From SoundCloud rappers in their quaint hometowns to becoming one of the most iconic duos simply by just sliding into each other’s dm’s—It’s that easy for Baby Gravy. Yung Gravy and bbno$ became fast friends before their music careers even began to skyrocket, leaving them with an ineradicable foundation of trust and care for each other. This soon became the inception of their unity, releasing their first project together in 2017, with the second following in 2020, and now the third of their Baby Gravy trilogy.
Yung Gravy and bbno$ take us through their humble beginnings, what it’s like to create music with your best friend, and what inspires them to make the kind of music they make upon the release of their third album Baby Gravy 3.
First, I’m curious to learn about the driving forces that inspired you both to start making music. Could you share the story of how your individual musical journeys converged?
BBNO$: Honestly I had nothing better to do, but I was writing poetry because it was like super depresso mode and I found an outlet through that art form. Then one day I smoked a blunt with some homies and made a song and I kind of just fell in love with the weird euphoric feeling of creating and making art. I found him [Gravy] about a year and a half into that, sent him a message and I was like, he makes insane music. Well, time to make insane music with an insane dude.
YUNG GRAVY: I was going to school, just changing my major and studying different things. I was an entrepreneur and loved starting businesses. By that point, it was late [in] my sophomore year, I worked at a startup, Accelerator, so I was helping companies brand stuff.I was good at marketing everything, but I didn’t have much of a music background besides listening to a lot of it. Then, I saw people blowing up on SoundCloud and it was working really well. It was pretty unique. I thought I might as well try this for fun and I was doing it secretly. I would freestyle with friends, like at times, at parties and stuff, every kid from Minnesota has. I guess I just decided to take it seriously, but I was embarrassed. I didn’t want everyone to know about it so I was just doing it in my room. I hid my face for the first two years. Alex [BBNO$] here was one of the first people I got along with online. We met through SoundCloud DMs and then would message on Facebook because he didn’t have an iPhone. He was kind of a mentor, my first friend in music, and the only person that I met that I would actually collab with.
In what ways do you think SoundCloud helped contribute to your artistic journeys?
BBNO$: It was just the medium on social media that drew other artists to work and drop music on that platform. It would be super, super easy to open the door and be like, hey, you wanna make songs? I literally sent this EDM guy a message seven and a half years ago saying, “Hey, man, I would love to make a song.” He replied to me [about] two days ago, I randomly got this email and it said, “Hey, man, yeah, I’d love to make a song.” It is very community-based and I feel like music in this day and age doesn’t really have that anymore.
GRAVY: Before SoundCloud, it didn’t really.
BBNO$: Yeah, I know. Honestly, I’m very sad that SoundCloud is not as popular as it used to be. There’s obviously a market of people who still use SoundCloud religiously, but SoundCloud was definitely the most fun aspect of being a musician. It’s kind of like a game where, if your songs are doing well, you could make songs with more people and it was like, oh sh*t, I wanna make a song with a guy in Belgium, I’ll make a song with like this guy like Guatemala and they were all just trying to do the same thing and have fun with it.
GRAVY: You can start making money off it, selling reposts and features. I think at that time—I mean, especially since I didn’t know anybody in the music industry—I definitely saw that as the only way to have a career in music. At first, we would only drop music on SoundCloud, sometimes YouTube, and I had to convince my friends to start trying to put it on Spotify and Apple Music and stuff.
BBNO$: He didn’t convince me to put it on YouTube, but when I noticed that he was popping more, I didn’t want to do another social media. I don’t wanna have to drop it on YouYube and I remember I was genuinely reluctant to upload my music to Spotify because it was like f*ck Spotify, f*ck corporations, SoundCloud number one, but then I realized that that’s where the money’s at. So, it just was like another process that I didn’t want to do, SoundCloud was just the best. I just remember that you’d get organic comments.
GRAVY: It was a great community and there [are] so many legends just throughout SoundCloud that a lot of people probably don’t know anymore.
