too Hard” music video shoot, as they prepare to release their highly anticipated joint album, Drip Harder. “Drip Too Hard,” is exactly what we wanted, and expected, from a Gunna x Baby collab. Even before Lil Baby starts his verse, we know this to be true. That’s because of the tag: “run it back Turbo.” Turbo has been behind some of the most magical creations between the two (“Oh Okay” and “Sold Out Dates”), as well as working with both artists individually. The producer, who sits in the corner quietly throughout our interview later in the evening, is becoming somewhat of a not-so-secret weapon for the adjoining YSL and QC camps. “Drip Too Hard” is identified by a hypnotic guitar sample, surrounded by percussive elements-- it’s different but, still, not so-unlike the song that made us collectively fall in love with the idea of a Baby and Gunna collab album, “Sold Out Dates.” Turbo's penchant for guitar-laced, trap-driven beats recurs on the full-length, with songs like "Business is Business" and "Belly" adding to the catalogue -- clearly defining his production style, and defining our expectations from either artists in the process. Drip Harder is a deep sea of melodic soundscapes, the duo adeptly riding each wave.

Lil Baby’s tale is that of victory, overnight success, but mostly, it’s a story of hope. After a two-year jail stint, Baby, real name, Dominique Jones, finally caved in to the persistence of Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre "Pee" Thomas, respectively. Together, they are the co-founders of Quality Control Records and Solid Foundation Management, playing host to artists like Migos, Lil Yachty, and of course, Lil Baby. Coach K and Pee knew Lil Baby before Quality Control existed, similarly, Baby knew Young Thug before he was Young Thug-- they went to the same high school in Atlanta, Thug was two grades above Baby. They weren’t close friends at that time, but they ran in similar circles.

Coach K and Pee swiftly built up their QC empire, with Migos leading the charge. Their studio sessions were often a hang out spot for Baby, who was infamous for gambling with the rappers therein: Young Thug, Gucci Mane, whoever else might be recording. Coach K was adamant that Lil Baby had what it took to be a rapper; amidst their QC empire-building and following Baby’s release from prison, Coach K remained unwavering in his opinion. Baby, after all, had the swagger of a rapper, he did everything these other rappers claim to. He’s sweet too, disarmingly polite, and a natural entertainer. Throughout our photo shoot he’s more vocal than Gunna, making jokes and generally being the center of attention, where Gunna stands as a more resolute, commanding presence even in his silence. It seems prison was the wake-up call Baby finally needed to give rap a go. Yeah, he just “gave it a go” and a year later: he’s famous as fuck (3 million followers on Instagram and counting); he’s released over ten projects; he has a collaboration with Drake (x2, now) that Drake performs on his tour WITH A FLYING YELLOW FERRARI; he’s signed to the same label as Migos; you get the idea.

Gunna, real name Sergio Kitchens, has been giving rap a go for much longer. His story is that of determination, hard work and passion. This has been an interest of his, despite life’s obstacle course, since he was a young teen. Before he was rapping under Gunna, he was known Yung’un-- which evolved in Yung Gun, and, eventually, Gunna. Much like the evolution of his rap name, Gunna’s own career has taken time to properly form, to fall into place as perfectly as it has right now-- to just, be. One fateful day, a mutual friend and a well-respected figure in Atlanta, Keith Troup (Thug dedicated "King Troup" to him when he passed away), introduced Gunna to Thug, as the story goes, at Thug’s “With That” music video shoot. When Troup was murdered in April 2017, the two ATLiens grew closer, regardless of the music. Gunna soon became a part of Thug’s avant-garde YSL family officially, and was able to put his focus completely on the music. Gunna still had to find his own footing in the rap game, although the support of someone like Thug gave him a more accessible ear (his first big look being featured on Young Thug’s “Floyd Mayweather,” a fan-favourite), it wasn’t really until this past year’s phenomenal Drip Season 3 mixtape that Gunna truly broke out.

