Photo by Justin Staple
The self-proclaimed King of Los Angeles Bricc Baby has been making waves since his Atlanta street rap roots with MPA Crew (alongside Peewee Longway) and Kid Ink's Batgang. These days, you're as likely to hear the LA born-and-bred rapper featured on YG’s Still Brazy as you are on a Brodinski track, all the while cutting tracks with Peewee Longway and culling his sound from wherever he sees fit to create the perfect mantra of original gutter music.
Bricc recently came through the VICE LA office for an episode of Noisey Radio on Beats 1, where he discussed working with Gucci Mane, touring with Chris Brown, and the long-awaited release of his solo project Nasty Dealer 2. The "6 Drugs" rapper also talked investing in Uber, the true beginnings of the dab movement, and his forays into the world of EDM.
Listen to the Noisey Radio episode here, and read on for an extended version of our conversation.
NOISEY: For those who don’t know, explain who you are and where you come from.
Bricc Baby: I’m coming from Slauson and Crenshaw in LA. The Crenshaw district the same neighborhood as Nipsey Hussle if you guys are familiar with that, but I stand alone with this, Bricc City Records. I’m associated with Kid Ink, Young Thug and Peewee Longway.
Talk about growing up on Crenshaw and what the music is like there.
I grew up on Slauson and on Adams. Half of my family was in the Jefferson Park district, and I was on Slauson. The music I was listening to coming up was Kurupt, Snoop, Tha Eastsidaz. Because I’m a real LA nigga, we wasn’t really trying to hear any East Coast shit. I always had my hands in Southern music to,o like Lil Jon and all of them. Then when I got into high school I started tuning into the Bay, Mac Dre, he’s my favorite artist. It was a lot of Lil Boosie and Webbie too, anything ratchet we were listening to it. Was just our lifestyle, and we accommodated the music to our lifestyle.
Were you traveling up to the Bay when you were living in LA?
I actually lived in the Bay, buying a lot of weed. I lived in Emeryville. I was in Berkeley for a second, then North Oakland, then I went up to Sac. My boy was going to Sac State so we were up there doing our thing.
How would you describe your relationship with Atlanta?
I started going to Atlanta in 2003. I was in the streets and hooping, but I was still considering college. I graduated school, then came back in 2005 and then I linked up with the people that were running the city when I touched down, so I linked up with Meech and all of those people.
Do you think being around the Bay scene and that Atlanta scene helped influence your sound now?
Not too much of the Bay. I steal Mac Dre’s bars sometimes. The South really put the mark on my music because I wasn’t rapping until I got down there. I didn’t grow up trying to be a rapper. I could always rap when I would pop pills, and we’d freestyle in the car and shit, but I never took it serious. But then we got to Atlanta and the first person that turned me on to how the rap game goes was J-Money. He put me on his first mixtape and I kind of liked it, but I went to jail after that. Then I got out and Peewee was taking rap serious and Empty Eight was already our click name, and we already had Duke who was with Thug, so we were like, "Let’s just go hard with the rap shit." He built his name, I built my name by myself, but we‘re still the same. We don’t want to flood each other's tapes with features.
Talk about your favorite Mac Dre song. Which one motivated you?
“Game for Sell” really motivated me. He has some cool bars in there that I relate to.
Let’s talk about you mixtape Nasty Dealer. Were you surprised by the response of what that project did for you? Did it take you somewhere you felt like you hadn’t been before?
The response to that, just coming from where I’m from—the trap and shit, just nothing, robbing—to where someone is really reaching out respecting your music, it went crazy to me. I don’t care what the numbers were on it, it did good, but “6 Drugs” was the most relevant underground song, and you guys were a part of that, too. All of this motivated me, it showed that I probably can really take off in this rap game, and I’ve been keeping my foot on these people’s throat ever since then. Nasty Dealer 2 will probably go down as a classic after that.
Did everything else stop for you after that, and you were like “I’m just going to focus on music now”?
Everything stopped. My manager is more than a manager. He’s like a big brother and mentor, so we had some talks and he was like, “You need to chill out, there’s going to be money coming from this music, you’re hard.” I learned that I’m going to make it happen. I wasn’t really taking anything from anybody, I was going to the studio day in and day out, then it just started paying off and I’ve invested into a few other things. I just bought my first house—out the way, gated community, big pool. No deal, by the way. Shout out to rappers who have a deal who can’t live where I live!
Talk about what gave you the idea and the confidence to work with Sam Tiba and some of these different dance and electronic producers?
I do drugs. I don’t care what beat comes on, I’m going in. I do molly, Percocets, lean, Xans. I smoke weed and sometimes I might fuck with that nasty ass alcohol, but I don’t care. If it’s a bassline to it and I can catch a flow, it’s over with. I don’t care if it’s EDM, rap, a singing song, just give me a gap to where I can catch a flow and it’s over. That’s just how I feel about music. The first one we did was “Bury Me,” and that’s the hardest one on my mom. I did that fucking around. That was my first EDM shit. It was that and “51 Bandz (Remix),” and I started liking those type of beats.
Sam Tiba is French. Was there ever a culture gap or language gap working with them?
