Current status: I’m wiping away the tears from an uproarious bout of gigglefits.
You know, Nick “Swaggy P” Young really had something when he made the perfect facial expression to encapsulate the feeling of “???” because that’s what I’m feeling after watching the following video. Going by the date of the YouTube upload by the radio station, this occurred in May 2019, which makes it a bit dated, but I feel this is evergreen content.
Rapper Haiti Babii appeared on Real 92.3 LA’s show, Bootleg Kev & DJ Hed, and in typical hip-hop radio fashion, he erupted into a freestyle rap. What wasn’t typical, however, was his actual freestyle rap. I’ve seen this pop up several times on my social media feed and every time, it brings me to tears of laughter. So, when my friend Taj dropped it on his Facebook feed, I figured I couldn’t go another day without sharing it with y’all. Because sharing is caring.
Let’s unpack this, shall we? A few thoughts:
- This nigga really cast himself as every single studio edit technique known to man. He basically was like, “Is Pro Tools your king??”
- He really is, like, 20 rappers’ personas at once. One minute he’s coming with the monster energy of DMX and next thing you know, he’s dropping the Kendrick Lamar voices (the helium balloon, y’all!)
- There is a point in the freestyle where he completely breaks and says, “I don’t even gotta rap no more, I’m just gonna use my ad-libs” and proceeds to do just that.
- I’m not going to lie: I used to perform impromptu freestyles alone in my room and they sounded something like this. I was always a sucker for detail so singing everyone’s part (including the ad-libs) was par for the course. I was a whole ass child when I did this though, so take that as you may.
- I kind of want to be a fly on the wall during one of his studio sessions, to be honest.
- The look on DJ Hed’s face at around the 3:52 mark is when I completely lost it. That’s some perfect storytelling, right there. And they keep panning to him after the post-freestyle plug, where he completely breaks the fourth wall with the Swaggy P face. Because, well, can you blame him?!
- After a triumphant air dice-shake, Bootleg Kev says the professional version of what we’re all thinking, “Well. That’s definitely the most unique freestyle experience we’ve ever had.”
- Some of these ad-libs are in now your head, aren’t they? High-High-High-Hiiiiiigh!
According to a comment on the FB page, this rather...eccentric freestyle isn’t a reflection on the quality of his actual material so I decided to do a bit of investigative reporting. I checked out the music videos for “California Haitian” and “King of the North” and can confirm he is not 20 different people. In fact, his music actually kind of knocks. It’s very Cali.
Haiti Babii actually does consider his mouth to be an “instrument,” he confirmed in an interview with BET last year. Plus, the 20-something rapper confirmed that Rihanna gave him her stamp of approval.
“She FaceTimed yesterday morning,” the Stockton, California native said back in May. “She was like, ‘I can feel the island in you. You just have so much soul.’”
So, now comes the ultimate question: this totally dethrones the Black Thought freestyle, right?!