Yung Baby Tate commandeers the spotlight on this week's edition of "Rise & Grind," in which she reveals the creation process behind her viral hit "I Am," touching on her partnership with Issa Rae's Raedio, and stresses the importance of positive affirmations.
Rise & Grind is a new editorial series, meant to introduce and dissect new, buzzing, or underground artists.
From first showing up at the Grammys while in her mother’s womb, to participating in Dreamville’s legendary Revenge of the Dreamers III sessions in Atlanta in 2019, Yung Baby Tate’s essence is practically rooted in music. Yet having experienced enough iconic music industry experiences for a lifetime, Yung Baby Tate is nowhere near finished. Following the release of last December’s After The Rain, Tate is more focused than ever.
Image by Sarah Pardini
Recently, Yung Baby Tate’s After The Rain standout “I Am” became a viral sensation thanks to TikTok’s unyielding support of the positive, self-affirming track. The song features rising artist Flo Milli, and it has already garnered upwards of 1.8 million streams from YouTube alone, which has in turn, shone an even larger spotlight on Tate’s dynamic artistry.
The runaway success of “I Am” marks the latest entry in the artist’s storied musical journey, and ahead of the release of a highly-anticipated music video and deluxe follow-up to After The Rain, Yung Baby Tate linked up with HNHH for the latest edition of Rise & Grind. To learn more about the talented multihyphenate, check out her interview below.
Stay tuned for a new installment of Rise & Grind every Monday.
Image by Munachi Osegbu
I grew up in Decatur, but when I first started putting music out, I was really kind of just in the city of Atlanta. Downtown, that's where I first started doing shows, and around Edgewood is where I really kind of came up as an artist.
I know Childish Gambino went to my high school. I think 21 Savage is from the Eastside. JID is from East Atlanta. That's not necessarily Decatur, but yeah... it was like growing up in Atlanta. A lot of culture, you know, the hip hop, the music scene, a lot of it came from Atlanta and from like the Eastside specifically, but Atlanta in general. So it was really like being in the coolest place in the world because everyone was super influenced.
I'm a Taurus sun, Aries moon, Capricorn rising, but that's like my tropical sign. So it gets way deeper. Taurus, I can be stubborn. Aries, I can be aggressive sometimes, and Capricorn, I'm a hard worker.
Top 5 DOA:
I think being nominated for a Grammy was pretty cool. I just got hella streams for “I Am.” This is the most streams I've ever gotten on a solo song of mine. So many, so many. I don't like to choose one ’cause I'm honestly just grateful for it all.
Studio Habits & Essentials:
My weirdest studio habits. I don't think I really have weird studio habits. I don't have to have something specifically in there. I have to have a specific engineer, but I don't think that's weird. Shout out to Scotty.
Actually a very funny [studio] story, I mean, it wasn't me, but at the Revenge Of The Dreamers sessions, Cozz was so drunk that he was recording, but he wasn't, or he thought he was recording, but he wasn't facing the microphone. And everybody in the room was like, “bro, the microphone is over here. Like, what are you doing?” The engineer's like, “bro, what's going on?” He was so drunk, and he did his whole verse and wasn't facing the microphone the entire time.
"I Am" with Flo Milli:
So I was just, you know, in a place where I wanted to... I'm a very spiritual person, and I'm on a spiritual journey as I think we all are. But, I started to listen to affirmations, and a lot of the ones I was listening to were super humdrum and boring, and I wanted to create something for myself that I felt I could really relate to. And so I wrote these affirmations down kind of in like this poem rap type way. And, I ended up going into the studio and creating a song, and, uh, we thought Flo Milli would be really dope on it. So reached out and, yeah, that's kind of how it came about.
We actually first recorded it on a house beat, and it just wasn't it. So we ended up just switching the beat out that same night, and yeah, it just kind of fit a bit better.
I've just been extremely grateful, honestly, to be a part of a movement where people are really choosing to love themselves and choosing to speak to themselves positively, affirm their own lives, create their own reality.
The first song I released, I can't fully remember. I know it was on SoundCloud. I do not remember what it was called, but I know it was on SoundCloud. The first time I was in the studio, I was a baby. I was with my mom.
Yeah, well I've been performing for a long time, but my first performance as Yung Baby Tate or as my own artist was I think in 2015 or late ‘14. It was at this festival type thing. I don't remember what it was called, but it was thrown by some of my college friends. And, yeah, that was my first show as like at the time my artist name was just Tate. But yeah, I remember that very distinctly. I even have some fans that have recently said, “it's been such a pleasure to watch,” ’cause they remembered me at that show.
