Q&A: Big Baby Gandhi On Rap Battling At Nine, Rebelling In The Facebook Era, And Getting Das Racist's Attention With Negative YouTube Comments
"Gandhi Mandhi was the name that they called him/ Now the honeys call me Young Kama Sutra/ Old white people real mad 'cause I'm the future." That cheeky rap is from "Boogie Nights," a jubilant track on Das Racist affiliate Big Baby Gandhi's recent mixtape No1 2 Look Up 2. The free tape is packed with similarly cocksure boasts and showcases the 22-year-old Queens resident's fleet flow and cheeky belief in his own abilities as a rap figure.
While taking a break out from ferrying a friend's relatives around town for a wedding, the B.B.G. holed up in the Williamsburg bar Ontario to talk about how his prickly comments on Das Racist's YouTube videos helped snag him a deal, the difference between the young and elderly versions of Jay-Z and Nas, and why he'd readily sign up to work with Queens' hometown anti-hero 50 Cent.
How did you get involved with Das Racist and Greedhead?
I used to leave YouTube comments and just shit on their music. I'd be like, "You guys are good, I like these two songs, but this sucks." I feel like maybe Dapwell respected that. I used to think I knew everything about rap and stuff. I was also in my curating phase, figuring out what was good and bad.
What name did you post the comments under?
I had this username Fred-MS. I had this tag that was Fred, like after the [Brazilian] soccer player, because everyone's tag was SCAR or some hard shit, so I made like this KRS-One style acronym.
What did Fred-MS break down as?
It was Freely Rebelling Every Day Moving Silently. But I feel like I'm maybe one of the few people my age who took KRS-One seriously. A lot of that positive old school rap like Poor Righteous Teachers, I took it really seriously: Yes, this is true, those guys are prophets, they are speaking for the people!
So you didn't like Das Racist's music at first?
It was the thing where at first I heard them and then I didn't really get it. It was on this dude's Dallas Penn's site and he posted something up and I was like, "Yo, they have talent but they should do this." So I sent Dap a thing I did on YouTube where I did a remix and sent him a bunch of beats. It wasn't like a hateful thing, more like me being very honest. I wasn't afraid of them or anything.
When did you first get to meet them?
This was like December 2010. The first time I met them I went through the studio while they were recording Relax. They were the first real rap dudes I met that was professional, so I was just trying to learn it all, soak it in. They're really good people, they really supported me a lot. I didn't think anyone would fuck with me. I just feel like I really hit them up before they really blew up and started riding the wave with them.
Is is true you actually lived in the same building as Heems?
It was the same building in Flushing, Colden Towers. It was in a Large Professor music video once. He's on the rooftop rapping and it shows that building in the background.
Did you see Large Pro around Flushing then?
I never seen him. I saw 50 Cent once when I was young. He came through the neighborhood. That was before he was really big. He used to have all his videos on Queens public TV. I was a 50 Cent fan before he hooked up with Dre, before he went to jail even. It was the songs like "Life's On The Line"when that came out it was really big and all my friends liked it even though we knew he wasn't famous. He was mad funny; everybody loved him. A lot of people hate him now, but I see him as the dude from back then when he was chubby. I'd love to work with 50.
Did you get to meet 50 Cent?
I was about 11 years old, and he was walking around talking to people and they were like, "Yo, that's him!" He was just talking to friends. I kinda wanted to meet him but I also didn't realize that he would be 50 Cent or anything. But I would love to meet 50 now, and be like, "Yo, you influenced me a lot, keep doing your thing." I'd love to work with him. I sent a bunch of beats to his A&R before I hooked up with Greedhead, but it didn't pan out.