It looks like there is yet another “Baby” to add to the ever-growing list of rappers who’ve tagged themselves with that infantile moniker, but this one is setting himself apart from the rest in some very eye-catching ways. Haiti Babii, who hails Oakland by way of Stockton, California, first caught the public’s eyes and ears with a dizzyingly quirky freestyle on LA radio which went viral for its, shall we say, “unconventional” delivery.
Stopping by Real 92.3’s Bootleg Kev & DJ Hed show, Haiti dropped jaws and baffled internet commenters who couldn’t make heads or tales of his stop-and-start, onomatopoeia-laden verse, oh which he modulated everything from his cadence to his voice, dropping down into a Muppet monster register and pitching up to a calling-dog whine. Yet, in the middle of the freestyle he rattled off a series of assonant, rapid-fire rhymes that said, yes, he could rap like an absolute beast if he had to, he just likes playing with the form more than trying to impress with rigid technicality.
And so he does on his first single since his freestyle first blew up, “Blue Dragon.” On a simple, self-produced beat, Haiti Babii contorts his voice and flow like putty, using every conceivable pocket of rhythm and note of his considerable vocal range. The Far-East-themed video may draw some heat for dabbling in stereotypes, but it’s also visually striking, evoking imagery from a Chinese New Year-esque celebration, right down to the paper dragon marching through the background while Haiti raps in a straw hat.
The 21-year-old rapper’s unorthodox delivery calls to mind both Bay Area faves like E-40 and genre table shakers like Young Thug. Considering how strongly both of those examples has imprinted their uniqueness on the rap game, don’t be surprised if the latest Haiti Babii single takes over the airwaves this summer.