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Yung Gravy & bbno$ on ‘Baby Gravy 3’ and carving their own niche in rap music

As they gear up to release Baby Gravy 3, Yung Gravy & bbno$ tell Rolling Stone UK about the story so far.

By Seth Pereira

(Picture: Dan Counihan)

Last year, the likes of Halsey, Charli XCX and Florence Welch all spoke out about how they’re increasingly beginning to feel like marketeers first, musicians second.

In Halsey’s case, they memorably made a TikTok claiming they weren’t allowed to release a song because their label wants to “make a fake viral moment on TikTok” for it. “Basically, I have a song that I love that I wanna release ASAP but my record label won’t let me,” they explained.

“I’ve been in this industry for eight years and I’ve sold over 165 million records and my record company is saying that I can’t release it unless they can fake a viral moment on TikTok.”

Enter Yung Gravy & bbno$, then, who have seemingly managed to find the sweet spot between viral fame and having fun with their music. Both artists are keen to goof around on TikTok with millions of followers, but they have come together to deliver something that’s greater than the sum of their solo parts.

As the duo Baby Gravy (a combo of both their monikers), each artists manages to deliver their own style and fusion. Gravy is well known for blending of Phonk (a subgenre of hip hop and trap music) with an eclectic mix of funk and soul samples from the 50s & 60s, while bbno$’s off kilter instrumentals and lyrical quips has won him a huge following.

Their journeys began while they were both still university students, making music simply out of enjoyment and uploading it onto Soundcloud. The aim was always to have fun, and to inject the music with that same essence. Never poe-faced, Baby Gravy’s tongue in cheek approach means there really are no barriers for entry for their listenership, and we’re welcomed with open arms to bask in the pure unadulterated escapism.

To get a better understanding of how they’ve carved out this lane for themselves, and to find out more about their latest project Baby Gravy 3; we sat down with Yung Gravy & bbno$ and picked their brains.

Why were you drawn to music as a creative outlet?

bbno$ – “I broke my back in grade 12, and I used to be a competitive swimmer. So unfortunately what happened was I was very depressed cause I wasn’t able to do physical activity, and then I started writing poetry just like as an outlet, and it kinda turned into me making music”

Yung Gravy – “Since high school I was always really into Hip Hop, and soul music; and it was sort of a hobby to find new music, I was just a guy who people would give the AUX cord to or whatever. I was a big music fan, but I was going to college and kinda became an entrepreneur and started a lot of little businesses, and was even helping other businesses with branding, but I never thought it would be possible to be a rapper cause there aren’t a lot that come out of Minnesota or Wisconsin. But I finally got the balls to do it when I saw artists blowing up on Soundcloud, so I started doing music on the side, but I liked my job a lot, I didn’t want people to know and I was kinda embarrassed, i didn’t tell anyone and I hid my face. I was making music like that for about two years, before I finally revealed my identity cause the music was big enough.”

What was it like creating back in the early days? And is there anything you miss?

Yung Gravy – “I kinda miss when we were doing Soundcloud and our own distribution. You could just kinda drop stuff whenever you wanted, and it didn’t take as much planning so we would be dropping songs every couple weeks, just singles, no albums just keep dropping singles and end up putting them onto an EP somehow. There was also no stress of people like looking at you, expecting something.”

bbno$ – “I guess like the simplicity of our careers, like we didn’t do shows, so all of the shit we just had to do was just internet based. We didnt really have a team, it was kinda just us so we were just learning as we were going. When you first start doing something its always the most fun, but I will say, our jobs are fucking fantastic and I have a lot of fun still, fundamentally the ethos of bbno$ is have as much fun as you humanly can and thats the only thing that matters.”

Yung Gravy, I know in particular were very protective of your music and you weren’t really looking to collaborate. What was it about meeting bbno$ that changed this?

Yung Gravy –  “We met through Soundcloud DMs, and were friends and kinda supported each other. But I was just kinda on this “I dont wanna collab with anybody” vibe, but then I started hearing more and more of his music and he’d send me stuff, and we got closer, I kinda looked up to him as like a mentor, but also I just heard the flows and lyrics, and started to realise that it would work and it made sense, and then I began finding beats to put him on.”

bbno$ – “And then I would never like them!”

Yung gravy – “I remember the song ‘Boomin’, I loved that beat, and I sent it to him and I was like bro this is sick, like you should record on this its gonna be fucking fire. And then he took so long, and didn’t like it, and said it was bad, and it ended up becoming like our biggest song!”

How have you guys managed to cultivate such a cult fan base?

Yung Gravy -“Originality, and having a strong brand helps.I was sort of strategic about keeping themes and motifs in all my music and coming back to the same things. Like I’ve mentioned my dentist throughout my whole career, and I’ll bring her back up all the time, or like i have a whole trilogy of songs, it was a trilogy at first but now theres like eight of them, of songs named after a particular mom name.

“And like little things where I reference previous songs, stuff like that makes people feel like they’re part of something and its like a community. With regards to Baby Gravy, I think its just our social presence of us just being besties, I think that gets people excited too, cause we just seem like normal dudes.” 

bbno$ – “I feel like as corny as this may sound dude, we always make objectively decent music, and I was watching Pharrell say some shit recently, like look if your musical career ain’t taking off, its because of the music. Just make decent sounding music, and be original and you will be successful.”

Has rap music become too serious?

Yung Gravy – “There were artists before us that were saying like fun shit. I don’t think we were ever like going for like comedy rap thing like Lil Dicky, but there were other rappers before us that would you know put some humour in their bars like 2 Chainz for example. But it was definitely not common, and a lot of the lyrical content in popular rap can very serious and negative a lot of the time, but I think its changed. I think since we made music, not because of us (maybe a tiny bit), but the sort of funny bars have kind of become more prominent.” 

bbno$ – “It’s funny insanely witty, like bars that you’re like what the fuck, why would anyone say that? I feel thats more prominent than serious lyrical spiritual miracle rap, I feel its just funnier too. Also like coming up with these really ridiculous lyrics, I’m gonna be honest, I feel like its just more difficult. It’s hard, like it’s not easy, and I also think that everyone can just get down with laughing.”

Do you guys feel that you’ve helped change the perception of what it means to be a rapper?

bbno$ – “To some extent. I mean, do I think we’re like crazy influential, no. But there are some people that probably started making music because of us. You know, I started making music because of  people like SadBoys and TeamSESH and shit like that. I was like if they can do it then why can’t I? So, we’re sort of the the new generation. 

Yung Gravy – “I feel like people definitely copied our styles for sure, which is a good feeling. I mean there’s a few people that I don’t even need to name that have directly ripped my shit before, and thats a good feeling, we have children.” 

(Picture: Sir John)

It’s been two years since the last one, what has the process putting together Baby Gravy 3 been like?

bbno$ – “Dude like honestly, like practically the exact same as the last one. But we had more of a budget to make doper music videos. Thats it really, like nothing has really changed, we’re just a littler busier.”

Yung Gravy – “We did a lot of it in LA, and I also think we’ve just gotten better at making music. Like the first album was different cause it was all remote and we were just sending beats and we weren’t doing anything from scratch. Baby Gravy 2, a few of them we made on the spot, but I think like this one is the most hands on by far that we’ve been than on any previous projects.” 

 BABY GRAVY 3 out August 25th, pre-save/add here: