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On the track "Lil Wardy" from his March-released project Digital, Suitland, Maryland rapper Baby 9eno spends just over three minutes celebrating the fact that he's made it this far in his life, all while recounting the hardships that make being a survivor so special. The melodic number stood out from the other seven songs on the project, which were mostly high-octane tales from the streets, and it suggested that 9eno could display dimensions to his artistry that'd separate him from the ever-expanding pool of rappers in the DMV. Over the past two years, 9eno's released three projects, often collaborating with some of his area's brightest standouts like D.C.'s Big Don Bino, Largo, Maryland's Q Da Fool, and Balimore's A$AP Ant. What makes him stand out is the hushed tone to his delivery, which often thrives on clever one-liners.
Today, the rapper's newest song and video "Letter To The Homies" is premiering on The FADER. Much like "Lil Wardy," the song is an example of what 9eno can do when he digs deeper into himself as it covers losing close friends, his life as a father, and honoring his mom. The song will be featured on the rapper's new project TG9, which is set to release on September 11. During a recent phone call, 9eno talked about the track, his new tape, and what he hopes listeners will gain from his work.
On “Letter to the Homies” you talk about friends you’ve had disputes with, your kids, your mother. Going into it, did you set out to talk about your life or did it just come to you?
I was in that mood that night. Me being in that mood, I was thinking about my men and shit got deep and I just started going off, saying how I feel. I pulled that shit from the heart.
I like this song and tracks of yours like “Lil Wardy” because I get to understand who you are as a person. What usually leads to you baring it all?
It depends on how I feel. I might have had a good day in the trap and the trap did numbers, so I’ma talk about how much packs I sold if I go to the studio. If I was in beef at that time and a shootout happen, I’ma talk about that. I can get in that booth and not be in the mood to talk about shit.
I got hip to you about two years ago when the DMV scene started to really catch fire, but how long were you active before then?
I been rapping since like 2012-2013. I had a nice little run back then. I used to play around with it when I was a little younger with my man Lil Wheat. He got killed to the streets from gun violence. But I fucked around and caught a charge for something I didn't do. I got locked up for kidnapping and armed robbery. I was looking at 50-something years. Had to pay a lawyer 10 bands to beat the case. It was a mistaken identity. I sat down for 13-14 months, came home in 2014 and I really wasn’t into the music. But everybody around me was telling me to get back on it. Then I had linked up with Big Don Bino, who blew up last year. That’s when the glow started.
“Letter to the Homies” is gonna be on your new project, TG9, which drops next week. What would you say the overall feel of the tape is?
I’m not even gonna hold you, this gotta be the best body of work I’ve put together. Every track — I don’t even know what the best track is. Whatever the next track is, it’s gonna blend so smooth that you won’t even wanna skip a track.
Do you feel it’s your best work because of you having more experience as an artist now, or is it because of something particular you were going through while making it?
This was the best because I took my time with it and I got everything on there: I got songs for females, I got trap shit on there, I got struggle on there. I got every angle on there. Got some drill on there for you. The only thing I ain’t doing on there is singing.
What would you want people’s main takeaway to be from TG9?
I would want people to take they time and listen, not just the beat, but listen to what I’m saying. Some of them songs I give messages, some of them songs are teaching lessons, some of these songs are telling you about my life, and some of these songs I’m tryna guide these young niggas the right way. I’m not rapping about just anything. I’m telling you what comes with the street life. I’m telling you, you lose all your men; I lost every friend I grew up with. Everybody I grew up with is dead or locked up. And I just want these young niggas to realize that’s what the streets get you. I’m just one of the ones that survived. Know what you doing before you do it.