Hakeem “Baby Keem” Jammal Carter was born in Carson, California, on October 22, 2000. Raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, he left when he was a teenager to pursue music in Los Angeles. In November 2017, he released his first EP, “Oct” under Hykeem Carter; the nine songs didn’t last long on social media, so he never gained a following. Several months later, he released a second EP, “Midnight.” One noticeable difference in the two EPs is that Baby Keem emerged and with it came confidence absent on his first release. The rapper’s name comes from the most well-known tracks from his first releases. These are 10 things you didn’t know about Baby Keem.
1. Early Influences
Baby Keem’s first real introduction to hip hop music was in 2009 when he got his first computer. Having access to the internet allowed him to explore different genres and see what types he likes. Some of his first influences were Kanye West, Eminem, and Rihanna. Many of the first artists he listened to as a teen was recommended to him by his friends.
2. Setting down roots
Baby Keem started recording music when he was thirteen. He borrowed money from his grandmother and got low-end equipment on Craigslist. Thankfully he had Apple Studio on his computer. Even though the recording equipment was subpar, it allowed him to learn and set down early music roots. Much like his early days learning equipment, Baby Keem is constantly evolving his sound and learning new equipment. He understands that as technology changes, so will the equipment he can use to create his unique sound.
3. Always knew what he wanted
Music has always been his most significant focus. He knew from an early age he wanted to rap but waited until in his teens because he thought it was essential to have a deeper voice to create his style. According to Complex, even before he started rapping, he was writing a song. Baby Keem added that he wrote verses but never let anyone know. Like now, his early music is from the knowledge he gains and the different things he learns. He finally recorded his first song when he was a freshman in high school. It surprised everyone because it seemed he focused more on sports and had never let anyone know what he planned on doing later in life.
4. Evolving style
His early style sounds nothing like how he sings now. When Baby Keem first started singing, he used his lower register, much like if you didn’t want to wake someone up who’s sleeping in the next room, which Baby Keem was trying not to do since he recorded late at night and wanted to hear what he sounded like on a microphone. He feels this was an essential first step in his career because it taught him what to do and what not to do. Additionally, he focused on how he thought things should be done during most of his early work, relying on other rappers. However, over time, he found his style.
5. Practice makes perfect
He views writing music the same as any other sport. Since athletes practice every day to stay in the best shape, Baby Keem writes a song every day. Even if he thinks the music isn’t great, he finishes it because the index and beats in the discarded piece may work in another. He feels that keeping himself sharp gives him the ability to record with anyone. His hard work also affords him confidence which propels his career to even further heights.
6. Growing up
Baby Keem grew up in Las Vegas surrounded by music. Many of his uncles and cousins rapped, including Kendrick Lamar. Additionally, his aunts and grandmother usually had music like Marvin Gaye on the radio. Besides, growing up in Vegas, he always thought he needed to have a specific image. He even tried to sneak into a casino while underage and was quickly thrown out because he was overacting.
7. Making connections
One of the most significant projects he worked on was the Black Panther soundtrack with Top Dawg Entertainment. His involvement started when he emailed some of his beats to the company’s official email. Since then, he’s worked with Jay Rock on the album Redemption and produced “Knock it Off” and “Rotation.”
8. What’s in a name?
Being Baby Keem instead of Hykeem Carter is extremely important to the rapper. He feels like the name separates two phases in his life. When he was Hykeem Carter, he was learning to play in his bedroom with low-rent equipment. However, as Baby Keem, he is a superstar who can achieve anything. Additionally, he feels that the name is more grown-up and shows how seriously he takes his career since he got so young. Even though he still uses Hykeem but only when he wants to separate from his stage persona. Baby Keem is the one in the club having fun, while Hykeem feels when he wants to retreat and find respite.
9. Early posts
On an Instagram page he no longer has, he had many pictures of him eating strawberries. He first had one when he was 12 and thought they were something not everyone liked, so he started posting many pictures and social media dedicated to the fruit and eating them. Early social media posting shows that Baby Keem always wanted to be on stage and in the spotlight.
10. Favorite Meal
His favorite hometown restaurant is Raising Cane’s. He orders the same thing every time he goes. During an interview with Complex, he detailed his order. The chicken is inedible if it’s not cooked for eight minutes. Additionally, toast must have butter on each side with hot sauce, which goes on everything on the plate, including the chicken and fries. Baby Keem said, “if they don’t have hot sauces, which they don’t sometimes, it’s all ruined and I won’t eat it. That’s the key.”