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Gunna and Baby were seemingly separated by one degree for most of their lives, prior to connecting via music. They were from two different sides of town. Gunna changed high schools frequently because he kept getting kicked out (he lists three of them to me before trailing off), and so while they always had mutual friends, it wasn’t until they were both hanging around the studio-- typically a studio Young Thug was at too, that they actually met, and became fast friends.

You can see how the YSL and QC counterparts reflect their respective come-up stories and successes’ in their music. Once we’ve finally sat down for the interview, Lil Baby tells me both adamantly and innocently, that he is not a rapper, and in fact, does not know how to rap. This is how much of a natural he is: Baby even speaks in an off-kilter flow. He jumps excitedly or perhaps, anxiously, from word to word, resting only for a moment, often leaving the last syllable behind as he bounces to the next part of his sentence.

Baby’s voice, in real life, is sweeter than Gunna’s. Gunna has a monotone gravel to his voice, both in song and in conversation, while Baby’s cadence syrup-y. Although the two have a distinct set of voices, they have both been compared to Young Thug, as well as, each other. If someone says that, you know they are not listening. Still, Young Thug has been a major influence in their sound and development as artists (and we could probably extend this statement for any new artist out right now), and the two do not hesitate to give him props when due. They can’t really identify any one thing in particular about Thug that influenced them though; rather, Baby simply points to his “spirit.” This seems totally acceptable-- it’s not about vocal similarities, it’s not about the flow, or the arsenal of producers; it’s about the person. The unique character and fierce passion that Thug imbues in his music are traits shared by Baby and Gunna. The same sense of loyalty to family and friends, the same sense of poverty and, then, opulence. The same streets raised all three.

Baby's music is filled with an emotional maturity and a view of the world that is solely his own, a true reflection-- whether it’s right or wrong, he’ll readily admit it either way-- of his experiences. It’s a dark, cold world, and Baby paints a picture with such stark detail it can be haunting, especially when paired with a Turbo or Quay Global beat. As Baby says, it’s the beat alone that is able to churn out such bleak honesty as that depicted on a song like “Best of Me.” This is Baby then: an honest rapper with cautionary street tales.

Gunna however, puts less of the streets into his music-- although he has lived that life-- he tends to hit more on a motivational and inspirational level. Gunna delivers gripping raps about what he’s going through, on songs like “Outta Sight Outta Mind” and “Phases.” Even if he tends to keep the details sparse, it’s the emotional connection that’s the most impactful for a listener, the feeling behind his voice and the raw truths in his words. Otherwise, he’s probably regaling us with high-end thoughts, but it’s not luxury raps of Kanye West and Jay-Z-- it’s not so out-of-this-world that it’s almost unimaginable luxury; it’s aspirational luxury-- something we can almost touch, he makes it seem tangible. Something to work towards. Often times, Gunna is rapping for himself, to himself, and thus, even these exploits in expensive-ass retail items can act as personal motivation for Gunna. A melodic note-to-self.

The combination of Gunna and Lil Baby is a powerful one. It’s a dichotomy that touches on two pillars found within hip-hop music: harrowing street tales, and the motivation to get out and get some, packaged with a sound that’s all new and shiny. This may be why they’ve become such a strong force, so quickly.

Similar to their music, which will often give you some dope ass quotable but leave you wanting more, Lil Baby and Gunna answer questions sparingly, not often elaborating. When they do answer, it’s not always clearly-worded or concise -- but the idea is intelligent, should you choose to unpack it. It’s this kind of worldly awareness and smarts that not only sets them apart from their growing list of colleagues, internet-focused millennial rappers, but equally encourages their immediate connection with rap fans. They sum up this idea as much when describing what type of students they were in school. “I had a lot of common sense, like more than the majority of my classmates,” Gunna says, with Baby echoing: “Yeah I just didn't really go to school, but when I went, I did my work.”

Thus, despite being “new generation” rappers-- there’s no way around it-- Baby and Gunna are never discussed in the same breath.When someone says all “those Lil rappers,” they are not likely referring to Lil Baby. Someone discussing all “those Soundcloud rappers” is again, not referring to Gunna.

