Baby Keem is easy to love.
The 20-year-old burgeoning rapper, who is poised to mark a cultural shift in hip-hop, greets you with a teeth-baring grin, which, once he’s comfortable, resurfaces after every couple of sentences. During his hour-long interview with Billboard, Keem touches on everything from his latest single, “Family Ties” debuting at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 (alongside collaborator and cousin Kendrick Lamar) to his struggles as a six-year-old during his mother’s time in rehab, and difficulties today. All the while, he continues to smile.
"You can't be the person that complains about what you asked for," he says.
On Sept. 10, the rising artist released his critically acclaimed freshman album, The Melodic Blue, which debuts this week at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart, with 53,000 equivalent album units moved, according to MRC data.