Like most people, Lil Baby felt compelled to do something to push the culture forward amid nationwide protests, demanding justice for George Floyd and so many others. While most took to the streets, the Atlanta rapper took to the studio. In his track “The Bigger Picture,” he pens his thoughts about the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, it’s now been streamed more than 100 million times. Baby told Rolling Stone that the song’s proceeds are set to be donated to multiple organizations. “It was at a point where I felt I needed to say something,” he says of writing the track. “Now, this sh*t counts. You gon’ hear me.”
Lil Baby, real name Dominique Jones, spent his late teens hustling in the streets of Atlanta, which could have easily ended with him in dead or in jail if it weren’t for QC. “Needed the money, more than anything,” Jones explains. “I knew all the drug dealers around my neighborhood. When I was like 10, 11, I was hanging out with a dude who was like 17. He was getting money to buy a car, having his own little spot. So he was a lot of my motivation, too.” He says at 16; he stopped attending high school to sell drugs. That choice is what got him sent to jail three times and once to prison. Had he not made that choice, though, who knows if he would have decided to rap. His saving grace was support from his mentors while he was locked up. Quality Control’s Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “Pee” Thomas, saw something in him he couldn’t yet see in himself.
“I’ve been a victim of police brutality,” the rapper told RS. He recalled serving two years on weapons and drug charges when he was only 20. “There have been times I had a physical altercation with an officer, and he then grabbed me and took me to a room where there’s no camera. We have a physical altercation and left me in a room for about an hour. I’m in there yelling and screaming. I’m so accustomed to it; we don’t even make it no big deal.” By “so accustomed,” he meant that men getting shot dead for simply sleeping in their car is the norm. Rayshard Brooks was tragically murdered at a Wendy’s within walking distance from where Baby grew up. “Man, somebody done died everywhere we done went,” he told the outlet. “Everywhere. We. Done. Went.”
Miss Lashon, Baby’s mother, said watching her son go to prison was the hardest thing she’d ever done. But over the two years he spent away from home, he had plenty of time to think of his next move. He told his mom he was done with the streets and wanted to rap. And just like that, the world saw one of the fastest rises to fame to date. “The day he came home, he went to the studio, and it took off after that.”