Lil Baby: ‘Cause we different. We got that CDs on your car window music. That CDs on your car window music, versus, like, now you know, it’s forced-- [with] the internet-- but if it was still [like back in the day], we’d be more on the side, where we’d be in the streets promoting, versus like Soundcloud rappers are like...straight internet, they probably never did that. I really did that.

HNHH: Your music is more mature, it’s more grown.

Lil Baby: It’s rapping from a different perspective. We rapping from a different perspective. ‘Cause I get high too. But I’m not really rapping about [that]. They standing on getting high.

HNHH: Yeah, and you guys don’t glorify certain things, you just tell it-- you’re not glorifying drug use or glorifying guns or whatever it is-- it’s so honest.

Gunna: ‘Cause it real. We gon’ tell you how it go, we gon’ live by the gun and die by it. We ain’t gunna tell you just how we think we living by the gun. That’s cap. There’s cap rappers and there’s real rappers. It’s just a difference.

Lil Baby: There’s a lot of cap rappers. The majority of rappers is cap. They just rap. That’s why I keep saying, like, I’m not a rapper. I make music though.

HNHH: Yeah. There’s more feeling behind it.

Gunna: On God.

Despite their natural friendship, vocal similarities, and their ear for charged up and catchy production, it wasn’t a strategic or thoughtful decision for the two to make a joint album. As they say, this was all a creation of the fans. We have that power. Basically, “Sold Out Dates” sprung a leak. It wasn’t slated to drop, but it did, and the two went along with it. This collaboration was not their first, it followed records on both of their recent respective opuses: Drip Season 3 collaboration “Oh Okay” and Harder Than Ever’s “Throwing Shade” and "Life Goes On" in particular.

Combined with the strength of early collaborations, like the predictive “Our Year” off Perfect Timing, it was just enough ammunition for fans to begin fantasizing and then, of course, demanding (thank you to the powers of social media) for the two to collaborate on a full-length effort. Lil Baby and Gunna are unclear as to the exact timeline, how it all came together-- some of the songs on Drip Harder actually date back to Baby’s Perfect Timing era-- but they pinpoint the leak of “Sold Out Dates” as the turning point for the idea.

Once Gunna has changed and is definitely dripping, both artists are finally ready to get our photo shoot underway, each bringing their own weed in hand, and their own Backwoods. The one thing about Gunna is that you can actually smell when he is coming-- the entire day, if Gunna walked by, so to did the odour of his loud. Gunna actually rolls up a Backwoods as we’re shooting, and we’re not mad at the accessorizing. All the while, these two are clearly in their own world-- I liken them to two kids at the back of class in high school, having a private and inside-joke-filled conversation. We can’t overhear them either, but we can clearly see these guys are friends. And so, in order to get their attention-- Baby look this way, Gunna move that way-- we need to snap them out of their conversation, the same way a teacher might interrupt the students in the back of the class for chatting.

This closeness, which I've just witnessed, as well as their frequent pairing on song, has resulted in several online discussions comparing them, and their output, to that of Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug.

It’s a fair comparison, or perhaps, the only comparison that makes sense. Baby and Gunna understand that, but they don’t agree with it. Part of the reason why they disagree is because of their genuine, brotherly bond. At first, when I ask them about the role Thug played in their music, in their coupling, they respond too quickly-- that is just how much gravitas they give to Thug. After promptly replying with “no,” they would not have connected without Thugger, Baby takes a moment to really think about the question, and back tracks.

HNHH: Do you guys think that you would’ve connected how you did if it wasn't for Young Thug?

Lil Baby: No.

Gunna: No, he played a major part for sure.

HNHH: Do you guys talk to him about all your success?

Gunna: All the time.

Lil Baby: Nah, I take that back. You mean like, if Gunna was the same type of n*gga?

HNHH: Yeah, would it have happened without Thug?

Lil Baby: Yeah like, if I was a whole rapper, and he was a whole rapper...

