Neither the 175 mile-per-hour wind gusts of Hurricane Katrina nor her catastrophic twisters that left miles of land in ruin, nor the tons of waters that swallowed parts of the Gulf Coast could shake the foundation of New Orleans’ newest musical sensation, Baby Boy Da Prince. Enduring through the hunger, ravishing summer heat, disease-infested flood waters and overall governmental neglect, this West Bank survivor would let nothing move him.
“I was in the storm. I was in the canoe boat. I was in the water. I never left New Orleans”, Baby Boy Da Prince protests. “I’m here, and I got a major story for them. But I didn’t want to talk about it on the album because it was too hard for me at the time of recordings. It was a tragedy. It was devastation”.
Instead of focusing on the negative, Baby Boy Da Prince put his energies into his music, and since baby boys just like to have fun, your highness pulls out his toys on the ballerific single The Way I Live. Expressing arrogant, rich boy rhymes and the unorthodox humor of a street corner comedian over mid-tempo production accented by breezy guitar strums, Baby Boy Da Prince rides candy-painted big wheels in the French Riviera. Creating a stir across the Gulf Coast and southwest, the song has become one of the most added songs to radio in those areas.
Now on the verge of his Extreme Entertainment / Universal Republic debut Across the Water, Baby Boy Da Prince is set to bring the party back to the N.O. and prove that there is more to the Crescent City that just the Third Ward.
Explaining the album title, “Across the Water refers to across the Mississippi River, on the West Bank. That’s where I’m from”, Baby Boy Da Prince says. “People from New Orleans that made it never say nothing about the West Bank. We have been getting slept on for so long, and we got a lot of talent over here. I represent the West Bank in almost all of my songs”.
Born 21 years ago in the New Orleans suburb of Marrero, Baby Boy Da Prince always knew he was destined for greatness in the entertainment field. Whether keeping his childhood friends in stitches with slick trash talking, disrupting class with mischievous high school antics or commanding attention at block parties with gravity-defying dances, Baby Boy Da Prince was meant to have his name in bright lights.
“I got into music because I always wanted to be on TV. Not only do I rap, but I’m very comical”, Baby Boy Da Prince confesses. “Music was the first opportunity for me to be successful in entertainment because I was around a lot of rappers”.
One of those rappers in his company was fellow West Bank native Choppa. While still signed to local label Take Foe Records, Choppa approached Baby Boy Da Prince about dancing for him and being a hype man for his show after seeing Baby control the crowd at a local block party. “As soon as I got with Choppa, his career shot off”, Baby Boy remembers.
But after the success of Choppa’s 2001 independent album Choppa Style, Choppa left the label and signed a national deal with Master P, leaving Take Foe without an artist. Naturally, they looked to their in-house crowd pleaser to fill Choppa’s slot. “The label CEOs heard me rap and were like ‘you can be the next big hip hop artist’”, says Baby Boy. “They gave me my first break”.
Baby Boy Da Prince gained his first morsel of fame with the independent release of Like Dat in 2002. Like Dat, the album’s lead single and title track along with follow-up single, Shake A Leg, quickly made Baby Boy a household name across several states. Unfortunately, internal differences forced him to leave the label shortly after the album’s release.
To set up his comeback to the spotlight, Baby Boy Da Prince resurfaced earlier this year with a vengeance with the single The Way I Live. Offering just a small example of what the rest of the album entails Baby Boy fuses chant-like party flows adopted from the local bounce music with a confident swagger on his major label debut Across the Water.
“Atlanta got snap music. The Bay got hyphy. Bounce music was out before all of that happened”, Baby describes his style. “I bounce it and flow it out at the same time, and everybody seems to like my flow”.
His crossbred techniques are best demonstrated on the club-jumping party starter Let Me Slide In, as Baby Boy Da Prince chases skirts with old crony Choppa. Atop a polyrhythmic dance track, Baby jokingly declares, “All I really want is quarters, dimes and eye pieces/ mommas, daughters, aunties and fine nieces/ She can be a little ugly but gotta have fine features/ Just a tad bit oogly but no Halloween creatures”.
And on the mid-tempo banger Rich Boy, Baby boasts matter-of-factly about his lavish lifestyle of more karats than vegetable soup. But just because Baby Boy Da Prince is flyer than a helicopter and can keep a party hype, don’t think he is a pushover. Over guttering production of a chilling string section, suspenseful piano loop chords and deep, 808 drums, Baby switches his subject matter from the club to the block on the robbery epic Who Shee.
Baby Boy Da Prince furthers to pay homage to his musical roots with bounce remixes of five songs on the album. “I come from bounce. I do bounce in the clubs. I know bounce, and I let that out”, Baby Boy sums up. “I ain’t gone lie, bruh, I’m too creative not to do big things”.