Having dropped his debut project, Places, earlier this year, Baby Phace is high on our radars as one to keep a close eye on. His eclectic style and interesting way of laying bars over carefully chosen production, not only set Baby Phace apart as an artist but also elevate Places to one of the best introductions to a new artist in a long time. I got a chance to talk with him about Places, building his team and what creating this tape meant to him. Checkout our conversation below and get to know this Jersey star now:
You recently released your debut, Places, can you tell us a little about the project and what it means to you?
Places is my first project. It’s a culmination of everything I had learned musically over the years, particularly this past year. I wanted to try and create a world that people could lose themselves in when the real world is a little too much. I just wanted to really leave my impression and connect with listeners. I hadn’t been able to do that because the circumstances weren’t right, but everything aligned for me and when the time came I knew I was meant to create this.
Since it’s my debut project it holds a special place in my heart. I look at all the greats and how their debut projects are always one of the biggest highlights of their careers. Obviously Places is not an album, but it’s still my introduction to the world – and throughout the process of creating I treated it as such. The amount of time and energy that was put into this project by me and my engineer Jon Ace is ridiculous. The hours go into the 100s.
It was really a journey in discovering myself and my sound.
How did you and Jon Ace end up working together?
During the Summer I was staying in Clifton. Passaic County is surrounded by a lot of studios. So, during my time living there I just kind of branched out and went to a lot of them. One of them in particular stuck with me – 4XMG, which is actually run by Retchy P’s manager, Matt Ciancimino. He’s good people and I was going there pretty frequently, but I was working with another engineer named Sag. He’s great at what he does, it’s just we weren’t meant to work long term, but he’s really doing his thing. But it’s funny because this one night in July had a lot of shit going on. I’m in the studio with a group called Lowland from like 8-11. We make some fire. Some boom bap, sample heavy, Freddie Gibbs type shit. But during the session I get some terrible news about a friend’s family member getting deported and it’s just like this weird moment for me in the studio. I’m just kind of taken out of the moment and I don’t really know how to deal with the situation. So that was the first weird thing that happened that night.
I kind of have to brush it off and I lowkey forget about it in the midst of making music. We get done with that session and my bro Jay Illicit hits me telling me he wants to do another session from like 12-4 type shit. I’m always with that energy so I scoop him and we link up with another bro of mine, Ant Kan$cious, who was with me before and we head to 4XMG. We meet up with Sags and there’s somebody interning the session and honestly we thought nothing of it. That intern happens to be Jon. During the session he explains that he sees an immense amount of potential in us – like Wu-Tang type shit as a group. And he heralds us as next up basically after one session. He asked us to meet him the week after we chopped it up and he showed us some of his work and the rest was history bro for real.
What was the process making Places like? Was it how you expected it to be, and if not how was it different?
It was far from what I expected. The first track that was written and recorded off the project was “Nowhere”. I wrote it in one of my brother’s (not by blood) apartment on Gold street in FiDi – it was a Friday, August 3rd to be exact. I was alone in his apartment and working on tracks right before I had to go to the studio for a 4-hour session. At this point I was just banging out tracks, just trying to ensure the session was productive. I came up with “Nowhere”, but it wasn’t the same beat as it’s on now and some of the lyrics were different. I recorded it that night and I knew that track was meant for a project, but I didn’t know when I would know when to put it together. So I created and I waited patiently.
Fast forward to the end of the month. I think like the 18th or something I went on a family trip to Vegas. I had a long summer and I hadn’t really gotten any down-time so this was really good for my creative process. From that point on the project began to come to life. I thought of the concept for Places and during that trip I made “Hell”, “Somewhere”, and “Crossroads” (a completely different version then the one on the tape). I had a bunch of other songs I thought would fit the tape and the concept, but time showed me otherwise. So it was just a long project. Making an project is like doing project for a class to me and I took it really seriously. I wanted to make sure everything flowed and fit, that there were no repeating concepts. I locked in with my engineer Jon Ace to make sure I had the best performances possible. To make sure we made each song its best version, adding instrumentation when necessary. It was really long, but fun process and I can’t wait for when the time is right to do it again.
I know you’re being managed by the team at Fashionably-Early, what’s it been like working with them?
It’s dope. Since Matt (Matt Albin, one of the creators) is someone I knew prior to us working together, so it helped and there was already some trust there. Obviously when we first agreed to work together I was skeptical because of the nature of the music business, but he has proven himself to be honest and has really helped me with branding, quality control, and just my overall knowledge of the music business. We’ve been working on a direction and goal for sometime now and we’ve been really making great strides.
He’s been delivering on the things he’s promised me and we working towards more. To be honest, Places really wouldn’t be possible without him. Around April I was gearing up to drop a project called Young, Dumb, & Bitter. If you’ve ever heard my song “Love Is Murder”, you’ll hear me repeat that in a refrain. But I scraped it because Matt helped me see the bigger picture. The time became right and then I locked in. He’s just been helping and giving me a lot of wisdom which has made me better at traverse and planning out my career. It also helps that he’s my age so we’re peers. And it’s always great to have peers you can learn from.
How did you decide that you were going to release “Hell” and “Somewhere” as the singles?
I mean when I first created them in Vegas I had a feeling those would be the singles. But I thought we would only have one, so I was pressed trying to figure out which. But we ended up deciding that two was better and those two tracks just felt like singles, they have the content and the replay value and they really catch a listener’s attention.
Is there a reason there were no features on the project?
Yes, I’m very particular with stuff like that. I just have an approach to music where I don’t like putting anyone where I don’t see them fitting. I didn’t see anyone fitting on the tape so I just didn’t put anyone on it.
Describe Places in three words.
A sonic journey.
Well we’ve reached the end here, so, last question. What’s your favorite line on the tape?
My favorite line/lines are from “Crossroads”, “Hang me at the cross then, I got some brothers know I never double cross them, seats at the table I know many who have lost them, one wrong turn ain’t no telling what it cost them”. The line speaks for itself.
I love the biblical reference, I love the idea behind it, and I love the delivery. It’s just all fire to me. “Crossroads” is definitely one of my favorite joints too.