Billboard/Meredith Jenks DaBaby

DaBaby Opens Up About Self-Made Success, Going Pop, & His Father’s Death

DaBaby is on top of the charts and the cover of Billboard.

Fresh off the No. 1 debut of his album KIRK, the 27-year-old Charlotte MC graces the latest issue of the magazine where he opens up about the highs and lows of his personal life and career, including his father’s death, legal battles, and building his brand from the ground up.

His past has also made headlines. In 2018, he shot and killed a man at a Walmart in Huntersville, N.C., claiming that he acted in self-defense. But he’s not losing sleep over it. “From my end, it was unavoidable. It wasn’t my action, it was my reaction,” says DaBaby. “At the end of the day, my family was right there. My daughter. So, hell no. I don’t lose no sleep.”

In addition to collaborating with the likes of Lizzo, Post Malone, and Lil Nas X (he reportedly earns six figures per feature), DaBaby has launched his own independent imprint, Billion Dollar Baby, to which he has signed Stunna 4 Vegas, Rich Dunk, and 704Chop.

And the future continues to look bright. “I’d bet the house on me every time,” says DaBaby. “I do it every motherfucking day—and I ain’t been wrong yet.”

Read highlights from the interview below.

On his father’s passing: “When it happened, I didn’t really have time to grieve. I was getting on the bus to start the tour, and the very next day I found out [he had passed]. So I went straight from seeing him at the damn mortuary to the show — not knowing what the fuck happened, because it wasn’t like he was sick that I knew of.”

On lessons from his past: “Not taking shit personal. Business is business. Do my own thang. Knowing how to deal with people. And just knowing how to move, you get what I’m saying? In the streets, you gotta know how to watch out for the police. But rap is really more dangerous than the streets, for sure.”

On being compared to LeBron James: “It’s just the way I’m set up. Being that once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime, once-in-an-era type of star. Like I got the creativity of a Kanye [West], the consistency of a Lil Wayne, the versatility of a Drake to make male and female songs. I’m still about whatever, like a [Lil] Boosie or a Gucci [Mane]. I’m God’s work, bro.”

On going pop: “I feel like with me, I can’t ever just go pop. I’m still going to be me. So you can call it pop, but I would change pop. You got pop stars, right? And then you have motherfuckers like Rick James.”

On his self-marketing strategies: “They see how comfortable I am in my skin. It just makes sense. I’ve had myself figured out for the longest [time] — it was getting y’all to figure me out, that was the task.”

On making sure legal issues don’t interfere with his career: “I turn piss into lemonade and put it in a cup with some ice and make a motherfucker drink it.”