08 June 2020

"Social Distancing" by Lil Baby (2020)

ATL rap music has come a long way from the days of Outkast, like now you can even understand what a nigga is saying.  But I ain't trying to diss Outkast, who in 2003 actually dropped one of the top-selling rap albums of all-time.  Rather the point is say that in New York for instance, niggas wasn't really trying to fukwit Outkast like that.  They had a unique sound which obviously a lot of people dug.  But they weren't the type of gangsta rappers that some segments of the hip-hop populace prefer, nay, even demand.  Or another way of looking at it is that they weren't universal as rappers but blew up more along the lines of pop artists, as illustrated by what I guess would be my favorite Outkast track ever, "Hey Ya!" (2003).

But in the years since a number of quality hip-hop artists who are straight up rappers, indeed some of the best in the game, have come from the ATL.  One name that pops in my head most often in that regard is Future.  But then in these last couple of years, post-Migos so to speak, there have been a new-wave of rappers ascending from Black Mecca such as Gunna and the one we will be focusing on today, his homey Lil Baby.

The cover to Lil Baby's most-recent album, My Turn.
In late February Lil Baby dropped his sophomore studio album, which is entitled My Turn (2020).  Recently I came across the lyrics to one of the many songs, Social Distancing, which is on the project.  And I felt a need to examine it since I am pretty sure it partially speaks to a well-publicized incident the rapper was recently involved in.


Lil Baby uses the first verse primarily to brag about his wealth and hardcore street affiliations.  And that's something else about the evolution of ATL rap that I forget to mention above - that in more recent years the rappers seem to have become a lot more violent than say Outkast or the Goodie Mob.  But basically, by the conclusion of the verse there are two aspects of Lil Baby's existence which the listener is made well aware of.  One is that he is in fact paid.  And secondly he runs with "apes and some baby gorillas", as in some really-wild, violent dudes.

Then in the chorus he states that he is "social distancing", i.e. the title of the song.  Genius has concluded that this is metaphor for him having a superior social standing to his rivals.  And considering the second line of the chorus that explanation is viable.  However I believe there's more to it than that.

My personal opinion is that Lil Baby is perhaps putting forth the idea that he wants to excommunicate himself from everybody, save his shorty, as he mentions in the middle of the second verse.  In other words yes, he appreciates and trusts his homeys.  But at the same time he understands that he's in an environment where you can get 'triple-crossed'.  And he goes on to explain that the same niggas who'll show you love are the same ones who can turn around and try to do you, which is well known reality of living in the 'hood.

Now here's my conspiracy theory concerning the matter - the reason that Lil Baby is hinting that he may move away even from his homeys is because at times they can be too rowdy for him to control.  And I base this theory on a recent event which was reported by MediaTakeOut whereas his homeys allegedly jumped another Atlanta-based rapper, that being the Migos' own Offset.

According to MediaTakeOut Offset (left) and Lil Baby (right)
recently had beef, though not directly with each other.

Now I know some of you may have just read that statement and was like 'wait a minute, aren't Lil Baby and Offset signed to the same label'?  That in fact they are, which would be Quality Control Music.  In fact you can say that at the current moment the Migos are Quality Control's poster child.  That is why, once again according to MTO, the dude you hear beefing on the video is Lil Baby himself.

'What video', you ask?  That would be the video they posted on 11 March 2020 of an alleged altercation between Offset and Lil Baby's homeys, which actually occurred a few days prior (circa 1 March).  According to one of the commenters Offset did not have beef with Lil Baby but rather one of his homeys, another rapper named 42 Dugg.  Or more specifically, the prevailing rumor is that Offset was in a gambling debt of tens of thousands of dollars to 42 Dugg.  And when he made like he wasn't going to pay up, dudes decided to take the law into their own hands.  Lil Baby himself did not participate in the beating.  But once again, he's the one who is allegedly complaining near the end, for as you would imagine a person wouldn't necessarily approve of his homeys beating up his more-powerful label mate and sometimes collaborator - i.e. another homey, so to speak.

Lil Baby himself went on to label these reports as "fake news".  But people aren't really buying it due to other evidence, like the fact that there were eyewitnesses and shortly before or after Lil Baby and Offset reportedly stop following each other's accounts on social media.

Now according to that same aforementioned commenter it was actually Offset, in an act of vengence, who was behind the shooting that took place at Lil Baby's concert in Birmingham on 8 March.  But here's the funny thing - according to the way the news reports it, this is another incident in which Lil Baby's homeys, not himself, were involved.  And it does not seem as if they were fighting with Offset or anyone from the Migos.  Rather they had beef with the promoters of the show that somehow ended up with one person sustaining life-threatening gunshot wounds.

A scene from the chaos that ensued after a shooting at Lil Baby's
concert in Birmingham, Alabama on 8 March 2020.
So I'm not saying that Lil Baby will actually pack up one day and bounce on his homeys.  But with sh*t like this going on around you, any rational personal would at least contemplate getting away from it all - or "social distancing" as the rapper would say.


This very track was published by Quality Control Music as well as 4PF, a label which Lil Baby is recognized as the leader of and whom the selfsame 42 Dugg is signed to.

Lil Baby wrote this track himself along with its producers, Section 8 and Chi Chi.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of information available on those artists outside of the fact that most of the popular songs they've released thus far have been with Lil Baby or other 4PF rappers.

And going back to Lil Baby's My Turn album, it did in fact top the Billboard 200 as well as Billboard's Top Rap Albums and Top R&B Hip-Hop Albums charts.  It also charted in some countries which a lot of people may not suspect a hardcore rap album to hit in, such as Switzerland and deadass Estonia.  And it should be noted that "Social Distancing" itself didn't come out 'til 1 May, as it is featured on the Deluxe Edition of the album.  And My Turn went on to be certified Platinum in the US on 15 May 2020.


Ever since the days of Tupac vs. Biggie especially rap music has been a genre in which conflicts between popular artists have become more pronounced and even to some degree more encouraged.  But here's to hoping that Lil Baby and Offset can put their differences behind them.

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