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Photo courtesy of Two Brainz

You often hear about how a performer “shut down” a concert venue with a particularly rousing performance. But Lil Bibby literally shut down the Canopy Club last week. The audience was so lit that a fight broke out about 20 minutes into his set. While it’s unfortunate that the show had to be cancelled, the crowd’s atmosphere speaks volumes. The fact that the place was packed wall-to-wall with fans shows how far Bibby has come, and it suggests that the 20-year-old Chicago native has an even brighter future ahead.

The past two years have been a whirlwind for the young emcee. During that span, Bibby dropped two mixtapes — Free Crack and Free Crack II — that catapulted him onto the national radar. He earned a spot on XXL Magazine‘s famed freshman list in 2014, and he’s collaborated with the likes of Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown. And yet, he’s hungry as ever.

Bibby got his nickname because he used to have a jumper like former NBA standout Mike Bibby. But he also has a baby face, à la Steph Curry, so when you hear him rap for the first time you might be taken aback. He has arguably the deepest voice in the game — it’s a bit reminiscent of Shyne‘s low inflection. That attribute — along with with his ability to switch flows like a lane switch on Lake Shore Drive — set Bibby apart from many of the up-and-comers out of the Windy City. UPC had the opportunity to chop it up with Bibby for myriad of topics, including his friendship with Drake, his favorite artists growing up and his plans for a new EP.


UPC: You and Lil Herb are really close friends. What’s it like when you two hop in the studio together?

Lil Bibby: We just freestyle, man. We go right in the booth together and just usually make the song in about 20 or 30 minutes.

UPC: Is there one freestyle that sticks out in your mind that was especially tough?

LB: Well the last one we just did, “Aint Heard About You,” I really liked that one. I was just flicking through my e-mails, pulled up the beat, grabbed Herb like ‘C’mon, let’s do this,’ and then we finished it.

UPC: How was your creative process different from Free Crack to Free Crack II?

LB: For Free Crack, I had a little more time. I wrote most of the songs on Free Crack. On Free Crack II, I basically freestyled like 80 percent of the tape.

UPC: That’s impressive. I read that Drake really likes your music and that you guys have met up before. Talk to me about that experience — what was it like chillin’ with Drake and what did you guys do?

LB: The first time I met him was at his show. I think it was in Atlanta. That was the first show I’d ever been to. When he saw me he was just turnt up. He was like more excited than I was, he was like ‘Oh my God, Bibby, Bibby, wassup man?’ And then we prayed before [the concert]. I was happy to see that my favorite rapper was that excited to see me too.

UPC: Are you guys still in contact? Do you think you’ll ever work with him?

LB: Yeah, of course. Well, before I dropped Free Crack II, I ran into him at his show — I forgot where it was — it was the Wayne vs. Drake show.

UPC: Yeah, I went to that. It was in Tinley Park. 

LB: Yeah, Tinley Park.

UPC: So I know you’ve heard this a lot in the past year, but congrats on the XXL freshman status.

LB: Thank you.

UPC: What was your favorite part of that whole experience — going to New York, meeting the rest of the freshman class, what sticks out?

LB: Well I got to see a lot of my friends and people that I listen to like Chance, Durk, Kevin Gates, Rich Homie, people like that.

UPC: What’s it feel like to go from this buzzing Chi-town rapper to working with some of the hottest artists in the game like Young Thug and Nicki Minaj?

LB: It feels good, but I’m still working man. I’m still going hard. I’m trying to stay as humble as possible and keep going until I can get 100 million.

UPC: Who are some artists you want to collaborate with but you haven’t had a chance to yet?

LB: Rich Homie Quan. Drake, of course. Jay Z.

UPC: Hov would be a big one. Did you grow up listening to him?

LB: Actually I didn’t. I didn’t grow up listening to Jay Z, but I started listening to Jay Z about three years ago. I became a big fan.

UPC: What’s your favorite Jay Z album?

LB: The Blueprint.

UPC: Mine is probably The Black Album. 

LB: Yeah, the The Black Album is great.

UPC: And his flow on Reasonable Doubt is unreal. So who’d you grow up listening to?

LB: I grew up listening to Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane and Drake.

UPC: Drake is the guy right now. What are some of your favorite cities now that you’ve done some traveling?

LB: I really like New York. Boston, of course. The whole Midwest is just crazy.

UPC: They were lit inside the Canopy Club just now.

LB: Yeah, they started fighting.

UPC: Maybe it was a little bit too lit. Moving on, what are some of your favorite food spots in Chicago?

LB: Harold’s Chicken. And there’s this pizza spot, it’s called Italian Fiesta — I don’t know if you guys have had that.

UPC: I’m from DC, but I’ve heard about Harold’s. I need to get it when I’m around the way.

LB: Yeah, Harold’s is crazy. And I like Ruth’s Chris downtown.

UPC: So any news about the new EP?

LB: I think I’m gonna put out a street album.

Watch the video for “Water” below, and keep an eye out for Lil Bibby’s new EP dropping this year. Follow him on Twitter @LilBibby_.