When it comes to women’s empowerment songs in 2021, look no further than Yung Baby Tate’s “I Am” featuring Flo Milli from her After The Rain EP. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia; the rising rapper releases the ultimate affirmation track with lyrics: “I am healthy, I am wealthy. I am rich, I am that bitch. I am gonna go get that bag, and I am not gonna take your shit. I am protected, well-respected. I’m a queen, I’m a dream. I do what I wanna do, and I’m who I wanna be ‘cause I am me.”
Signed to Issa Rae’s Raedio imprint, the star gives hope to the future of female rap. While “I Am” alone received critical acclaim, the #IAmChallenge saw celebrity participants from Rae to Yara Shahidi to Mia Khalifa. The song’s instant organic success on TikTok catapulted Tate’s name into the mainstream light — proving she’s a force to be reckoned with.
In honor of Women’s History Month, REVOLT chatted with Yung Baby Tate about making “I Am,” getting Flo Milli on the song, female figures she looks up to, the definition of a powerful woman, and more! Read below.
“I Am” is going crazy! How are you feeling?
I am feeling amazing. It’s really beautiful to see a song I made just affirming myself resonate with so many other people. So many women across the world, across the globe. For it to be going so crazy right now, wow. These affirmations really work!
Bring us back to when you created this record.
I actually wrote the chorus as affirmations, literally. I wasn’t even thinking about writing a song, it was a little chant I wrote to say to myself. I got in the studio at New Moon in September. I said, “You guys, I got this chorus I really want to put on this song, so we got to find the right beat for it.” We went through two beats and the first one wasn’t it, the second one was, “Oh nah, it goes on this one.” I ended up recording it, wrote the verses. Afterwards [it] was, “You know who would sound really dope on this? Flo.” Because at first, I wasn’t going to have any features on the project at all. We’re like, “If we were to have features, let’s be creative and think about who’d sound cool on what.” I’m pretty good at knowing who’d sound good on a certain beat or on a certain song, content-wise. It got to Flo and boom shaka laka.
What’s your relationship with Flo Milli?
We’d been following and supporting each other on Instagram and social media. A lot of our fans overlap and have said, “Y’all need to collab” for a long time. I’m like, “Let’s finally make that happen.” I’m glad I was able to do that.
How’d it feel to go viral on TikTok? Did you anticipate it at all?
I can’t say I did anticipate it. Everything started happening organically. It’s not like we started a TikTok campaign and it started going viral. The shit started going viral out of nowhere and it was a month after we dropped the project. A month After The Rain had released was when it started to move. Oh shit! This is really catching on. I feel blessed.
What celebrity were you most excited to see to do the #IAmChallenge?
I was really excited to see Yara Shahidi. I’m a big fan of her, her work. I love “Grown-ish.” I loved “Black-ish,” as well. I’ve been watching her for a long time, so to see her do the challenge was really cool. Mia Khalifa was super cool, Issa Rae of course. Because even though I am in a partnership with Issa, my music has been on the show. It’s always a reminder: “Oh my gosh, this is my reality. Issa Rae’s singing my song” (laughs).
What does it mean to be signed to Issa Rae’s Raedio label?
I love it. I was talking to Issa yesterday about some other opportunities. Part of the reason why I decided to sign with Raedio — not only because Issa’s amazing — they understood the depth of the things I wanted to do. It’s not, “Oh, I just want to rap. I just want to be a rapper. Oh, I just want to be a singer.” I want to be a rapper, a singer, a writer, I want to act. I want to do so many things, they’ve really allowed me the opportunity to do that. It was really a blessing. I’ve been in awe and grateful I’ve been able to maintain my independence because I’m in a partnership with them. All of the things we’re doing right now, it’s all independent. It feels really good to say.
In light of women’s month, who are some female figures you look up to?
