Baby Bash Interview
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When an MC is deemed a “pop rapper” it insinuates that he/she has gone soft. But if the term ‘pop’ simply means popular, why should that be viewed as a negative?
California-born and Houston-raised rapper Baby Bash feels as those he is an ‘uncategorizable’ artist. He knows the world wants to fit every artist into a specific box, except he refuses to be pigeonholed into a specific genre.
Mixing Hip Hop, R&B and his Latin roots, Bash embarks this month on the release of his third major release, “Cyclone.” Feeding off of the success from his album-titled lead single, Bash concentrated on simply making good music and left the stereotypical titles to the critics.
During an interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Bash explains how he hooked up with T-Pain, what his greatest musical achievement is to date and why writing songs is like eating a plate of chicken.
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Baby Bash Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is the number one Latin American artist featured on Myspace… and he hasn’t even dropped his new album. Please welcome Arista Records recording artist, and my man, Baby Bash. How you doin’?
Baby Bash: Hey hey, what’s up, Z? Everything’s good, man, everything’s in motion, gettn’ ready for the big release.
DJ Booth: True story, I was in Arizona last month, “Cyclone” was gettin’ played everywhere on every radio station, in every bar, and in every club I visited. And normally, without a few drinks, men are pretty reserved while dancing. But no lie at 7:00 PM your single dropped, and all the guys – including the girls, obviously, went buck wild. What does that say about Baby Bash and his music?
Baby Bash: I think I stepped up the energy. And I went from being “Mr. Smooth Smooth Playa Playa,” to [getting] people movin’ a little bit more on the dance floor. I’ve never really had a club banger before, I’ve never even dreamt about having a club song, and then, once I got with Lil John, he said, “Man, let’s make a club knock with some of your melody, some of your smooth melodies over a nice Lil John club beat, and let’s just make it happen.”
DJ Booth: The new album is also entitled “Cyclone.” As we both know, cyclones have a tendency to cause damage to anything that violates their intended path. To this point, what cyclones have entered your world?
Baby Bash: Losing my grandfather was a big reconnection I had to make, and that was devastating to me, in the middle of getting my record deal. And then different politics involved in the music game and different struggles with my family. I’ve got a lot of family issues – not my issues, but I come from a family of alcoholics and drug addicts, and I have to take care of a lot of people. And just the change in music, from when I put out “Suga Suga” to now. But I think I’ve weathered the storm pretty good. Since I put out “Suga Suga” I’ve seen a lot of artists come and go and I pretty much still been in the game, you know?
DJ Booth: It’s all about adapting to what’s now and it seems like you’ve done a good job with that. Let’s talk about “Cyclone” a little bit more. It features the incomparable T-Pain. Considering the number of features this man has done over the last 9 months, did you feel that you needed him to make the song a hit, or did you want him on that song?
Baby Bash: T-Pain, I actually met him a couple times. I’m real good friends with his management. I had met T-Pain a couple of times and we had both talked about collaborating on something. When we talked about it, it was actually before he was on every song on the radio. He was gettin’ ready to put out his first single when we had first talked about doin’ it. It’s crazy that by the time “Cyclone” was done and finished, he was on like twenty different features. I think it’s also good at the same time, because he helped the song. Some people wouldn’t give me a shot – it’s sad sometimes, but that’s how people think. Someone else has to put a stamp of approval on it before they test it out, even though the music is quality. But I think it was a good thing that he wanted to jump on it. He’s a down-to-earth guy, you know? We chop it up a lot. It’s not like I just paid someone to get on my song that I didn’t even know.
DJ Booth: You’ve been known to work with a lot of R&B accompaniment, and it’s worked for you to this point. Of course, T-Pain, Akon, Frankie J, and on your new single Sean Kingston. Do you ever worry about becoming typecast as an artist, Baby Bash?
