2021 TIME100 Next
Kenneth Cappello
By Killer Mike
February 17, 2021 6:55 AM EST

I learned about Lil Baby from my niece—when my nieces and nephews tell me about someone, I tune in. What a rich, bluesy voice. But I became a true fan after hearing Lil Baby in interviews. He spoke with the wisdom of an old soul that’s also apparent in his lyrics. His song “The Bigger Picture,” released last summer following the killing of George Floyd, is all about nuance and judgment. Others may simply say, “F the police,” but Lil Baby is brave enough to be different: his lyrics note that change may not happen overnight, but we have to start somewhere. The song encourages people to seek understanding, not more misunderstanding, which leads to further anger, pain and violence.

Lil Baby also embodies Atlanta. He went to Booker T. Washington High School, which is named for the famed educator and counts Martin Luther King Jr. and Lena Horne among its alumni—and went back to donate $150,000 in scholarships to open up opportunities for students. He will carry on this city’s tradition: taking what he makes from music and investing in his community. Atlanta has actively participated in—and dominated—music for the past 20 years. Lil Baby will be the tip of the spear that drives Atlanta to the forefront of American—and global—music.

Killer Mike is a Grammy Award–winning musical artist and activist

EDIT POST