HNHH: And Thug wasn’t there to put the two teams together--

Lil Baby: Yeah, Thug didn’t put us together. Thug is both of our mutual big brother-- but you gotta be your own relationship. ‘Cause it’s a lot of people who Thug partner in, [and] I’m his partner, but me and him ain’t cool. So let’s say if both of us was just hot, and we linked up and got in the studio and made a song together, I could see us linking up, like still swapping numbers. ‘Cause there’s a few people in the rap game who be cool, who I kick it with like bros, like Lil Durk. So I could see us still being cool.

HNHH: Have you guys seen people on the internet calling you guys the new Thug and Quan? Like they’re waiting for this project like it’s gunna be a new Rich Gang.

Lil Baby: I think it's gonna be more...better, different. ‘Cause Thug and Quan, they’re relationship wasn’t really like me and Gunna.

HNHH: I mean they don’t seem like they’re close anymore...

Lil Baby: Even when they was close, it wasn’t the same vibe.

Gunna: It was like they got put together, more than just--

Lil Baby: Yeah they got put together from Birdman, like if it wasn’t no Birdman there wouldn’t have been no Thug and Quan running together. And if they would have met each other down the line and did a feature, they wouldn’t have never just been linked up to the point where they did a tape.

HNHH: I just thought it’s interesting people are saying that, but it’s a good thing, the way that they’re saying it.

Lil Baby: It’s a great thing, but the only reason they’re really saying that is our lane, our city, our little time era, on some duo type shit. Ain’t too many people came out with no duos, two different rappers.

HNHH: Have you guys thought about another joint project down the line? Is this something that will continue? Gunna and Baby?

Gunna: We gon see what it do.

Lil Baby: We don’t even think that far to be honest. That what make it artificial.

Staying as far away from “artificial” as possible is also what makes Gunna and Baby so special. They’re closeness is felt in their music, just as much as I feel it right now when we’re sitting together in Gunna’s trailer. The each have a separate trailer for their music video shoot, it’s worth noting, but the majority of the time you can find Baby in Gunna’s trailer-- this is not an everyday occurrence-- mostly, rappers will keep to themselves, separate, until the music video director actually needs them to come together. These two would have been happy to share a trailer, even preferred it. They say as much themselves. They’re really friends, they really enjoy kicking it whenever they can, which doesn't happen very often, so when they do finally get to chill, they value that time to just “catch up.” When I ask what they do if they’re not making music together, it’s basically just that. Finding out what either person has been up to, the same as you would with any long-distance friend you haven’t been able to see in a minute. I ask if they really did go on a double date with twins out in New York, and they simply laugh, both with a sly grin, they echo each other in saying, “Don't believe everything.” Baby adds, “It’s a lot of twins in New York.” Gunna, without missing a step, provides the ad-lib: “On God.”

 
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Gunna is changing. I should have known. He is, after all, perpetually dripping. We’re way up in the hills. I’m told it’s Malibu, but my Instagram location tells me otherwise: Agoura, California. Wherever we are, the scenery is amazing. It’s around an hour-long drive from the city of Los Angeles. There are two addresses for the music video shoot today. The first is a ranch, doubling as our parking lot. Brown, white, and speckled grey horses fill outdoor stables, and various ranch accoutrement (I don’t know the names of ranch accessories, but, you know, probably a tractor or something) decorate the gravel road and haphazardly-grown lawn.

At first, I’m excited that maybe Lil Baby and Gunna will have horses in their music video??? Yeah, I am a 10-year old girl at heart, so the idea of horses (read: ponies) is quite exciting. I soon realize though, this will not be my 10-year-old self’s birthday wish come true. After we park in an empty dust-filled lot, we hop in a shuttle bus. Our driver retreats from the ranch and heads back up the hill to the neighboring property. The wayward driveway conceals us completely from the road. As we exit the shuttle bus, I’m immediately adjusting my vision of this music video (no horses); instead I see an expansive, secluded and sleek property, and girls in nude and white-coloured bodysuits flitting around it.

The low-leveled mansion is set far back on its island-like real estate. The landscape leading towards the house probably costs more than I make in a year, so I’m not even trying to guess the cost of this house (also, I’m really bad at that game-- although someone else does guess, “15 million?”). There is the forever-green astro turf curving a path around the yard, lined with well-manicured desert plants and stones.