The first day when we were at Red Bull Studios, they were talking to me because they were trying to speak English, and I was just like “Yup, yeah?”—that’s like your go to answer when you don’t understand what people are saying. But I went overseas once before I met them, so I was used to it. But certain stuff I’d be talking about, or speaking slang, they didn’t get it, but ever since then we got chemistry. We’ve just been rolling out and we’re going to continue to do that. He turned me onto a whole other world. Shout out DJ Snake though, because he’s actually killer.
Talk about what you’ve been doing since, and this Nasty Dealer 2 project.
There’s been a lot of ups and downs. Nasty Dealer 2, sorry for the wait man. That shit was supposed to come out last year, but the power moves I made in between, I’m not mad at all for sitting out for a year. But it’ll never be like that for the fans again. I got so much music for y’all still. I’m going to be hosting a lot of mixtapes that’s not mine just to give my fans the full whole year they missed of me being in the studio fighting this little case or whatever. But putting this together, I’m on tour with Chris Brown, Kid Ink, Migos, and Fetty Wap. I made so many relationships and power moves and of course my brother Thug is always going to come through in the clutch, no question about that. I got Fetty on the tape, I got Chris on the tape.
Also, no disrespect to MadeinTYO. I had the “Uber” song way before him but the case stopped it from coming out. His song is dope, but I don’t want people to say I heard a Uber song, bit it, and then did that. He didn't hear mine, I didn’t hear his, salute him and I wish the best success for him. I just wanted to clear that up now before this record gets in rotation. “Remix” with Fetty and Thug, that’s probably going to be the one that goes crazy. This new shit is just going to be real fun for everybody when they hear it, how my flow has developed, and where I’m at now with this shit.
Real quick, shout out 21 Savage and my boy Reese. 21 is my real little nigga. I call him for advice, he calls me for advice. We talk like everyday man. Shout out 21, he’s the hardest nigga in Atlanta right now.
Talk about building out what you wanted for your label Bricc City while the personal stuff is going on. Was it stressful?
Everything is going to be stressful because you want the best for everything. But I went through a lot of shit. I got an ego problem. I’m the king of LA, and if you come to the city and don’t acknowledge me, I may get in my feelings because this is my city. So this shit gets stressful. But Bricc City, I had to sit down and realize there’s ups and downs, but when you got your brothers with you it’s good.
Talk about “Trap Out the Uber” and your relationship with Chris Brown?
I like Uber, it’s a great company. I invested stock in them. But “Trap Out the Uber” is self explanatory. Why would you take the risk driving when someone else can do it for you? And that’s just where I was at. Me and my camera man James were about to shoot the video that day, then Chris ended up hopping on the shit. He went in on the hook and he put a verse on there. He fell in love with the song like I did. When he comes back from Europe, you should be expecting a movie and that’s it.
You touched on “Touchdown” a bit earlier and spoke about how Guwop helped you guys out, and now he’s free. Speak a little bit on that and how that song came about.
If you’re a real street nigga, you can get the gist of “Touchdown.” Everybody uses that term. I was out three months before he went to jail. “Touchdown” was already out, and me and Peewee hadn’t collabed in a while, with him on the road and me overseas, so we had never had time. But as soon as we got in the studio, he ripped it, he went crazy.
Is it still great to be making music with Peewee after all these years?
Yeah, it’s always a movie when we’re together. We are two assholes, and we just get high and have fun. We started all the lingo they’re running with now, but we’re the original lobby runners. We started the dab. It wasn’t even a dance. Motherfuckers started calling it the dab, because when we get high off the molly in the club, it gets you floating. So one night I told Peewee, “Boy, you just dabbed out that motherfucker like Kurtis Blow.” We originated that though. We turned Atlanta to California. But yeah, it’s a pleasure to be around someone that I’ve made money with on both sides. We’ve been down for each other for a while.
Talk about connecting with Fetty Wap.
I connected with Fetty because I had a little deal on the table for “6 Drugs” and it was from the same dude that signed Fetty over there at 300. I saw that Fetty was added on the tour, so we went to Paterson, New Jersey during the tour. I called Fetty and was like, “I’m about to pull up.” We go in there and we just bonded. The tour was 45 days, so we all became like one. There weren’t any problems on that tour, so he came out here and we booked a session. We’ve got like three together. So then I go to Atlanta and hit my brother Thug like, “I got a song with Fetty, I want you to put a third verse on there, it’s going to be a movie.” Twenty minutes later, the song is complete. I send it to my engineer and now we’re “Remix’n A Brick.”
You got the track “Fuck It Up” with Savage. Talk about that track a little bit, where did y’all record that?
We recorded that record on the Chris Brown tour. We’re in the studio recording, and skateboard Reese out of the A pulled up and laid the hook down. Then Kid Ink was fucking with the song, so he hopped on there and put a verse. This was my first time really meeting 21. I knew him as little man from back in the day, but I’d never interact with him because of the age difference. He was young, but he pulled up and knocked that verse out in ten minutes. I think it’s one of the top verses he has out—I won’t say ever, but it’s definitely in the top of the verses he’s ever spit. And shit, yeah, we just knocked it out. That was a loaded situation.