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Who is DaBaby? The Charlotte rapper hip-hop heads are buzzing about

If you’ve done some mosying about the internet of late, chances are you’ve seen a viral clip of a rapper named DaBaby spitting one of the smoothest freestyles you’ll ever come across.

Rapping to City Girl’s “Act Up” with the L.A. Leakers on Freestyle 076, if you didn’t know who DaBaby was, you sure wanted to find out after his verse.

From the cadence to the confidence to the animation, you know you’re listening to someone and something different when you hear DaBaby flow.

So who is DaBaby?

Born Johnathan Kirk, the 27-year-old rapper was born in Cleveland Ohio but grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, not too far from J.Cole

Dababy hasn’t always been Dababy. Originally he went by the name of ‘Baby Jesus’, but changed it for “political reasons,” as he told the Breakfast Club.

DaBaby first caught glimpse of success back in 2016 when his song “Light Show” did numbers on Youtube, Soundcloud, and Datpiff.

Capitalizing off the buzz, he released a new mixtape every few months over the next couple of years, forming a five-volume ‘Baby Talk’ series that both built his fanbase and helped sharpen his chops.

Each volume proved to have a stand-out track and he further helped distinguish himself with his out-of-the-box approach to music videos.

By the time Interscope signed DaBaby in Jan. 2019 he had five mixtapes out and breakout song “21”, which garnered over 5.4 million on-demand U.S. streams, according to Nielsen Music.

A large part of DaBaby’s growing appeal, which is starting to look like a must-have for up and coming new acts, is what he brings outside of the booth.

We’ve mentioned his charismatic music videos but, much like a Dave East or Chris Brown, he also has a heartthrob effect on women. And, just like we like all of our rappers, he’s street authenticity is certified.

Shortly after releasing his Blank Blank mixtape in early November 2018, DaBaby confirmed he was involved in the deadly shooting of 19-year-old Jalyn Domonique Craig.

The rapper took to social media to address the incident, saying the shooting was an attempted robbery and his actions were all in self-defense. He was in fear for his and his family’s life, who was shopping in a North Carolina Walmart with him.

DaBaby’s new spotlight has had a dual effect. The ones that have already known about him are doubling down on his content and the new arrivers are making all of his old stuff popular.

It’s only then that you realize DaBaby isn’t just now hot — he’s just now being introduced to the world.

The North Carolina resident released his first full-length release under Interscope, Baby on Baby, at the top of Mar. and includes guest appearances by Offset, Rich the Kid, Rich Homie Quan, and his frequent collaborator Stunna 4 Vegas.

The 13-track project is a lot like what was on the L.A. Leakers freestyle except with production that matches his upbeat personality.

DaBaby tour for the album will kick off on Apr. 3 in Philadelphia, with planned stops in NYC, Oakland, Houston, Miami, and Norfolk, Virginia. The full schedule is below.

You can listen to Baby on Baby now on Apple Music/iTunes and Spotify.