The interior of the home leaves more to the imagination. It’s been carefully covered with cardboard, each surface protected from any would-be harasser, whether that be of the food, smoke, drink or people variety (although, the latter three things are not even allowed in the home, as signs outside indicate). In one of the many garages, a craft service station offers an array of snacks fit for a munchies connoisseur (and since I am one, you know I remember the snacks all too well: Welch’s fruit gummies, mini Oreos, granola bars, popcorn, roasted organic seaweed, grapes and apples for the healthy, chocolate M&Ms, gummy bears, chips, trail mix...DM me for the full list).

This is where I’ll be for the next ten hours. Gunna and Lil Baby have convened in L.A. for the “Drip Too Hard” music video shoot, as they prepare to release their highly anticipated joint album, Drip Harder. “Drip Too Hard,” is exactly what we wanted, and expected, from a Gunna x Baby collab. Even before Lil Baby starts his verse, we know this to be true. That’s because of the tag: “run it back Turbo.” Turbo has been behind some of the most magical creations between the two (“Oh Okay” and “Sold Out Dates”), as well as working with both artists individually. The producer, who sits in the corner quietly throughout our interview later in the evening, is becoming somewhat of a not-so-secret weapon for the adjoining YSL and QC camps. “Drip Too Hard” is identified by a hypnotic guitar sample, surrounded by percussive elements-- it’s different but, still, not so-unlike the song that made us collectively fall in love with the idea of a Baby and Gunna collab album, “Sold Out Dates.” Turbo's penchant for guitar-laced, trap-driven beats recurs on the full-length, with songs like "Business is Business" and "Belly" adding to the catalogue -- clearly defining his production style, and defining our expectations from either artists in the process. Drip Harder is a deep sea of melodic soundscapes, the duo adeptly riding each wave.

Lil Baby’s tale is that of victory, overnight success, but mostly, it’s a story of hope. After a two-year jail stint, Baby, real name, Dominique Jones, finally caved in to the persistence of Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre "Pee" Thomas, respectively. Together, they are the co-founders of Quality Control Records and Solid Foundation Management, playing host to artists like Migos, Lil Yachty, and of course, Lil Baby. Coach K and Pee knew Lil Baby before Quality Control existed, similarly, Baby knew Young Thug before he was Young Thug-- they went to the same high school in Atlanta, Thug was two grades above Baby. They weren’t close friends at that time, but they ran in similar circles.

Coach K and Pee swiftly built up their QC empire, with Migos leading the charge. Their studio sessions were often a hang out spot for Baby, who was infamous for gambling with the rappers therein: Young Thug, Gucci Mane, whoever else might be recording. Coach K was adamant that Lil Baby had what it took to be a rapper; amidst their QC empire-building and following Baby’s release from prison, Coach K remained unwavering in his opinion. Baby, after all, had the swagger of a rapper, he did everything these other rappers claim to. He’s sweet too, disarmingly polite, and a natural entertainer. Throughout our photo shoot he’s more vocal than Gunna, making jokes and generally being the center of attention, where Gunna stands as a more resolute, commanding presence even in his silence. It seems prison was the wake-up call Baby finally needed to give rap a go. Yeah, he just “gave it a go” and a year later: he’s famous as fuck (3 million followers on Instagram and counting); he’s released over ten projects; he has a collaboration with Drake (x2, now) that Drake performs on his tour WITH A FLYING YELLOW FERRARI; he’s signed to the same label as Migos; you get the idea.