My mom, first and foremost. My OG, I love my mom so much. She’s a great example for the type of woman I want to be. As I get older, I start to understand her a bit more and start to understand myself a bit more. It’s great to have a good relationship with her. Another [woman] I look up to: Beyonce. Beyonce’s the definition of a class act and the definition of what talent looks like. I want to be able to do things like that and be seen in that way one day. I have so many. Nicki Minaj, how she’s able to dominate this male industry of rap for 10 plus years and be killing shit. That’s the biggest example of being an artist and a “rapper,” but still being able to do whatever the fuck you want to do. And be great at it.” It’s a lot. I love all women. If you’re a woman and you’re doing some great shit, you inspire me.
What are your favorite women’s empowerment songs?
Well first, “I Am” by myself. “That Girl” by me is also one of my favorites. A lot of the songs I write that are empowering, I write them for myself first. When I say these things, I really do mean them. What’s another that makes me feel like that bitch? Anything Beyonce.
What’s your favorite Beyonce song?
That’s a really hard one! Oh, I do have one. This isn’t a Beyonce song, but it’s a Chloe x Halle song called “Babygirl.” That’s one of my favorites. Definitely all about female empowerment with that song, I love that song. I also love “Big Boss” By Victoria Monet.
What does Black Girl Magic mean to you?
Black Girl Magic is a little bit unexplainable. Black women are some of the most majestic species on the planet. From the way we look, the way we think, the way we carry ourselves, the power we hold, the influence we have on the world, that’s magical in and of itself. Everybody and they mama wanna be a Black girl (laughs). The magic is tied in with the confidence we have. It’s odd we have so much of it because a lot of the odds are stacked against us, but in spite of that, we still persevere and dominate. That’s magic, you can’t explain that.
How important is it to promote female empowerment in your music and everyday life?
It’s extremely important. I want everybody to feel good about themselves. Whether that comes from me working with other women or me writing about myself being a bad bitch, that’s been something extremely important to me for a while now. Since I’ve started putting out music, it’s always been about the empowerment of women. For me, that’s my entire brand: Female empowerment. I always say the boys, y’all can come too, but we talking about the girls right now so calm down.
Where do you see the future of female rap?
I want to see more brown skin and dark skin female rappers at the forefront. Not just in rap because I’m not just a rapper, but in music in general. It’s a blessing for Black women of any color to be on the podiums and the pedestals we’re on in those types of spotlights. But, one thing I really want to see, I hope to see, and I will see in the future is way more representation for brown and darker skin Black women. A lot of times, you look up and I’m looking at people that don’t look like me. I want to see people that look like me. I want people darker than me to see people that look like them. Because things are opening up and because female rap is such a wide spectrum, it’s allowing those eyes to be on everyone right now. I really am praying and hoping in the future we got a brown skin girl [sings “Brown Skin Girl”].
How do you feel about Kamala Harris entering the White House?
I’m excited! We’ve never had a woman as the vice president, especially not a Black woman, a woman of color. I’m extremely excited about what that makes the future look like. Next thing you know, we’re going to have a woman as president. That’ll be a beautiful moment to see.
What’s your definition of a powerful woman? Why are women powerful?
First of all, a woman who knows her power and knows how to harness it. By knowing the power that you hold, it’s such a broad spectrum. You could have the power to do a hairdo well or you could have the power to influence an entire continent. A powerful woman to me is a woman that knows herself, knows her worth, and doesn’t let anybody forget it.
How’d it feel seeing your own billboard in Times Square?
Oh my gosh, that’s a dream come true. Wow, that’s freaking me up there! That billboard was huge! Oh my gosh, I’m on a billboard in Time Square. We’re standing in the hotel that the billboard was on. Wow, God is good. That’s all I got to say.
What can we expect from After The Rain deluxe?
The deluxe is coming soon. I’ll have a few new songs, maybe some remixes. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’ll be a continuation of the story that was established with After The Rain. I’m excited to put it out! I’m excited for my fans to hear new music. I know we dropped in December, but they said, “We need some more! Please give us some more.”
What are you most excited for in the new year?
I’m always excited for growth. I say this every year and I continue to grow every year, but I’m extremely excited for the progression of my career to keep reaching new heights. To start opening new doors, branching off into different new career choices, things of that nature. For people to see me in an even larger light and get to know me better. For the world to open up to me and for me to open up to the world a bit more, that’s what I’m excited for.