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DaBaby

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DaBaby
Kirk performing in 2019
Kirk performing in 2019
Background information
Birth nameJonathan Lyndale Kirk
Also known asBaby Jesus
Born (1991-12-22) December 22, 1991 (age 29)[a]
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.[3]
OriginCharlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2015–present
Labels
Associated acts
Children2
Websiteofficialdababy.com

Jonathan Lyndale Kirk (born December 22, 1991),[a] known professionally as DaBaby (formerly known as Baby Jesus), is an American rapper.[5][6][7] After releasing several mixtapes between 2014 and 2018,[8] DaBaby rose to mainstream prominence in 2019.[9]

His debut studio album Baby on Baby (2019) peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200,[10] while his second studio album, Kirk (2019), debuted at number one.[11][12][13] The former album featured the Billboard Hot 100 hit single "Suge", while the latter featured "Intro", and "Bop".[14] His third studio album, Blame It on Baby (2020), became his second consecutive number-one album in the US. The album included his highest-charting song, "Rockstar" (featuring Roddy Ricch), which spent seven non-consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.[15][16]

Early life

Jonathan Lyndale Kirk was born on December 22, 1991,[a] in Cleveland, Ohio. He moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1999, where he spent most of his early years. He attended Vance High School where he graduated in 2010. He attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for two years,[17] but did not complete his studies, saying he only went to school for his parents' sake.[8] He grew up listening to Eminem, 50 Cent and Lil Wayne with his two older brothers.[18]

Career

2014–2018: Early mixtapes

Kirk began taking music seriously between 2014 and 2015.[8] In 2015, he started off his music career by releasing Nonfiction, his debut mixtape. He later followed this up with his God's Work mixtape series, Baby Talk mixtape series, Billion Dollar Baby, and Back on My Baby Jesus Sh*t. He initially performed under the name Baby Jesus, which he eventually changed out of concern that it had become a distraction.[19]

Kirk got his big break after signing to Arnold Taylor, the president of the South Coast Music Group label, a big radio promoter. Taylor saw Kirk perform around North Carolina clubs at the time he [Taylor] was launching his label. Taylor had been responsible in the early rise of Southern rap stars including Yo Gotti and Future.[8] Once they started working together, the team kept building buzz around the South with mixtapes and club shows, while Kirk was finding his sound. Through his deal with South Coast, Kirk signed a short-lived distribution deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation for his Blank Blank mixtape that would prove to be his breakout in late 2018.[19] Thanks to the guidance of Taylor, and following major label bidding wars, Kirk landed a seven-figure recording deal with Interscope.[8]

2019: Baby on Baby and Kirk

Kirk during an interview in 2018

In January 2019, upon being signed to Interscope, Kirk launched his own imprint label called Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment.[20] On March 1, 2019, Kirk's debut studio album Baby on Baby, was released via Interscope Records. He is also signed to South Coast Music Group and has a joint contract with both labels. The thirteen-track project features guest appearances from Offset, Rich Homie Quan, Rich the Kid and Stunna 4 Vegas. Baby on Baby debuted at number 25 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the US. The song "Suge" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 87 on the chart dated April 13, 2019, and later reached the top 10, on the chart dated June 8, 2019.[21] Kirk was featured on the cover of XXL's Freshman Class of 2019.[22]

Kirk featured on various hit songs throughout mid-2019, including Megan Thee Stallion's "Cash Shit" and Quality Control's "Baby", both of which reached the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. On July 5, 2019, Kirk was featured on Dreamville's compilation album Revenge of the Dreamers III, on the opening track, "Under the Sun". He received acclaim for his guest feature, with various publications ranking it as his best verse of 2019,[23][24][25] including Complex magazine calling it a "defining breakout moment for a new rap superstar".

In August 2019, he announced that his second album would be titled Kirk, a tribute to his last name.[11] It was released on September 27, and debuted atop the US Billboard 200.[13] Its lead single, "Intro", was also successful, peaking at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Around that time, Kirk also made notable appearances on singles such as Post Malone's "Enemies",[26] which peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, and on the remixes to YG's "Stop Snitchin", Lizzo's "Truth Hurts",[27] and Lil Nas X's "Panini",[28] released on May 24, August 23, and September 13, 2019, respectively. On October 24, he made a cameo appearance in the music video for up-and-coming rapper Rich Dunk's breakthrough single "High School".[29]

Kirk closed 2019 having 22 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 for the year, the most of any artist that year.[30][9]

2020–present: Blame It on Baby, "Rockstar" and My Brother's Keeper

At the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, held in 2020, Kirk received two nominations, both for "Suge", in the categories Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.[31] On April 13, 2020, he announced on Twitter that his third studio album, Blame It on Baby, would be released on April 17, 2020.[32] The album received mixed to positive reviews, and achieved commercial success, debuting atop the Billboard 200 with 124,000 album-equivalent units, becoming Kirk's second number-one album.[15] It also produced his highest-charting song, "Rockstar", featuring Roddy Ricch, which spent seven non-consecutive weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached number-one in the United Kingdom.[15][33] In June, Kirk was featured on the remix for the Jack Harlow song "Whats Poppin", which peaked at number two on the Hot 100 while "Rockstar" was still at the top. This made DaBaby the 20th act to occupy the chart's top 2 positions, and the first since Ariana Grande in 2019. In July, Kirk was featured on "For the Night" by Pop Smoke and Lil Baby, which debuted at number six on the Hot 100. As a result, DaBaby became the seventh act to chart at least three songs in the top six simultaneously.[34]

On July 27, Kirk released a new single with his signee Stunna 4 Vegas, titled "No Dribble",[35] included on the deluxe edition of Blame It on Baby, which was released on August 4, 2020, and described by DaBaby as a "brand new album".[36] On November 20, 2020, DaBaby released his debut EP, My Brother's Keeper (Long Live G). It pays tribute to his late brother, Glenn Johnson, and features appearances from Meek Mill and Polo G, among others.[37] Kirk also contributed a feature on the remix of "Levitating" by English singer Dua Lipa. Though the remix was released in late 2020, the song began climbing up the charts and eventually peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2021.

