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SahBabii Is the Next Atlanta Rapper Who Is Going to Teach You How to Float Off to a New Dimension

"Pull Up With Ah Stick" is a breakout hit, and it's only the tip of the iceberg for this inventive young Atlanta rapper.

"Melodic Sounds NO TRAP BEATS !" That's a request the new most exciting rapper out of Atlanta, SahBabii, tweeted a couple nights ago, immediately tipping his hand as far as what in fact makes him so exciting. Imagine Young Thug set loose in the Care Bears universe. Imagine trap music for people who take naps in clouds—and the trap is a pillow factory. Imagine a piano concerto in a playground ball pit, and the piano is made out of marshmallows. Also 21 Savage is there, but he's holding one of those giant teddy bears you win at the fair (SahBabii shouts out 21's Slaughter Gang on his biggest single, apparently as a nod to the guest, 21 affiliate Loso Loaded). Perhaps you're beginning to get the idea.


SahBabii released his tape SANDAS last fall, but it's really begun to blow up in the last couple weeks thanks to the momentum of "Pull Up With Ah Stick," a dreamy single that makes shooting guns sound like collapsing into a duvet. Artists including Kehlani, Metro Boomin, several members of Two-9, and, uh, Bow Wow, have publicly enthused about SahBabii, and he's hinted on Twitter that Young Thug and Travis $cott are fans as well. There's a great video of the single playing before a recent Migos show to an extremely hyped crowd. The song's actual video, which features enough guns to equip a small army, has amassed over 2 million views in less than two weeks. It's also intriguing: SahBabii, true to his name, has a baby face and braces, as well as tons of tattoos, giving him an obvious allure that will make people want to know more. And with numbers like that we're heading toward bona fide viral hit territory and the hype cycle that accompanies this kind of thing. There's no better time to have a viral, sonically inventive rap hit spread than two weeks before SXSW, either; I could see it being this year's version of a song like Young Thug's "Danny Glover." Look for SahBabii playing a VFiles event near you very soon.

However, the attention is entirely deserved. "Pull Up With Ah Stick" is a fascinating track, with production that is gentle to the point that there are large stretches with no drums at all. One of the signatures of the hook is SahBabii doing swooning Auto-Tuned vocal runs of "ooh-ooh" in the background, his robot falsetto setting a new benchmark for the sound. It reminds me quite a bit of Dej Loaf's "Try Me," another hit that was good enough to launch a career and land a record deal, and Post Malone's "White Iverson," a song that did numbers that we in the biz like to call "bananas."


SahBabii also the logical extension of the burgeoning Atlanta sound that I've been harping on over the past few months, the next progression of the soothing melodicism that you hear in music like Lil Yachty's most experimental songs, Quavo's solo features like "Good Drank," and Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles." Rap and specifically trap is increasingly interested in this gentle, ambient sonic direction, particularly as far as the juxtaposition of that sound and super hard themes. When we talk about things like Lil Yachty being the future of music, what we're really talking about is this Ambien-core sound—soft lullaby and cartoon beats paired with swaths of Auto-Tune intended above all to sound pretty—being teased out in new directions.

With SahBabii, the obvious comparison point is Young Thug, particularly given the resemblance between Thugger's voice and SahBabii's own high-pitched croak. He raps with a similar acrobatic dexterity, using his voice as though he stumbled across a toy chest full of weird new instruments. As I see it, though, he is more accurately the first real post-Young Thug rapper. A couple songs like "Only Knew 1 Way" literally sound like early Young Thug loosies, and that's a good thing.

Furthermore, while "Pull Up With Ah Stick" is awesome, it's not a fluke in the way viral hits so often are. If anything, the rest of SANDAS is even more sonically interesting, whether it's the way SahBabii's voice flits around on "Cracks and Crevices," like a soundtrack for a movie about anthropomorphic mice, or the way it just dissolves on "Purple Ape." "Eazy" is like trap Sigur Ros. "King of the Jungle" sounds like a Jeremih song recorded in a greenhouse, the beat made up of skeletal one-note plinks while monkeys chatter in the background. Plus the hook includes the beautifully raunchy line, "it's an animal planet we fuck with no condoms," which, in addition to being totally ridiculous, points to SahBabii's clear talent for song concepts and structure. That's something that new artists often struggle with—SahBabii already has it on lock. He also has a truly stunning sound. He's the clearest progression of Atlanta rap to emerge in recent months, and I think that means that we're about to see, as he suggested, a lot more melody in the trap.

Photo: Screenshot of the "Pull Up With Ah Stick" video via YouTube. 

Kyle Kramer is an editor at Noisey. Follow him on Twitter.