Baby Gas is proud as f### to be Mexican, and he injects his Latin roots and culture into all his endeavors. Hailing from the streets of East Oakland and describing himself as “the most ghettoest vato,” the West Coast rapper creates heartfelt music inspired directly by the struggle and the come-up — proving you don’t have to be a product of your environment as long as you work hard, stay passionate, and never give up.
He states, “I see all the people who always keep it consistent, those are the people I end up seeing years later have some type of elevation. I’m just a Mexican who’s been working twice as hard out here, you know we gotta put in that work.”
While the pandemic may have slowed things down for most independent artists, with no revenue or income from performing shows, Babygas thrived as an entrepreneur, starting his own tequila line called El Jefe Tequila and his own cannabis line called Baby Gas. On the music tip, he recently unleashed his critically-acclaimed project titled Street Vendor, spearheaded by lead single “Dos Colombianas” tapping big Dominican artist Jaudy and Raka Dun from Los Rakas.
AllHipHop: How you been? We survived the pandemic!
Baby Gas: Yeah we did. We hustlers, the pandemic was actually a rise for us. Our merch skyrocketed during the pandemic. We’re blessed to be one of those companies that did good rather than the opposite. Music was on hold but as an entrepreneur and having these different businesses, for sure we ate!
AllHipHop: Talk about having your own tequila brand.
Baby Gas: The tequila is called El Jefe Tequila, for the people who saw the bottle in their neighborhood liquor store. We got 3 flavors which are Blanco, Reposado and Anejo. It’s been going good, we come with that flavor. I know there’s a lot of tequila out there. Over the last few months, we had a lot of controversy with some of the tequila being put out there, but definitely we worked really hard to get this taste down. We’re competing with some of the big boys out there, that’s one of the things I’ve been noticing in the tequila industry. A lot of the famous tequila we grew up drinking, people are now cutting that s### off because they’re realizing that they’re not even Mexican-owned.
AllHipHop: What does it mean to make tequila that’s true to your Mexican culture?
Baby Gas: Nobody knows tequila better than Mexicans right? It’s part of our culture as far as what we drink. It’s very important not only how it tastes, but as a brand you’re always giving back. It’s not always with the Latinos, it happens with the black culture, Asian culture. A lot of these big companies make millions of dollars off of our people and never give back in no type of way. They don’t do any yearly givebacks, don’t make donations, none of that. It’s coming down to a thing where people are benefiting off of our culture and not even giving back. Even aside from giving back, you’re not even weighing in when our people have certain problems that we need the voices for.
AllHipHop: Talk about your weed strain as well.
Baby Gas: I’m not gonna show the nugs yet because we didn’t release it yet, but it’s the Baby Gas. It’s cultivated by Rio Vista Farms. It’s been a long time coming. I felt the pressure, the name speaks for itself. Everybody says “Man, you better come with that gas! Your name’s Baby Gas!” So the pressure was on. We did a lot of taste testing, tried a lot of different crosses. We finally came to what we’re putting out. July 9th, it will be available at all farm locations first.
AllHipHop: How long was the process in launching your own weed strain?
Baby Gas: It’s been a long time coming. We had to press that line, it came to a point where we stopped speaking about our moves. Usually, we anticipate the moves months ahead of time. Now, look this is what it is. It’s been happening behind-the-scenes. You guys didn’t know it was coming, but it’s here now. Anybody out there, if you’re not seeing it at your local dispensary, make sure you’re constantly tapping in for it. Make sure my people over here hear you want it in your city, we’ll get it in there. Rio Vista Farms, Coco Farms, DelRay Farms, Valley Farms, V-Town Farms, those are all the places it will be first. We’ll start expanding from there.
AllHipHop: How much are you smoking in a day?
Baby Gas: I’m lighting up right now! Really, it depends on what I’m doing. If I’m working, I’m not smoking as much. When you travel, you’re on flights, you’re on the road, you got back to back interviews, that weed will put you the f### out. No disrespect to anybody else, but I be strictly off of weed. I don’t be off no upper, being able to smoke back to back blunts. I’m barely working on a few hours of energy. If I’m out the house chillin’, I’m doing back to back woods. I can smoke a zip in a day for sure, but it doesn’t happen everyday. I don’t even get a full day to myself everyday, so that’s once in a blue moon.
AllHipHop: How would you say cannabis improves your life?
Baby Gas: It makes me slow down for a second. When you’re on the road, there’s a million things going on around you. A million people calling you. When I smoke a blunt, it makes me slow down a bit. I realize “alright, be cool. Pace yourself, you ain’t gotta rush.” My whole career I’ve been so big on being punctual, I still have that trait now. I stretch myself trying to make sure that I’m on the dot.
AllHipHop: That’s a really good attribute to have!
Baby Gas: A lot of people get bigger in the industry, they get comfortable with coming late because they feel like you need them there. When you’re first starting off, you don’t have that privilege though. Most of the time, same thing with shows and interviews, if you’re not on time nobody’s waiting for you. Those were one of the traits that stuck with me. I be stressing one time, I be on my whole team about it.
AllHipHop: “Dos Colombianas” out now. How did this record come about?
Baby Gas: We got Jaudy on there, a huge Domincan artist. Anybody that’s familiar with the DR music scene, he’s very big out there right now. Real influential in that area. Raka Dun from Los Rakas, they’re originally from Oakland but they’re also from Panama. They’re Panamanian, they got Panama on lock. What I did was really the Spanglish. Last time we saw each other, we had Ghetto Vato on and cracking. Ghetto Vato was an introduction to the world where we’re talking about me being the only Mexican in an all black neighborhood.
Street Vendor is now me getting more into the Spanglish. We want to dip and dab in the Spanish community. In order to do that, we want to do it correctly. Do it with people that are currently taking s### over in that lane. That came about from working on the project, linked up with a few dope people and we put something together. We all flew out to New York. I thought it was only right to do it out there considering it’s very influential with the Dominicans, Panomanias, Pueto Ricans, people that run the Latin game right now. We flew out there to make that happen. We went to the Bronx, right in the projects and shot the video. It was a movie. People are loving it right now, it’s doing some numbers.
AllHipHop: Why did you call the project Street Vendor?
Baby Gas: I called it Street Vendor to kill two birds with one stone. I was talking about my people out there that are grinding in the streets, whether they’re Latinos serving corn, shaved ice, or fruit. We went to New York and the street vendors out there were the ones on the corner serving Halal food, which weren’t Mexicans. It spoke to anybody out there trying to make a living selling anything on the corner, whether it was food or little things they handmade. Then it goes back to the streets. N*ggas on the block selling dope or whatever your upbringing was, that’s a type of street vendor too. We speaking for everybody in general here.
AllHipHop: Talk about the controversy around the title.
Baby Gas: People are focused on what’s going on right now with the street vendors. We see a lot of the hate crimes happening with the Asian and Latino community. People getting harassed, people getting robbed. A lot of the controversy and backlash came from people feeling like I’m amplifying and benefiting off the situation going on. That comes from people that barely know me, barely started following me. I did a podcast out of Kentucky, they’ve been following me for some time. They said “Look, we looked at your music videos from 7 and 8 years ago. You had street vendors in the music videos then too!” People on the internet talk about what they first see without doing their homework, that’s the reason why those types of things don’t bother me.
You as an individual, you know what you do for the community. You know how long you’ve been trying to push for our people. It happens you guys are now being familiar with street vendor situation because now it’s televised. Now, it’s all over Instagram. We were doing s### for the street vendors when we were still on Facebook. People weren’t so quick to pull out their phones and do the whole newscast s###. When you’re one of the first or early ones to do certain things, that’s what comes with it. You gotta take that backlash. We’ve been taking that backlash as Latin artists for some time now. We’re in the rap game, we happen to be Latino. When we first came along, there weren’t these Mexican artists signed to Atlantic Records and all these big companies. We took the early hits. We took all people looking at us like, “What’s the Mexicans doing here?” People knew us for rapping on some gang, cholo s###.