Could you give me a glimpse into how you worked on ‘Baby Gravy’ together? Your tracks have such a fun vibe and I’d love to know what your creative process looks like.
GRAVY: I mean, together, we just link up, throw around ideas, and have a good time.
BBNO$: When I do it by myself, I obviously just overthink everything, but when we make music together, it’s way more collaborative. So, if I say something like, “air conditioner”, he’s like, “No, no, no, say, ‘speaker’”, and I’m like, “Okay, cool,” and vice versa, we can do the same for each other. It’s like adding this weird little extra bonification of having a creative direction or a style of what we would put on a song.
GRAVY: You say bo… bo like bona fide. I like that.
BBNO$: Is that a real word? Is bonification a real word? I’m not bona fide.
GRAVY: I would have guessed like bona fade. Like it’s been bona fade.
GRAVY: It’s really fun to work together and it makes things easier. I am the same way, I second-guess everything when I work alone. I do write verses sometimes alone. I mean, it goes faster in person but sometimes I’ll get really intricate on it and it takes me way too long because I question everything. It will take way too long to write a verse sometimes, but at least I’m happy when it comes out. I think we both do the same thing when we finish our own music. I send out demos to people that I trust and just general people that I like to see what they like and we don’t have to do that when we’re together because we have enough brains there to pretty much figure out if it’s good.
I’m curious, do you have a feel for when each of you takes the lead on different parts of a project?
BBNO$: I’m typically more prominent on starting the songs at least, just getting a general idea down. Then I just, I think I write a little bit faster than he does, but that’s just because I’ve made, I think like, 700.
GRAVY: Yeah, I’ve probably made 100 now. I would say around there.
BBNO$: So I’ve just always taken the principle of quantity over quality because eventually, you’ll make quality. I don’t think I’m nearly as fast of a writer anymore, but I just tried to write as much as I can. I write a lot of the hooks for the most part and then he writes the punchy one-liners.
GRAVY: A lot of times I’ll write half of a hook.
BBNO$: I’ll cut it out and put it at the end of the song and it’s kind of like having hook after hook, after hook, after hook.
GRAVY: A lot of our songs are set up that way where it’s, he starts a hook, and then I come in with a slightly different flow on the hook, and then verses. I love switching off, it’s fun but we usually have to do it in person. When we do verses where we switch off a lot, those are my favorite. A lot of rappers do that.
BBNO$: No, no, I feel like no one really does it. I feel like it’s also kind of just hard to pay attention but it’s dope. It’s just like so much difference but it’s definitely entertaining.
‘Baby Gravy 3’ is your third collaborative album. Are there specific songs within this album that particularly stand out to you and spark your excitement?
BBNO$: I really think most of the album is across the board the same level of goodness.
GRAVY: I was thinking back on that earlier today and I was trying to think about why we picked the singles as they are. You know, they’re all equally good, especially because some of the songs that we may have doubted, we worked on and made them extra sexy. I guess one of my favorites is “Super Smash Bros.”, which is the one we finished last. We had to fully change that one up and that one came out really good.
BBNO$: Super good.
GRAVY: I don’t know, they all bang.
BBNO$: Yeah, they might all do great, they might all not do great, but it doesn’t really matter because we both like them.
Throughout this process, what have you learned about each other?
BBNO$: I feel like we’ve become better friends this year or at least from the last tour that we did. I feel like our bond has gotten tighter.
GRAVY: Probably, yeah. It’s like over the years it has always gotten tighter. You reminded me there was a period where we were beefing a little bit. I forgot about that until you said it the other day.
BBNO$: There was definitely a little period where we were beefing. You were beefing with me. I wasn’t really beefing with anyone but you were definitely beefing with me. But I mean, that’s just what happens. I do think at this point you’ve kind of grandfathered us into just being friends for the rest of our lives because we’ve just done so much together. I would contemplate getting a gravy tattoo on my ass just for the culture, you know, just for the memories because he’s a very large part of my life in the grand scheme of things. I don’t know what I’ve really learned about him this year but I’ve learned that he’s grown up a bit this year. Which is good. He’s got a house, taking responsibility.