Gunna, real name Sergio Kitchens, has been giving rap a go for much longer. His story is that of determination, hard work and passion. This has been an interest of his, despite life’s obstacle course, since he was a young teen. Before he was rapping under Gunna, he was known Yung’un-- which evolved in Yung Gun, and, eventually, Gunna. Much like the evolution of his rap name, Gunna’s own career has taken time to properly form, to fall into place as perfectly as it has right now-- to just, be. One fateful day, a mutual friend and a well-respected figure in Atlanta, Keith Troup (Thug dedicated "King Troup" to him when he passed away), introduced Gunna to Thug, as the story goes, at Thug’s “With That” music video shoot. When Troup was murdered in April 2017, the two ATLiens grew closer, regardless of the music. Gunna soon became a part of Thug’s avant-garde YSL family officially, and was able to put his focus completely on the music. Gunna still had to find his own footing in the rap game, although the support of someone like Thug gave him a more accessible ear (his first big look being featured on Young Thug’s “Floyd Mayweather,” a fan-favourite), it wasn’t really until this past year’s phenomenal Drip Season 3 mixtape that Gunna truly broke out.

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Gunna and Baby were seemingly separated by one degree for most of their lives, prior to connecting via music. They were from two different sides of town. Gunna changed high schools frequently because he kept getting kicked out (he lists three of them to me before trailing off), and so while they always had mutual friends, it wasn’t until they were both hanging around the studio-- typically a studio Young Thug was at too, that they actually met, and became fast friends.

You can see how the YSL and QC counterparts reflect their respective come-up stories and successes’ in their music. Once we’ve finally sat down for the interview, Lil Baby tells me both adamantly and innocently, that he is not a rapper, and in fact, does not know how to rap. This is how much of a natural he is: Baby even speaks in an off-kilter flow. He jumps excitedly or perhaps, anxiously, from word to word, resting only for a moment, often leaving the last syllable behind as he bounces to the next part of his sentence.

Baby’s voice, in real life, is sweeter than Gunna’s. Gunna has a monotone gravel to his voice, both in song and in conversation, while Baby’s cadence syrup-y. Although the two have a distinct set of voices, they have both been compared to Young Thug, as well as, each other. If someone says that, you know they are not listening. Still, Young Thug has been a major influence in their sound and development as artists (and we could probably extend this statement for any new artist out right now), and the two do not hesitate to give him props when due. They can’t really identify any one thing in particular about Thug that influenced them though; rather, Baby simply points to his “spirit.” This seems totally acceptable-- it’s not about vocal similarities, it’s not about the flow, or the arsenal of producers; it’s about the person. The unique character and fierce passion that Thug imbues in his music are traits shared by Baby and Gunna. The same sense of loyalty to family and friends, the same sense of poverty and, then, opulence. The same streets raised all three.

Baby's music is filled with an emotional maturity and a view of the world that is solely his own, a true reflection-- whether it’s right or wrong, he’ll readily admit it either way-- of his experiences. It’s a dark, cold world, and Baby paints a picture with such stark detail it can be haunting, especially when paired with a Turbo or Quay Global beat. As Baby says, it’s the beat alone that is able to churn out such bleak honesty as that depicted on a song like “Best of Me.” This is Baby then: an honest rapper with cautionary street tales.

Gunna however, puts less of the streets into his music-- although he has lived that life-- he tends to hit more on a motivational and inspirational level. Gunna delivers gripping raps about what he’s going through, on songs like “Outta Sight Outta Mind” and “Phases.” Even if he tends to keep the details sparse, it’s the emotional connection that’s the most impactful for a listener, the feeling behind his voice and the raw truths in his words. Otherwise, he’s probably regaling us with high-end thoughts, but it’s not luxury raps of Kanye West and Jay-Z-- it’s not so out-of-this-world that it’s almost unimaginable luxury; it’s aspirational luxury-- something we can almost touch, he makes it seem tangible. Something to work towards. Often times, Gunna is rapping for himself, to himself, and thus, even these exploits in expensive-ass retail items can act as personal motivation for Gunna. A melodic note-to-self.

The combination of Gunna and Lil Baby is a powerful one. It’s a dichotomy that touches on two pillars found within hip-hop music: harrowing street tales, and the motivation to get out and get some, packaged with a sound that’s all new and shiny. This may be why they’ve become such a strong force, so quickly.