Then the Latino community started expanding. You got Mexicans in Texas going crazy, Mexicans in OKC going crazy. Now it’s not just Cali, not just one sound. Now, we’re versatile like the rest of them. Now there’s more Mexicans on the frontlines, more Mexicans on all these channels, winning awards, touching numbers, WorldStarHiphop, all that. Now they’re getting familiar with our people, now less and less people will have to deal with the “oh this is a black people’s game.” Because that’s how it is, we’re the early ones that had to deal with s### like that. We respect the culture though. Down the line, it’s the small-minded people. Anybody that really does their homework open-minded, they take their hat off to what we do.
AllHipHop: What songs mean the most to you and why?
Baby Gas: Off the new album, I’m a definitely say “Cicatriz” which stands for “scars.” It’s a song I had made when my grandmother recently passed away a couple months back. We were at EMPIRE studios, one of those types of songs that made me touch subjects that I was kind of keeping to myself for a good little minute. So that’s definitely one of the ones on there. Really the project and being able to progress. People constantly tell us, “Damn I ain’t seen you in a few years, and in a few years you doing some s### bro.” It’s a good thing because you know how it is, you deal with rappers everyday. You might interview a rapper today, then next year he fell off. There’s certain things we do to consistently be on the frontline. Not ever moving backwards, but forward. Royce [manager] always says slow motion is better than no motion, so we getting there.
AllHipHop: How old are your kids now?
Baby Gas: Man, s###. 11, 9, 7, 4, and 2. I got my hands full over here. I got a little baby daycare going on over here.
AllHipHop: How’s fatherhood? How do you balance it all?
Baby Gas: Fatherhood is the drive. When I first really started trying to figure out how to balance my career and fatherhood, we’re talking about an upcoming career! N*ggas didn’t already had a fat ass check just to sit on they ass. It’s about really consistently staying in the game, consistently dropping, consistently working. And at the same time, consistently being in your kids’ life. It’s the drive. My kids are all old enough to know wassup. They might not see me for 2 to 3 weeks, but when I come back I come back. I’m a big ass kid, not even gonna lie. When I play with my kids, I play with them forreal. If I take them to amusement parks or parks, I don’t just drive them there. I don’t just pay for the s###, I’m participating with them. They know when I’m there, I’m fully there. That really kind of levels it out for me.
My mom told me at a very early age in my fatherhood: “Even if you go a certain time without seeing your kids, your kids know your love for them. So don’t feel like because you’re gone for a month, you’re gonna come back and your son’s gonna feel some type of way.” Where kids feel some type of way is broken promises, you can’t make a promise to a kid and not keep it. You know how it is, we were all kids one time. If moms said we’re going to the mall today, we stressing moms out all day. If pops says he’s coming for you, you’re looking out the window everyday like “when pop’s getting here?” The main thing as a father you should never do: making promises you can’t keep. I’d rather hit my kids with a “maybe.” That way when they ask me, remember I said maybe. I ain’t say we going fasho. Because once you say fasho, you’ll start becoming a bullshiter in your kids’ eyes. You don’t want that. If you want anybody’s trust, you at least gotta have your kids’.
AllHipHop: What upcoming project or collabs can we expect?
Baby Gas: We got the deluxe version of Street Vendor coming out, adding about 6 extra songs. I didn’t publicize who I got on there, but I did publicize one of them. I did a remix to “Smoking Gas” on the project, I got Cash Kidd on there out of Detroit. That’s gonna be a banger, Oakland to Detroit is always gonna be a good combination. The people definitely gonna love that one. I’m doing 6 bangers and keeping it consistent. With this album, people should be expecting a video to almost every song, because of how long I was working.
I was working on an album for about 7 months. I worked on it for so long that when I put all the songs together, people couldn’t pick. I literally spoke to different radio people, different DJs, and the list that they send us always comes back different. At the end of the day, every song on the album needs its little time to shine. We doing 2 weeks to a month per single. We gonna keep shooting it out. We’ll put out another project hopefully by the end of the year, kick the new quarter off with some new s###. Besides that, we working. We see you working. I see the Shirely’s Temple, I see it all. Especially for the women out there, women are starting to pop up heavy in the game. Y’all doing y’all thing! Much needed and appreciated too.