Baby Bash: I don’t really worry about –I’m gonna get typecast anyway. People are gonna have their own opinions anyway. In this crazy world of music where people like to categorize stuff, I feel I’m uncategorizable to tell you the truth. I like that word, “uncategorizable.” Akon and T-Pain – are they hip hop? Are they R&B? Are they pop? Are they reggae-ish? It’s a combination of everything now, and I think that’s what it’s about: good music. I’ve always been like that, ever since, “Suga Suga.” ‘Cause I can sing – I’m more of a writer. I never try to be the best battle rapper, or the best rapper, but I’m always gonna write a constant hit – I’m all about writing quality songs. When I write songs, it’s like a big old nice plate of chicken – you want some potatoes, and corn, some green beans. You want them side orders. You don’t wanna just eat straight chicken the whole time. So you’ll have negative cats out there, [who say] “That’s not hip hop!” But I’m not in it for that – I’m in it for the straight love of music.
DJ Booth: Well, to use your analogy with the chicken, you just wanna spice it up. I mean, that’s your Latin roots anyway, so there you go!
Baby Bash: Yeah, spice it up – put some nice potatoes on the side, or some rice-
DJ Booth: You’re gettin’ me hungry – I haven’t eaten lunch yet!
Baby Bash: [laughter] I’ll stop talking about that, Z.
DJ Booth: Recently, you were able to wrap up the song, “This Boy’s Fire,” which is a collaboration with Jennifer Lopez and Latin legend Carlos Santana. What did you say when you were asked to work on the project.
Baby Bash: Man… First thing I said was I wished my grandfather were alive, ‘cause my grandfather loved Santana. I almost shed a tear just thinking about it. When they first told me it was unbelievable – I was like, “Are you sure they got the right guy? Are you sure they want Baby Bash on there with Jennifer Lopez and Santana?” It was kinda crazy. Then I though about the power of Clive Davis at my record label and “Man, it is possible.” So I went ahead and did the best I could. I wanted to make sure everybody was happy and I think I did a good job and I patted myself on the back. The album came out last week; I went and bought three copies. It’s probably my biggest achievement since I got in the game.
DJ Booth: It’s definitely something to hang your hat on. With so few Latin MCs getting recognized for their skills as rappers, how intense do you feel the spotlight shines on you to succeed in order to help the future crop of Baby Bashes?
Baby Bash: Not really pressure, because I don’t really worry about pressure, I just concentrate on doing my music. There’s great Latin artists– there’s great Latin singers, rappers, dancers, cooks, architects. I think it’s just a matter of time, of recognition. When I first did “Suga Suga” it felt kinda weird because people didn’t know where to place me. I don’t know if I felt reverse racism or not, but it was kind of “He’s not black, he’s not white, and he’s not speaking Spanish.” Like I said, in this categorized type world, they didn’t know where to categorize me, but eventually the music spoke for itself.
DJ Booth: Couldn’t agree more. Quick game, it’s called “What Is It,” after your new single, produced by J. R. Rotem and featuring Sean Kingston. Three questions, one word answer – what is it about the music industry that upsets you? One answer.
Baby Bash: Politics.
DJ Booth: What is it about women that draws your attention?
Baby Bash: Ooh… booty. [laughter]
DJ Booth: What is it about interviews that drive you nuts?
Baby Bash: Repetitiveness.
DJ Booth: Did I repeat anything? Did I piss you off at any point?
Baby Bash: No, no, no – you actually did a great job!
DJ Booth: Great. That’s what I like to hear, thank you. Give a website or Myspace page, so people can find out more about what you got goin’ on. Of course, “Cyclone” drops October 30th…
Baby Bash: October 30th, the day before trick-or-treat, so make sure you get your treat befrore you trick. I got pop artists like Ryan Tedder of One Republic, Paula Deanda and Danity Kane, all the way over to hardcore hip hop, the almighty Pimp C from UGK, E-40 and, of course, T-Pain and Sean Kingston. And myspace.com/babybash, come get the latest info behind the scenes and I’ll try to get back at you.
DJ Booth: I wish you nothing but the best of luck on this release, and thank you for your time.
Baby Bash: Thanks a lot, Z. I’ll talk to you soon.