Similar to their music, which will often give you some dope ass quotable but leave you wanting more, Lil Baby and Gunna answer questions sparingly, not often elaborating. When they do answer, it’s not always clearly-worded or concise -- but the idea is intelligent, should you choose to unpack it. It’s this kind of worldly awareness and smarts that not only sets them apart from their growing list of colleagues, internet-focused millennial rappers, but equally encourages their immediate connection with rap fans. They sum up this idea as much when describing what type of students they were in school. “I had a lot of common sense, like more than the majority of my classmates,” Gunna says, with Baby echoing: “Yeah I just didn't really go to school, but when I went, I did my work.”

Thus, despite being “new generation” rappers-- there’s no way around it-- Baby and Gunna are never discussed in the same breath.When someone says all “those Lil rappers,” they are not likely referring to Lil Baby. Someone discussing all “those Soundcloud rappers” is again, not referring to Gunna.

Lil Baby: ‘Cause we different. We got that CDs on your car window music. That CDs on your car window music, versus, like, now you know, it’s forced-- [with] the internet-- but if it was still [like back in the day], we’d be more on the side, where we’d be in the streets promoting, versus like Soundcloud rappers are like...straight internet, they probably never did that. I really did that.

HNHH: Your music is more mature, it’s more grown.

Lil Baby: It’s rapping from a different perspective. We rapping from a different perspective. ‘Cause I get high too. But I’m not really rapping about [that]. They standing on getting high.

HNHH: Yeah, and you guys don’t glorify certain things, you just tell it-- you’re not glorifying drug use or glorifying guns or whatever it is-- it’s so honest.

Gunna: ‘Cause it real. We gon’ tell you how it go, we gon’ live by the gun and die by it. We ain’t gunna tell you just how we think we living by the gun. That’s cap. There’s cap rappers and there’s real rappers. It’s just a difference.

Lil Baby: There’s a lot of cap rappers. The majority of rappers is cap. They just rap. That’s why I keep saying, like, I’m not a rapper. I make music though.

HNHH: Yeah. There’s more feeling behind it.

Gunna: On God.

Despite their natural friendship, vocal similarities, and their ear for charged up and catchy production, it wasn’t a strategic or thoughtful decision for the two to make a joint album. As they say, this was all a creation of the fans. We have that power. Basically, “Sold Out Dates” sprung a leak. It wasn’t slated to drop, but it did, and the two went along with it. This collaboration was not their first, it followed records on both of their recent respective opuses: Drip Season 3 collaboration “Oh Okay” and Harder Than Ever’s “Throwing Shade” and "Life Goes On" in particular.

Combined with the strength of early collaborations, like the predictive “Our Year” off Perfect Timing, it was just enough ammunition for fans to begin fantasizing and then, of course, demanding (thank you to the powers of social media) for the two to collaborate on a full-length effort. Lil Baby and Gunna are unclear as to the exact timeline, how it all came together-- some of the songs on Drip Harder actually date back to Baby’s Perfect Timing era-- but they pinpoint the leak of “Sold Out Dates” as the turning point for the idea.

Once Gunna has changed and is definitely dripping, both artists are finally ready to get our photo shoot underway, each bringing their own weed in hand, and their own Backwoods. The one thing about Gunna is that you can actually smell when he is coming-- the entire day, if Gunna walked by, so to did the odour of his loud. Gunna actually rolls up a Backwoods as we’re shooting, and we’re not mad at the accessorizing. All the while, these two are clearly in their own world-- I liken them to two kids at the back of class in high school, having a private and inside-joke-filled conversation. We can’t overhear them either, but we can clearly see these guys are friends. And so, in order to get their attention-- Baby look this way, Gunna move that way-- we need to snap them out of their conversation, the same way a teacher might interrupt the students in the back of the class for chatting.

This closeness, which I've just witnessed, as well as their frequent pairing on song, has resulted in several online discussions comparing them, and their output, to that of Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug.

It’s a fair comparison, or perhaps, the only comparison that makes sense. Baby and Gunna understand that, but they don’t agree with it. Part of the reason why they disagree is because of their genuine, brotherly bond. At first, when I ask them about the role Thug played in their music, in their coupling, they respond too quickly-- that is just how much gravitas they give to Thug. After promptly replying with “no,” they would not have connected without Thugger, Baby takes a moment to really think about the question, and back tracks.

