BAKA NOT NICE
Toronto rapper & Drake protege preps for success
by Justin Horowitz
In a rapidly expanding trap culture, getting lost in the background of the music world is easy. For some artists, being featured on an all-star's hot new track can make a career and bring new talent to the spotlight. For Toronto's next up and coming trapper, Baka Not Nice, that spotlight may just be within real.
Baka Not Nice has been knee deep on the Canadian rap scene much longer than most hip-hop fans know. Starting out as Drake's security guard and close friend, Baka got the chance to expand his musical talents with small background vocal opportunities on some of Drake's most popular tracks, including "From Time" (2013), "Free Smoke" (2017) and "Gyalchester" (2017).
While Baka and Drake have had ties for years, Baka tends to get himself into legal trouble more often than his veteran counterpart. Flashing back to 2014, Baka was arrested and incarcerated for "forcing a 22 year old woman into prostitution, assaulting her, and taking her money." While Baka pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman, charges of human trafficking were dropped after the victim refused to testify in court. Ultimately, Baka was sentenced to six months in jail, but was allowed to walk free after already having had spent ten months incarcerated after the initial arrest while waiting on trial.
On April 7th, 2015, Baka walked free from prison and was subsequently offered a sign-on deal with Drake's record label, OVO Sound. Now looking towards the future, Baka has been dropping singles left and right. With releases such as "I Am Who I Am," "Money In The Bank," "Live Up To My Name" and "Junior High" all dropping within the last year and a half, Baka is lining up his singles to create his first officially confirmed mixtape, 4Milli.
For 39 year old Baka, this release with OVO Sound is the opportunity he really needs. Being able to freestyle and prove yourself in person is no longer what makes an up and coming rapper. With more tech-savvy artists using sites like SoundCloud to widely distribute and promote their music, performers are gaining clout from around the globe without having to be there physically. With only minimal social media recognition and a couple of SoundCloud tracks, Baka will have to begin to brand himself as an artist worth following. For an almost-40-year-old, making yourself a standout name in the music industry will be difficult, but not impossible.
While there's no official release date or track list set for the mixtape, Baka fans are patiently waiting to see what he's been working on. Junior High, Baka's most recent single as of June 15th, 2018, is a showcase of the rapper's campaign towards making himself known. Baka utilizes a slow, bass heavy flow with authentically simple lyrics that get him straight to his point. With lyrics like "I keep big wads in my pocket now / I count a hundred 'cause I'm poppin' now (yeah) / I don't drive, I take car service now," it's obvious how aware Baka is of his uphill prosperity.
"Junior High" may sound boasty, but that's the exact persona Baka Not Nice is going for. On his third released single, "I Am Who I Am," Baka successfully attempts to create a wishful, unique identity. On this track, we hear Baka claim "they don't wanna see me "pop style" / They gon' see me come and drop down / And she don't wanna see me pop now." This "pop style" reference is Baka's pursuit in clarifying that while he and Drake are close pals, fans need not expect any dancehall-pop hits from this trapper. Lyrically, this track may get a little repetitive expressing "I am who I am, yeah (yah, yah, yah) / Because I am who I am, yeah (yah, yah, yah)," but there is no denying that Baka's smooth flow and high production quality on this song will make it a standout on 4Milli.
This isn't the only track on the upcoming tape that suggests potential. Baka's first single under his own name, "Live Up to My Name," is a true testament of how bad-ass Baka really is. After spending such a long stint in prison, this track recognizes the freedoms he now embraces. From drinking Hennessy, to coitus, to showing off his expensive guns, Baka Not Nice used his inaugural drop to build status and establish himself as a player to recognize.
Immediately following the release of "Live Up to My Name," Baka dropped his second single, "Money in the Bank." Similarly to his first track, this song elaborates on Baka's time in jail and just how satisfying freedom is. Baka doesn't hold back when it comes to bragging about his new life, expressing that "my lawyer and the judge are playing 9 holes (woo, woo) / Got some new chains just to stun you haters." Whether true or not, Baka is telling us point blank that not even a criminal past will be holding him back from his opportunity to be a household name.
Baka has a lot more work to do when it comes to promotion, distribution, and diversity of his themes, but it's clear that with a longtime friend like Drizzy, a strong motivational drive, and a fantastic record deal with OVO Sound, Baka Not Nice has been set up nicely with a future in the rap industry. And remember, you heard it here first.
Hear Baka Not Nice on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/baka-682510593
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