Interview: Bbymutha

Chattanooga rapper Bbymutha is giving Southern hip-hop a facelift. She has performed at MoMa PS1, overseas in Europe, and with her “rap auntie” Trina. Her video for "Rules" has experienced viral success in the past month, but she’s been making music for years. More exposure brings more opportunities, and indubitably more pressure, but Bbymutha is built to last. 

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How did you get your name?

BM: When I was pregnant the guy I was dating was cheating with another girl. She’d say things like “you’re just his baby momma.” It’s like yeah you might be right. Maybe I won’t ever be shit to him but his baby momma, but that doesn’t limit me on what the fuck I can do.

I’ve learned to take my negatives and turn them into positives. So I’m just a baby momma? Cool [laughs]. So that’s how that came about.

Your sound is eclectic, but it was your accent that hooked me. Your accent and flow remind me of Trina or Rasheedah. Who are some of your influences?

BM: I’m a weird girl in the south. I’m a hood girl but I’m not a normal hood girl. I had certain stuff that I was interested in, but I didn’t necessarily have the resources to do them. So I had to come up with my own way of doing that stuff. Being forced to be creative in that way makes you develop your own style - on top of the fact that there are a lot of women in southern hip hop who’ve influenced me like Trina and La Chat. Basically La Chat, Gangsta Boo, and Trina. Oh, and Gucci Mane.

Sub-genres have grown in popularity with mainstream audiences such as Soundcloud rap or xan rap, but your music is so diverse. Do you think your sound can be defined or categorized?

BM: Soundcloud rap? I thought that meant your songs were on Soundcloud. Wow. That’s disgusting. People ask about what beats I like and I don’t know what to say. I like everything. If I can vibe to it, I can make it mine. I’m not trying to be put in a box. They’ll try to put you in a box even faster when you’re a female rapper. I just want to do what I want to do. I don’t just want to make rap. I want to learn how to produce too.

Your fan base is very similar to Cardi B’s in terms of their support for your authentic self. Do you think your fans see you practicing self-acceptance and want to take that step for themselves?

BM: That’s what’s scary about seeing my video go viral recently, all these new people. I’m so used to my fans now because they know me. I talk about everything -everything. People ask me why I put some things on the Internet. You never know who could be going through the same thing that I‘m going through or if they have someone to talk to. I just put myself out there for the sake of other people, honestly. Plus nobody can dig up anything on me later. I already told y’all who I was.

Since going viral have any publications or artists reached out to you?

BM: Dazed and Milk reached out. Rico Nasty showed support. Azealia Banks did too. And that to me is even better than any of these blogs. Don’t get me wrong The Fader was a huge move, but I feel my own feelings about blog culture.

 What are those feelings?

BM: It’s kind of like exploitation a little bit. It makes art become a big competitive thing to see who’s really “creating.” They use us to get their views, but do they really care about us as artists? I mean, I won’t get into it.

From your first full-length project Weave to your upcoming project expected in March, how do you think you have grown as an artist?

BM: As a musician I’ve gotten comfortable on beats and in the studio because I didn’t start out there. I know most people don’t know this but I recorded my first project off a cellphone. Actually, it was a Samsung Galaxy tablet. I had a homeboy in Baltimore who would mix and master it to the best of his abilities.

If you listen to my older songs on Weave, you can hear the smoke detectors in the background. If my baby would start crying I would just have to figure out a way around it. I’ve been doing this for almost four years now and I didn’t take it seriously until my little set of twins. Each year has been progressive, which is why I won’t quit.

It’s very easy to fall in love with your personality. You represent so many girls, including me. Girls who’ve felt like they weren’t like everyone else. 

BM: It’s not even like you make yourself believe that, other people do. They do that to make you feel bad about being unique. I always felt like I was just like other girls, but they made me feel like I wasn’t. I can still be friends with you and not wear what you wear. There’s nothing wrong with difference. 

If there was anyone in the music industry you could collaborate with whom would it be?

BM: Hmm. It’s got to be La Chat. That’s my dream collaboration. We don’t even have to do music. I want her to be my mentor or something. I just want to meet her [laughs].

Bbymutha will perform at Songbyrd on December 8, 2017 with Jessicunt and Opal