HNHH: Do you guys think that you would’ve connected how you did if it wasn't for Young Thug?

Lil Baby: No.

Gunna: No, he played a major part for sure.

HNHH: Do you guys talk to him about all your success?

Gunna: All the time.

Lil Baby: Nah, I take that back. You mean like, if Gunna was the same type of n*gga?

HNHH: Yeah, would it have happened without Thug?

Lil Baby: Yeah like, if I was a whole rapper, and he was a whole rapper...

HNHH: And Thug wasn’t there to put the two teams together--

Lil Baby: Yeah, Thug didn’t put us together. Thug is both of our mutual big brother-- but you gotta be your own relationship. ‘Cause it’s a lot of people who Thug partner in, [and] I’m his partner, but me and him ain’t cool. So let’s say if both of us was just hot, and we linked up and got in the studio and made a song together, I could see us linking up, like still swapping numbers. ‘Cause there’s a few people in the rap game who be cool, who I kick it with like bros, like Lil Durk. So I could see us still being cool.

HNHH: Have you guys seen people on the internet calling you guys the new Thug and Quan? Like they’re waiting for this project like it’s gunna be a new Rich Gang.

Lil Baby: I think it's gonna be more...better, different. ‘Cause Thug and Quan, they’re relationship wasn’t really like me and Gunna.

HNHH: I mean they don’t seem like they’re close anymore...

Lil Baby: Even when they was close, it wasn’t the same vibe.

Gunna: It was like they got put together, more than just--

Lil Baby: Yeah they got put together from Birdman, like if it wasn’t no Birdman there wouldn’t have been no Thug and Quan running together. And if they would have met each other down the line and did a feature, they wouldn’t have never just been linked up to the point where they did a tape.

HNHH: I just thought it’s interesting people are saying that, but it’s a good thing, the way that they’re saying it.

Lil Baby: It’s a great thing, but the only reason they’re really saying that is our lane, our city, our little time era, on some duo type shit. Ain’t too many people came out with no duos, two different rappers.

HNHH: Have you guys thought about another joint project down the line? Is this something that will continue? Gunna and Baby?

Gunna: We gon see what it do.

Lil Baby: We don’t even think that far to be honest. That what make it artificial.

Staying as far away from “artificial” as possible is also what makes Gunna and Baby so special. They’re closeness is felt in their music, just as much as I feel it right now when we’re sitting together in Gunna’s trailer. The each have a separate trailer for their music video shoot, it’s worth noting, but the majority of the time you can find Baby in Gunna’s trailer-- this is not an everyday occurrence-- mostly, rappers will keep to themselves, separate, until the music video director actually needs them to come together. These two would have been happy to share a trailer, even preferred it. They say as much themselves. They’re really friends, they really enjoy kicking it whenever they can, which doesn't happen very often, so when they do finally get to chill, they value that time to just “catch up.” When I ask what they do if they’re not making music together, it’s basically just that. Finding out what either person has been up to, the same as you would with any long-distance friend you haven’t been able to see in a minute. I ask if they really did go on a double date with twins out in New York, and they simply laugh, both with a sly grin, they echo each other in saying, “Don't believe everything.” Baby adds, “It’s a lot of twins in New York.” Gunna, without missing a step, provides the ad-lib: “On God.”

 
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Rose Lilah
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Rose Lilah
Oct 5, 2018

album is crazy!! what do you guys think??

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Yung DripGod | Slatt

Two young GOATs best in the industry

Made_to_Post
Made_to_Post
Oct 28, 2018

This was a good interview, I just saw it now but I liked it. It does have a few good tracks with Drip Too Hard, Off White VLONE, Business is Business. Not bad

Black Sheep
Black Sheep
Oct 8, 2018

Idk about crazy, but it's got some replay value on a few songs and some that'll be good for workouts and pre-games.

Rose Lilah
ADMIN
Rose Lilah
Oct 5, 2018

album is crazy!! what do you guys think??

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