GRAVY: I think, since we started as friends before we really had success, that was good because there was never a doubt about anything and trusting once money got involved and, yeah, I mean, I made it last seven years. That’s pretty good. Most friendships that last that long are bona fide.
GRAVY: Yeah, we understand each other’s differences too, which is good.
Have there been any artists or duos who’ve significantly influenced the way you create your music, or is your style more just your own vibe?
GRAVY: I think SoundCloud as a whole, maybe had a little bit of an effect on it. I mean, that’s where I was learning how to make music. I think we make shorter songs than a lot of people, which is kind of a Soundcloud trend and it’s just because I like the idea of them hearing it and liking it so much that they just start it over and I’ve stuck with that for a long time. Style-wise, I don’t know, I was heavily inspired by Phonk, which is kind of a sort of genre similar to Memphis rap, slower beats with, with a lot of samples on them. Three 6 Mafia, if I had to pick a name that definitely helped inspire me.
BBNO$: I would say, artistically, Pharrell Williams and Missy Elliott. I really like the playfulness in their music. I think Pharrell and Chad Hugo are arguably the best producers ever to live. I do think that I like watching TeamSESHBones and $uicideboy$ do their thing on social media and SoundCloud.I fell in love with the Sad Boys Collective and [it’s] so interesting that they’ve created a clothing world in between the crazy artistic direction of their music. They have such a cult following and I was like, why can’t we just do that?
GRAVY: I think we do more than most people that inspired us. I would say at least the goals that I had when I started and the people I was looking up to—we ended up doing more branding, touring, and all that stuff. We both overwork ourselves and spend so much time that we end up getting a lot done.
BBNO$: I’d be pissed if we were overworking ourselves and not getting a lot done. That would f*cking suck.
If the chance presented itself, would you be open to the idea of bringing in a third member to your duo? If yes, have you thought about who that might be?
BBNO$: I don’t know
GRAVY: I’d rather not, but if we had to—Ruby from $uicideboy$, that would be a nice flow.
BBNO$: I feel like a Ruby and Joji mix, singing vocals, and then Ruby’s the in-between, but literally like the full in-between, between both you and I and Joji. It would be like the perfect quad group.
GRAVY: Yeah that’d be a nice group
BBNO$: Yeah, we should do a tour with Joji and Rich Brian or something.
GRAVY: It probably would go off.
BBNO$: Just silly.
GRAVY: Ruby and Joji are good contenders if we had to, but I’d rather not. Freddie Dread’s cool. He could work. He’s similar to $uicideboy$ music but a little bit. Kind of like if you combine me and $uicideboy$ almost because he has happier samples and more of a fun vibe to it.
BBNO$: But it’s also very low-fi but hi-fi at the same time, I don’t know how to explain it.
GRAVY: I don’t even know what that means.
BBNO$: It’s like low fi like sounding samples but it’s mixed very well. So, it’s got interesting mixes. Super talented kid. Really nice guy too, makes music about shooting and killing people but he’s like the nicest dude in the world.
GRAVY: He’s on our album, “Nightmare on Peachtree Street (feat. Freddie Dredd)” He’s one of the only features.
If you guys could describe each other in one word, what would it be?
GRAVY: There you go.
Finally, what is one thing you would never take for granted about each other?
GRAVY: Alex has a good heart and he’s a very nice person who cares about people and there are a lot of people in music that don’t, and I have a lot of other friends that don’t—definitely not to the same extent. I would never take for granted the fact that he just genuinely cares about everybody.
BBNO$: Matt always told me, and I’ve been doing it more often since I’ve noticed it but he would always be like, “Bro, like you never say I love you.” I used to take it for granted and not really show appreciation for things in a sense. I’ve definitely noticed to just be genuine to Matthew and be like, “Hey, I love you” and I try not to take it for granted anymore. I don’t know if that really answers the question right?
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