There’s a lot going on in the world of Lil Bibby. The Chicago native is just getting started and already speaks at length about what will happen when he retires. Then he remembers he’s just getting started and accepts his fate as a rapper on the rise. It’s hard for a guy like him. He just finished SXSW and is prepping the release of his EP The Book due out in the late Spring. His video “Water,” just dropped with appropriately aquatic visuals paired with some gritty city living. It’s apparent that Chicago still haunts him. But that’s been Bibby’s mission since we first heard his critically acclaimed Free Crack mixtape: to vocalize the misfortune that plagues Chiraq. It’s not the easiest job, but someone has to do it. Life+Times caught up with Bibby in the midst of his recording process-slash-travelling, and he discusses what life is like today with the haters hovering, and what he hopes it will look like tomorrow.
Life+Times: What was the set like for the “Water” video?
Lil Bibby: It was just like a regular one. We got the cameraman, and maybe a few cars, a few of my friends, a few girls and that’s about it.
L+T: So the basic necessities?
Lil Bibby: [laughs] Yeah that’s it.
L+T: What have the past few months been like for you in your career?
Lil Bibby: It’s been good. I finished my mixtape, I’m moving around a lot, doing a couple shows. Man I been a little stressed though. It’s a lot of hate man; haters man always driving me crazy man.
L+T: Yeah it’s like people are talking a little too loudly about you know and your career lately. What’s up with that?
Lil Bibby: I don’t know, man. I’m just working on my next project. That’s about it, trying to make sure that shit is as good as the first mixtape was…well better music has to get better. I’m trying to block out all the negative energy and get the music done and do the shows and the press. I hate doing press but it’s necessary.
L+T: You don’t have to hate me though. I’m cool.
Lil Bibby: [laughs] I like you already. My mother’s name is Kathy.
L+T: Oh really? She must be an amazing woman.
Lil Bibby: She is the most irritating, nagging… [laughs]
L+T: Your mom lives with you though! Do you have to answer to her still? Like, “go clean your room before that video shoot.”
Lil Bibby: [laughs] Nah she don’t tell me to clean up my room. She might tell me to take out the garbage [laughs]. I like to live with my mom because…well you know how stuff get a little crazy, man. I don’t want everyone to treat me the same like when I’m out. I really don’t like it ‘cause now all of a sudden people will do anything you say. I need everything to be regular. Treat me the same as three years ago before I was rapping.
L+T: Some people like yes men around them, but it sounds like you don’t.
Lil Bibby: Yeah, I hate yes men.
L+T: Is Drill Music still considered the music of Chicago? You’ve never been a fan of it.
Lil Bibby: I don’t even know what Drill Music is. I hate that they try to put us in that category man… Drill music.
L+T: Well I don’t think anybody puts you in there because you speak against it.
Lil Bibby: Well a lot of Chicago rap doesn’t have any substance to it. They just rapping about riding around, smoking blunts, shooting guns, girls, and that’s about it. Don’t have a topic or you don’t really get nothing from it. It gets the party crunk sometimes though. I don’t know, I just like to make music where every song means something to me, so people can get something out of a song. When people hear a Bibby song, at least get a message from it.
L+T: When you were doing the Free Crack, mixtape, rumor has it that you just kept trying to perfect it and perfect it, especially once it caught Drake’s ear. Going into your next project, you were saying you wanted it to be even better than Free Crack. What were some of the things you didn’t like about the tape when you first dropped it that you want to change this time around?
Lil Bibby: I recorded a lot of songs in my friend’s closet, so the quality of it – the sound could have been a little bit better, but it was good music though so we got a pass.
L+T: Did you always know you were going to be a star?
Lil Bibby: To tell you the truth, no. I really didn’t think I wanted to do this at first, because I didn’t like all the attention and stuff that came with it. I wasn’t a people person, and I was kind of camera shy, but I think I’m coming along.
L+T: You’re also a really good basketball player, right?
Lil Bibby: I used to be. I think I lost it.
L+T: But you’re named after basketball player Mike Bibby right?
Lil Bibby: Right.
L+T: So you’re named after one of the Knicks? Are you a Bulls fan though since you’re from Chicago?
Lil Bibby: I was a Bulls fan until Derrick Rose got hurt. Now I can’t watch the Bulls without Derrick Rose, man. It’s no fun.
L+T: When you’re not making music – and since you said you haven’t played basketball in a while – what do like what do like to do for fun? If you have time for fun.
Lil Bibby: I haven’t had fun in a long time. I be out with my friends sometimes and they’re very funny, so I guess that’s fun.
L+T: I know you’re a fan of Drake and you’re tired of hearing about it, but one thing he always seems to sing or rhyme about is how once he became famous he didn’t realize it was going to be like this. It’s usually on the negative side. He didn’t expect all this to have to come with the money and fame. Do you kind of feel the same way?
Lil Bibby: Yeah, yeah exactly! Fame. That’s the worst the thing that could ever happen to somebody. People want to be famous so bad. People want fame more than money nowadays, but man I don’t. This is not good for anybody.
L+T: You did mention a little earlier on that once you could cash out, you’re dipping. Is that still the plan?
Lil Bibby: I think I’m stuck with the rapping for now, but I don’t know. I want to do some behind the scenes stuff, but I think I’m stuck with the rapping. I might learn how to produce.
L+T: What artists are you listening to nowadays? Besides the music you’re making.
Lil Bibby: I really don’t listen to a lot of music, but I’ve been listening to some like Rick Ross. Some old Rick Ross, some old Future, and some old JAY Z. That’s all I been listening to lately.
L+T: So with shows, the mixtape and the EP, there’s no downtime for Bibby?
Lil Bibby: No downtime. It’s all work. All work.
L+T: Do you know when you’re planning for the album?
Lil Bibby: No, actually I think I need to build my fan base before I even think about it. I want to see what this “Water” video does. Hopefully that hits hard. Got some good music, so hopefully we can start from there and see how things go.