Haiti Babii is a warrior out of Stockton, California — 209 to be exact. At first glance, you may quickly assume he does gangster rap — and rightfully so backed by tattoos and chains — his sound is actually quite… different. The Warriorrecording artist is barely scratching the surface when it comes to his versatility and sound, prepping fans an expected ride. Read more…
The 21-year-old describes his music as “unique, abstract, unorthodox,” as evidenced in his most recent freestyle on Real 92.3. The viral clip not only left DJ Hed speechless, but caught the attention of Chrissy Teigen, who proceeded to show hubby John Legend, and even received a cosign from Swae Lee!
What was the household like growing up in Stockton?
I was born in Oakland, raised in Stockton California. My mom moved to Stockton, California at a young age because it was cheaper in Stockton. It was up from there. It humbled me. It built me as a man, built my character, made me strong. The household was cool, I was family-oriented. Had my mother and my stepfather in my life. Always had food on the table. I was blessed to have a roof over my head.
How did you get into music?
I got into music at the age of 4 or 5. Fell in love with R&B and classic soul, then started moving on to the John Denver’s. It changed my mind, listened to all aspects of music. Fell in love with rap and hip-hop freshman year of high school. A lot of Mac Dre, E-40, Spice 1, then went on from there.
Why should people fuck with you?
People should fuck with me if they enjoy music. I’m authentic. I don’t want to force anybody, music should be enjoyed from the soul. If you got a good soul, you’re going to enjoy my music.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s very important to network your relationships, meet new faces, work on your people skills. Build you as a brand. Build your business, your entertainment, whatever you got going. Business is booming out here 24/7.
What does the West Coast mean to you?
The West Coast means a lot, it’s the heart of the Black Panthers. We fierce. I’ma represent that as best as I can.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
I’m Haitian, that’s my race. I’m Babii because the features of my face, I look young. Then I’ll transform to Big Haiti as I progress with my music.
You ever been to Haiti?
I never been to Haiti, but I will go. When I go, my fans will be able to go on that journey with me. I’ll be documenting every step to that journey fasho.
Does your Haitian roots play into your music or career?
Yeah, it opened up my mind and taught me boundaries. It built me too, because I read a lot. I got to know myself better because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin at one point.
Why is that?
Environment. Decisions were made for me at a young age basically, and all of us. Not just me because I’m black, all of us.
Congrats on Warrior! How has the fan reception been?
Perfect. Actually it’s overwhelming, but they like it because it’s nothing they ever heard before.
What is it you want fans to get from this one?
Building. Basically, I’m just building. Warrior is just a build-up of me mastering my skills. You gon’ get them ups and down kind of songs, it’s all over the place. It’s work and build-up. It’s going to get better in the future.
What are you building towards?
Perfection. No one’s perfect but if you shoot for that, come to find out, you’re pretty good.
How do you plan on getting there?
Hard work, consistency, keeping your head high, and a strong team. Having a strong team. Make sure your team is ready when you get to a certain point in life. You gotta have a team, can’t do it alone.
“Without You” is a banger, bring us back to that studio session with Philthy Rich.
I linked up with Philthy after I already made the song. I made the song at my fellow producer’s YP’s studio. I co-produced the beat, started from scratch with it. Wrote the lyrics down. The song’s dedicated to my mom, my fans, and anybody who supports me in any type of way. “I wouldn’t be here without you,” that quote. Me and my team reached out to Philthy to hop on the feature, get a verse on there. I pulled up to his studio, he laid it down as quick as possible. It was up from there.
Philthy is a staple in the Bay. Can you talk about your friendship with him?
Yeah he’s a Bay Area legend, but that’s why I wanted him on the song. Because I wanted to get his stamp. His certification is like a blue checkmark.
I’m from the Bay. Talk about linking with Da Boii, D-Lo & ALLBLACK on “Big Mad.”
I reached out to Da Boii for that song. I left an 8-bar. I didn’t want to leave no hook because people get tired of the same catchy shit over and over. I got a bunch of catchy shit. I wanted to make something with gas all the way through. You’re like “this is a bunch of energy all at once.” I hit up Da Boii, D-Lo, ALLBLACK. They all hopped on it separately, not in the same session.