On January 15, 2021, DaBaby released a new single titled "Masterpiece" alongside a music video for the track directed by Gemini Visions.[38] The track includes references to his relationship with DaniLeigh and to his past legal troubles.[39][40]

Billion Dollar Baby

Billion Dollar Baby
Founded2017
FounderDaBaby
StatusActive
Genre
Country of originU.S.
LocationCharlotte, North Carolina
Official websitebilliondollarbabyent.co

Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment is an American record label founded by DaBaby in 2017, based in Charlotte, North Carolina.[41] The label has signed artists Stunna 4 Vegas, DJ K.i.D, Rich Dunk, KayyKilo, and Wisdom.[42]

Artistry

Charles Holmes of Rolling Stone described Kirk's flow as a "staccato, precise, and brutal rapping style, a syllable-crushing force delivered with such forward momentum it often gives the illusion that he starts rapping before the beat begins". According to Holmes, the most notable example of this effect is in his breakthrough hit "Suge".[17]

Speaking on his influences, Kirk has said he studied artists like Future, Lil Wayne and Kanye West, who he says "came up and consistently progressed". He further elaborated: "I've studied all the genius marketers throughout the rap game. I borrow from anybody with something to offer". Jeff Weiss of The Guardian favorably compared to Kirk to Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Missy Elliott and Ludacris, noting the similarities in their musical styles which include "inventive rap stylists unafraid to make videos full of funny parodies and rubber-faced camera goofs".[8] According to Weiss, Kirk "reflects an anachronistic approach to the rap game. If the charts are filled with opiated threnodies about addiction and sadness, he eschews singing in favor of raps that could take your head off". Kirk has said "I can't sing, but I'll hit some notes here and there".[8]

Legal issues

Kirk was involved in an incident in Huntersville, North Carolina where a 19-year-old man was shot in the abdomen and died soon after.[43] He confirmed his involvement in the shooting and said he acted in self-defense.[44] The most serious charges were dropped in March 2019,[43] and he pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor.[45]

In January 2020, Kirk was detained and questioned in Miami in connection with a robbery investigation. He was later arrested after authorities found he had an arrest warrant out in Texas stemming from a battery charge.[46] According to TMZ and other outlets, members of his crew allegedly jumped and robbed a music promoter who only paid Kirk $20,000 of the $30,000 he was owed for a performance in Miami.[47][48] Reports state that he and his associates allegedly took $80 cash, an iPhone 7, and a credit card from the promoter. Kirk was charged with battery and released from Miami-Dade County jail 48 hours later.[49]

During Kirk's 2020 "Up Close N Personal" tour, he slapped a female fan on his way to the stage for a performance in Tampa, Florida. The crowd responded by booing, and he left the venue without performing any songs. He said that he struck her because she placed her phone too close to his face while taking a video with the flash on. In a video posted on Instagram, Kirk said, "I do apologize that there was a female on the other end. I think by this time, you know it's a well known fact that male or female, I would've responded the same exact way."[50]

Personal life

Kirk has two children, the first born in 2017 and the second born in 2020. Kirk's father died in 2019 shortly after the release of Kirk's debut studio album. His second album is a tribute to his last name and contains a picture of his father in the cover. Kirk's brother, Glen Johnson, died in November 2020, at age 34, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.[51][52]

In 2020, Kirk endorsed the presidential campaign of fellow rapper Kanye West.[53]

In late December 2020, Kirk revealed he was in a relationship with Dominican-American singer and choreographer DaniLeigh.[54][39] A couple months later, it was announced that the couple had split up.[55][56]

Discography

Tours

Headlining

  • Baby on Baby Tour (2019)[58]
  • Kirk Tour (2019)[59]

Awards and nominations

Award Year Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Category Result Ref.
ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards 2020 "Baby Sitter" Winning R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Won [60]
"Cash Shit" Won
"Suge" Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song Won
BET Awards 2020 Kirk Album of the Year Nominated [61]
"Bop" Video of the Year Nominated
Viewers' Choice Award Nominated
Himself Best Male Hip Hop Artist Won
BET Hip Hop Awards 2019 "Suge" Best Hip Hop Video Nominated [62]
Himself Hot Ticket Performer Nominated
Best New Hip Hop Artist Won
Grammy Awards 2020 "Suge" Best Rap Performance Nominated [31]
Best Rap Song Nominated
2021 "Rockstar" (featuring Roddy Ricch) Record of the Year Nominated [63]
Best Melodic Rap Performance Nominated
Best Rap Song Nominated
"Bop" Best Rap Performance Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards 2021 Himself Hip-Hop Artist of the Year Pending [64]
"Rockstar" (featuring Roddy Ricch) Song of the Year Pending
Hip-Hop Song of the Year Pending
MTV Video Music Awards 2019 "Suge" Song of Summer Nominated [65]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Mecklenburg public records show DaBaby's birth date as being December 21, 1991.[1] However, DaBaby has stated his birth date is December 22, 1991.[2]

References

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  56. ^ DABABY AND DANILEIGH BREAK UP
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