I think I like to do pretty normal stuff like everybody else. I like to watch Netflix right now. I am diving into Marvel and the Marvel timelines ‘cause I've started watching "WandaVision," and I'm like, “Wait, I don't know what's going on.” So, I started looking into the Marvel timeline. I like to play the Sims. During the quarantine, I was really big on building houses on the Sims, which is so much fun. I played little video games. I play GTA. I like to paint as well, and play with my cat Toffee. And that's about it.
Next, we have the “I Am” video coming out, which I’m really, really excited about. The treatment, I'm absolutely in love with. And I think that once we get it shot, everyone's gonna love it as well. I think fans can expect some truth and something that they can relate to, but something that feels really good, you know. It's gonna reflect the song very well.
Also "After The Rain" Deluxe is coming soon. We just finished up the last song really yesterday. So I'm super excited about that. Yeah, there’s going to be more than a few new songs. Some really, really dope stuff going here. Like I said, when I drop, "After The Rain" I will be singing a bit more and this was kind of like the calm before the storm, even though this is "After The Rain."
But there's definitely way more singing on this deluxe part, and, you know, just kind of introducing what is to come afterward. So I'm super excited about it. And I think that everyone's gonna love it.
Image by Munachi Osegbu
HNHH: Your 2019 project Girls was entirely self-produced, so what inspired your decision to connect with other producers for After The Rain?
Yung Baby Tate: I just kinda wanted to step out of my comfort zone. This whole project is very different for me, even down to writing, you know. I can write 100% of my music, but for this, like I said, after the Dreamville sessions and everything else, I kinda realized that I work really well collaboratively. And I wanted to explore that for my own music and not just for other people's soundtracks or other people's albums. So, you know, it also just took a bit of the pressure off of me because producing a song takes a lot of work. Producing, writing, and recording, arranging all of those things take so much work, and I love to do it, but it's also really fun to just be able to be the writer and be able to be the artist and flourish in those areas.
How did you link up with Issa Rae and become affiliated with her Raedio label?
It actually came about through the Insecure writing camp, I was invited out back in December of 2019. I went out there. I wrote for the soundtrack and, I think the whole Raedio team was just very in awe of my work ethic and the things that I can do in my talent and really wanted to work with me. And so we made it work, you know, and I'm very grateful to be in a partnership with Raedio.
I respect Issa so much as a businesswoman, as an actress, and I was just really grateful to be able to partner up with someone who I felt understood my visions. And, yeah, so that's how it all came about.
What made you seek a partnership with Raedio rather than a full-on record deal?
My ownership of my masters is extremely important to me, and Raedio was super down for that. They just wanted to be a part of what my journey is, but you know, I've had plenty of offers from other labels and my deal-breaker is ownership of my masters. So the partnership kind of came about just because Raedio is underneath Atlantic. It's like, “Well, we can't do it that way. Let's try to be creative with this.” And I'm really, really grateful that we were able to work something out creatively.
You're a part of the inaugural class of YouTube Black Voices, so how did that come about?
YouTube has actually been a really big supporter of me for a while. I remember back in 2019 going out to their offices in LA and just getting familiar with their people. With the whole YouTube thing, I think they just really wanted to continue to support me in an even bigger way. They let us know what was going on. I think we did the application and they were like, "all right, bet. We got you."
I'm just really honored. They gave me my first billboard. So with this, I'm just extremely grateful to be one of the first to be a part of it because a lot of times Black art is not as respected and revered as it should be. And so I'm grateful to be a part of the first class of people that YouTube is going to be giving a real big push to and making sure that we're seeing how we're supposed to be.
I think I also get free YouTube Music, so that's cool.
You've already worked with most of the female rappers who are buzzing right, so who is still on your checklist of women that you'd like to work with?
Nicki [Minaj]. Doja [Cat]. I think that will be really dope. Doja and I are very similar in the way that we approach music, and I think that would be super dope. I love to work with her. I think Tay Money will be dope as well, but, you know, moving forward, I'm looking forward to collaborating with more singers in the future.
Lastly, what are your final thoughts on positive affirmations?
They are really truly life-changing. You know, speaking to yourself positively, you can literally change your life. And I think that a lot of times people don't realize that, and, a lot of times we speak to ourselves negatively. We think negatively, and when you start to do that, it really does affect your physical output and your mental being. And so if I can be the catalyst or just the person to tell somebody like, "Hey, just talk to yourself a little bit nicer," and that might change your whole entire life just by changing your mindset. So it's extremely important to affirm yourself and just be nice to yourself. People always say, "Do unto others as you would unto yourself," but a lot of times people don't do themselves right. So it's like, do yourself right first.