Los Angeles, CA – Even though he hails from Louisville, Warner Records signee 2KBABY has deep ties to the city of Chicago and the ever-evolving music scene there.

In addition to collaborating with Chief Keef on their banger “Luigi” from his new First Quarter album, 2KBABY has previously collaborated with Chi-Town’s JAY-Z Lil Durk along with 25 rapper G Herbo for their anthemic “Old Souls” record from last year.

While discussing the follow-up to his 2020 Pregame Rituals album in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, 2KBABY says he only began using harmonies and melodies a few years ago, despite his hits such as “Zack And Cody” featuring DX 2021 Rising Star DDG being a melodic ear-worming work of art.

“’First Quarter’ for me, I feel like this is really literally the first quarter of, really me evolving, like this whole game that y’all already see this whole four quarters y’all already see is me really on my LeBron shit, just me taking over,” he said. “If y’all familiar with my first project ‘Pregame Rituals’, that was something that just really was the beginning. That was literally when I first even started doing melodies.”

2KBABY, who was formerly known as Lil Sage, actually revealed that Herbo was a major source of inspiration as a teen.

“Like I ain’t never bust a note my whole life,” he said. “Like a lot of artists, you know, listen to their interviews either them, or like one of their friends or family members be like, ‘oh yeah, he was in the church choir or singing around the house,’ but that wasn’t me. I wasn’t doing that. My favorite rapper was G Herbo when I was 14. So I was just spitting on some MC.”

Toward the latter half of his teenage years, 2KBABY says he ended up changing both his surroundings and flows up after legal issues unexpectedly forced him to leave his native Kentucky on a whim.

“I left my city at like 17-years-old, I just got jammed up for, you know, a little AR [Assault Rifle] or whatever,” he began. “Got out of there got my car out the pound. I was staying at a hotel like the week prior. So I already had everything in my car and you know, the police to ripped up my car. They ripped my radio out my car and shit. So as soon as I got out, I’m like, all right, boom, I got a case now they took my yeah. It would be dumb for me to just cop another yeah, and go right back in the streets with everything we had going on. I had information that my dad’s side of the family was in Atlanta, but I lost contact with them when I was 10-years old cuz of the court system So I just got my car out the pound and hopped right on the road, just on some wing-it shit.”

2KBABY went on to explain how he accidentally found out he can sing on that hours-long drive to Atlanta, and how it led to a new opportunity for him to share his life experiences in his music through years of experimentation.

“During that five, six-hour drive to Atlanta with no radio I started singing then in the car,” he said. “So, then, for the next year or two, I was in Atlanta, in my basement, just perfecting the sound and that’s really what Pregame Rituals was, you know?  Just talking about everything that I had just prior went through. So First Quarter for me is like I said, the beginning of me taking that sound that I discovered and, and perfecting in other ways, shapes and forms.”

Now, with more room to grow than ever, 2KBABY says he is focused on diversifying his sound and adding records to his discography that “make people turn,” such as his colossal “Like This” smash which has more than 27 million streams on Spotify alone.

“My biggest hit was a pain record,” he said. “So now I’m trying to take my talent and be able to uplift people and make people turn. You know what I mean? Like make people feel good. So that’s really what First Quarter is about to me. I don’t want, I, I still got my pain records on now, but you know, I don’t want people to just cry through the whole thing, you know? So.”

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Stream 2KBABY’s First Quarter album below.