Talk about the love for the Bay.
Well I was born in Oakland, so that was going to happen anyways. Linking up with Daboii, it was big. My fans wanted it, so I made it happen.
first 20 times I watched this I was crying laughing. Views 20-45 I decided it made me so happy I can’t even make fun of it. It’s brought me so much pure joy & really, what is a more special talent than that. Currently on view 46 & the 0:28 mark absolutely makes me lose my shit https://t.co/zv0DARN5RA
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) May 5, 2019
How does your fanbase in the Bay compare to elsewhere?
Its cool, they real rowdy. The way my fans act out there, I want to bring that mindset to all other areas. You can’t just dominate the Bay, dominate LA and think you won. That’s not the goal. The goal is to get the world. The Bay is only a small percentage of the world. People always say “oh this is the Bay’s sound, this is LA sound, this is a certain sound” — no it’s not. This is an African sound. This wasn’t even made in this country. The sound is from the soul, it’s not even from this planet. The sound is universal basically, you just gotta be able to market it.
What is your take on the music industry?
It’s just like the streets, survival of the fittest. Make it or break it, it’s tough. Tough love.
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
As an artist, I’ll be stepping up, becoming a producer. I’ve been producing for a couple new projects, a couple artists I can’t speak on right now. I gotta build my production skills up. After that, I’ll be going on the next level, the next level, etc.
How important is social media for your career?
Very important because back then, no one had those resources like that. It was out the trunk. Now that I’m doing out the trunk and having a social media platform, it helps big time. Especially when your social platform is professional.
What were you doing before the music?
I was in the streets, but I was living and learning. Learning basically. I was adapting to my environment and learning.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I’ll probably be in business regardless. My goal was to always get money. I wouldn’t have been outside selling no rock, shooting at people, I woulda been making some money fasho, whatever it was.
What do you want your legacy to be?
To show love. Just show love, hard work basically. I want people to know his legacy he left behind is “man, he came in this game showing love.” When I go out, I want love back. That’s all that matters.
Who’s your favorite person to follow?
What does mama think of the rap career?
She was a prior rapper back then. She slowed down. She got into church. That helped me too, her being in church and listening to gospel music.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I wake up, turn on my static which is my white noise. I imagine a sea, I imagine dolphins. I imagine swimming and being on top of the ocean. After that, I smoke a joint or go to the gym or do both. Get it poppin’, wherever the day takes me. Life moves along like the wave, I just go with the flow.
3 things you need in the studio?
Positive energy, food, and everybody in that environment needs to be able to have an ear. I need everybody’s opinion. Not like “you shut up, I don’t want to hear what you gotta say.” I want people to be like “you know what, I like this sound.” That’s all I need, I like energy. Bring energy when you in the studio with me, I like energy in the studio. Positive, respect.
Who’s in your Top 5?
Well I can’t really do rap, I can do music-wise. I’d put Koffee #1, she’s a Jamaican artist. She’s fire. #2, I gotta put Beyonce. I respect the performance aspect. #3, Suga Free. #4, Mac Dre. #5, Nipsey. Fasho.
How did Nipsey impact your goals in your career?
Besides even the rap part, the gang banging stuff, his message. Besides all that, it was his message. The way he would present himself to people.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
“Run It Back.” It’s hard, it’s gangsta, it’s rough. It’s me. It’s me at a point in my life when I wasn’t down, but I felt up by doing down things.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
People tearing up. These girls came up to be tearing up saying how much they love me because their daughters slap my music. That keeps happening, it’ll only get more intense.
What would you say your biggest fan demographic is?
Cali period as a whole.
Your music is hard though!
Yeah it’s hard, but that’s all the music I just dropped. That’s literally the basement. I don’t want to say they’re old because they’re forever new, but I got 4, 5, 6 albums that’s unreleased. Warrior is basically a build-up. You hearing me niching and sewing everything together right in front of your eyes and ears. To be looking forward to the future, you’ll get that funky, that James Brown, MC Hammer, Bobby Brown feel. Those are the 3 legends I looked up to, I’m currently studying the Top 5 I named, but all-time probably James Brown, Michael, Chris Brown.
What advice do you have for an aspiring Haiti Babii?
Be yourself. Dare to be different. Show love.