Interview and Photos by Dom Ellis
Circa Summer '14
XXL Freshman Lil Bibby caught the game and internet by surprise when he released his debut mixtape Free Crack last Winter. Since then the Chicago native has managed to gain his blue check on Twitter and racked up co-signs from fans and industry heavies like Mac Miller and Drake. He is now looking to set the web ablaze yet again with his forth coming mixtape, the sequel, Free Crack II, which already has the blogs buzzin’.
The soft spoken nineteen-year-old burgeoning rap-star stopped by Kemosabe Records on traffic jammed Sunset Boulevard to pose for our cameras and answer a dozen questions about the nuances of fame (aka obsessed female fans), Free Crack II, and thoughts of an International tour.
What do you love most about music?
I just love making it and expressing myself. I don’t talk much but when I’m in a studio or recording I can talk about some real stuff.
So you were born in Chicago. Which part specifically?
I grew up on the East side of Chicago. We call it Terror Town, it’s a place that you don’t want to visit.
Now that you’ve gotten to travel around and see the world, do you have any fun travel stories?
Aw man, we do some crazy stuff. We just left Boston, it was a sold out show and after we left from doing the meet and greet there were girls chasing the car; banging on the windows and stuff. That was my first time seeing something like that.
You’ve said you started rapping because the music of the time wasn’t rockin’, what was missing then and how are you filling that void now?
I used to listen to a lot of rap and I wasn’t really feeling any rappers at the time. I would listen and think this guy should start doing this to make himself better. It’s hard finding a rapper with the complete package. Being a huge music critic I thought, “why not just do it myself?”
So at what point did you decide to become a full-time rapper?
I was playing around with it for a while but after me and (Lil) Herb dropped that ‘Kill Shit’ song then it started to get a crazy response quick. That’s when I knew I had to take it serious. Plus, I can’t work in a restaurant. I was considering maybe a shoe store but I’ve always been lazy and once I started to get money outside it came quick. So why get a job?
How has it been to grow up under everyone’s eye?
It’s cool, I’m still myself. I just can’t do some of the things I would’ve done because I have young fans that look up to me. You can’t just do anything you want to do, but it’s cool man.
It’s not like fans just like you, you were getting co-signs from people that make hits like Mac Miller and Drake. How did that feel?
That’s respect; a lot of rappers don’t like to admit who they listen to. They be having they pride, so it’s crazy Drake would do something like that.
XXL is huge in hip-hop how did it feel to land the Freshman Cover?
It’s a big thing that a lot of my favorite rappers have been on there except Drake and Nicki who turned it down. It’s like the [NBA] draft; we were the top picks so I’m glad I made it on there.
On Free Crack you only had two rappers featured (Lil Herb & King L), but you had ten producers working on the tape with you. How does that shape your sound?
I always do my own thing. I don’t like to collab with a whole bunch of people. It’s my music my sound and can’t nobody do it how I do it so I just try to keep it simple. But sometimes I’ll be able to hear someone on a track and think they’d be cool to get.
So which is dropping first, Free Crack II or your album, “The Book?”
I’m going to drop Free Crack II, then maybe the EP or a street album. Still trying to figure some of it out.
Now that you’ve gotten everyone’s attention what do you plan on doing?
I’m going to continue to drop the best music I can put out. Basically working man, I want to set up my own tour maybe this year. I want to go to Canada, The UK, Pittsburgh, San Fran and New York cause they always show love. Then I’d probably start on my album next year.