Interview: Baby Tate Explains How Her Family Encouraged Her Love Of Hip-Hop
In 2022, Baby Tate has been stepping on necks and isn’t taking any prisoners.
The Decatur, Georgia native is in the midst of a strong run and is looking to make 2023 her biggest year yet. Back in September, she dropped her latest project Mani/Pedi, and on it, she gets personal and puts in their place anyone trying to step to her.
“B***h, look at you (Look at you) / Look at me (Look at me) / I know that you see the difference, b***h,” she raps on the song “Difference.”
It’s this self-admitted pettiness she relays in her latest music that reveals the scars of someone who’s been hurt in the past, mixed with the confidence to overcome a lot of what she’s been through.
And it’s brilliant.
But it’s also the result of someone well-studied in music as Tate both raps and sings – oftentimes within the same song. She comes from a family who introduced her to classic soul, disco, hip-hop, funk, and more at a young age. It also doesn’t hurt to have a musically gifted mother.
Dionne Farris gave birth to Tate Sequoya Farris in 1996 and while her singing ability may have been passed on through genes, it was introducing a lot of her own favorite music to her daughter that provided versatility.
“My mom definitely made sure I was introduced to a lot of music,” Baby Tate said during an interview with BET.com. “And not just my mom, my mom's whole family, like my grandma, my aunt. Every time I would go up to New Jersey, we're listening to Al Green and we're listening to house music. And so for me, I was always exposed to a lot.”
Music wasn’t the only thing Tate has a talent for. While growing up in the Atlanta area, she heavily participated in performing arts, which she now notes is something she’s currently chasing professionally at 26.
“I want to get into acting. I want to get into voice acting,” Tate reveals. “That's definitely something that I frequently do: auditions. Haven't landed a role yet, but that's on the way.”
For Tate, it also doesn’t hurt that she’s been in the company of producing and directing superstar Issa Rae. In 2020, she announced she had signed a recording contract with Rae’s record label Raedio and released two singles from her famed Insecure TV soundtrack. When asked what kind of advice Rae provided her, Tate says it’s often been not far off from what she already focuses on.
“I think the biggest advice Issa has given me has also just been advice that I tell myself, which is just to keep doing me and keep being dope as myself,” she said. “I really appreciate other people appreciating who I am. And just like, don't change that, because what you got is really dope and really solid.”
And when it comes to ascension within her own music, Baby Tate explains that with each project she releases her mindset changes, along with her subject matter.
“I think as people as human beings, we should always be evolving and growing,” she notes. “That was a big factor in making the decision to change my name from Yung Baby Tate to Baby Tate, and so absolutely I go back and listen to some of my old songs sometimes. And you know, there might be a little cringe line in there – something that I just wouldn't say these days. And I'm sure that in a couple of years, I'll listen back and there will be more.”
November is Hip Hop History Month, so on the topic of how the culture changed her life, Tate explains that it’s the people that are the cornerstone of everything.
“I originally fell in love with hip-hop because of the lightheartedness, fun and the storytelling of it,” she says. “People are always like, ‘Oh, this is rap. It's competitive, battle rap. Whoa, eat them up in the booth.’ But for me, I love rap because it's fun. You don't have to take it too seriously all the time. It's definitely a serious art, but the art form is one that can just have joy in it.”
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As for who those artists are, Baby Tate names Monie Love as the first female rapper she fell in love with, along with Left Eye and TLC as a whole, Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj, and then when she got older, Trina – for obvious reasons.
“I fell in love with it through women,” she says, adding that while the business is a business, the music and culture has her excited for what’s next.
“Hip-hop is in a great space and I think that it will continue to evolve and grow into fresh new things,” Tate notes. “It always does. Hip-hop has never stayed the same and I don't think it ever will.”
It’s that notion of evolution from decade to decade, generation to generation that Baby Tate says helps her find her own niche in the music world.
“I think the best way to make great music is to be inspired by other great music,” she explains. “And just find a way to make that your own and bring something fresh and a new perspective to it. Because really, nothing is new under the sun. Everything has kind of been done that will be done. But, you know, it's just like spinning things and making it new and fresh and adding a new POV to it.”
Stream Baby Tate’s Mani/Pedi here.