Rappers find their personas in a variety of ways. Childish Gambino came up with his name using a randomized Wu-Tang Clan name generator. Waka Flocka Flame drew from Fozzie Bear’s iconic catchphrase. Baby Goth based her brand on the duality of light and dark, finding inspiration from one of Rob Zombie’s most legendary characters. “I named myself Baby because I love horror,” the diminutive rapper says. “Rob Zombie’s wife plays this character Baby Firefly in his movie ‘House of 1000 Corpses,’ and I related to her. She’s like Harley Quinn—she’s super light and sweet—but she’s also really dark, cynical and evil.”
Baby fleshed out a brand that’s one part horror villain and one part Disney princess, a reflection of the ups and downs she experiences with anxiety and depression. She learned to deal with her mental illnesses early in her teenage years and used music to find stability, express herself and connect with others. However, it wasn’t hip-hop that initially caught Baby’s attention. “I had some friends in high school and we had a bluegrass band,” Baby says. “I would do keys and backing vocals. I started recording myself on GarageBand and I would post a lot of covers onto my Instagram.” After trying to make it on various vocal competition shows, Baby attracted attention on social media and flew out to Los Angeles to make her first EP, “Babyface.”
L.A. sculpted Baby into the rapper we know today, inspiring her to adorn her face with tattoos that tell her story. Baby tattooed her name onto her face prior to finding her persona, and from there, the Baby Goth brand came together. Then came her famous pink butterfly (which sits just above her eyebrow) which represents her affinity for the dark and light. “My anxiety feels like having butterflies in my stomach and it’s a constant feeling. So I link that feeling to butterflies,” Baby explains. “But I also think it’s beautiful because I feel more than your average person. I’m more sensitive to emotions—which helps my music.”
Like many rappers today, after getting her face tattooed, Baby soon found success. Her big debut came after she linked up with Trippie Redd shortly after moving to L.A. “I first linked up with him on maybe my third week in L.A., and my engineer was also Trippie’s,” Baby says. “I had come straight off the airplane and had no makeup on because I didn’t think I was going anywhere. But we started hanging out together and since I was there so often, he asked me to be on a song.” That song was Redd’s 2019 single “A.L.L.T.Y.3” and he’d go on to make an appearance on Baby’s breakout track, “Swimming,” alongside Lil Xan. The success of these singles helped to push Baby into the spotlight and before long, she had her first body of work— “Baby Goth,” the album.
The success of these two singles and her debut album made Baby a force to be reckoned with in hip-hop. With these accomplishments under her belt, she went on to chase her dream project—a spot on the “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” soundtrack. “I met with my label and I told them there was a Harley Quinn movie coming out that I wanted to be a part of,” Baby shares. “I was begging my team to get me on it and they were like, ‘It doesn’t happen like that, you can’t just ask to be on a soundtrack.’ But it ended up happening because I linked up with this girl WHIPPED CREAM. She’s an amazing producer who was on Atlantic Records, and they were controlling the soundtrack. I feel like that’s a prime example of positive manifestation.”
Baby’s next project showcases a fully realized version of her brand—filled with pink clouds, allusions to Greek mythology and cherubs. But, it wouldn’t be a Baby Goth project without an equal amount of darkness. “It’s called ‘The Pink Apocalypse,’” Baby explains. “I pull [inspiration] from my six-year relationship with my ex, which was pretty toxic. I share my experience being stuck and the feeling where you don’t want to let go but you have to. Then there are a few songs that are more uplifting and about letting go, moving on and doing your own thing.”
Baby’s brand of light and dark isn’t only a visual aesthetic, it’s an all-encompassing world view. It’s about embracing the parts of life that are grim and seeing through the darkness to find beauty and light. After all, without the darkness, how else would stars be able to shine?