Chille Baby - Gospel Gangstaz

Chille Baby Being Solo Awakened ‘Sleeping Giant’ Apart From Gospel Gangstaz

Chille Baby of the Gospel Ganstaz and Camp 8, finally released his debut solo album in January. The Sleeping Giant has been a long time coming, and it’s an album full of solid features from other pioneers as well as up and comers from the Camp 8 label. The last few years have been life-altering for Chille, not only from the pandemic but also from him losing a lifelong friend and fellow Gospel Gangsta, Mr. Solo. I was honored to be able to sit down with the CHH legend to talk about the new record and what’s on the horizon for the future of Camp 8.

I was 10-years-old when I heard Gang Affiliated. So, I’ve been listening to you guys for like 30 years now, man. That’s crazy.

30 years. That’s crazy, bro. Like I was telling somebody else the other day, you don’t look back at the years when you, when pressing forward with the gospel and you’re in it. God tells you what to do and you just keep doing what He tells you to do. The next thing you know is another year, then it’s another year, then it’s another year, then it’s another year. And then somebody says, well man, you been around for about 30 years. When a lot of times, we only be getting into time, when it’s all for eternity.

True, but I bet there’s part of you that when you started doing Christian hip-hop, you had no clue what was about to happen.

Listen, God does so many amazing things. Like I tell you, I remember before we even had like an album or got signed or anything, we was traveling with Sup from SFC, the big homie. Dynamic Twins. Idol king, Mike Peace, LPG, Tunnel Ratz…

You know the Tunnel Ratz, I just talked to D about a month ago, they were so cold at what they did because, in the genre, they were the freestylers back then for us. They would go downtown to the clubs where everybody rapped secular and freestyle and they would go shut the underground clubs down and then that’s how they got known. Then when we met them, we really got some respect from them. One day Dax invited me out to a function that he was doing and there was this rumor going around, like “Gospel Gangstaz, they can’t really freestyle.”

So… that night I had a good night! Went in there, shut that thing down, you know what I mean? And ever since it was a blessing because all the people that considered themselves real emcees and about wordplay was like, “Whoa, I didn’t even know y’all came like that.”

Why did it take you so long to do a solo album?

All these years I’ve been telling Solo, like, “bro, you gotta do a solo album, you gotta do a solo album. Kick it off and then I’m gonna come right after you. Then right after that, we’ll come back with a Gospel Gangsta album.” But you know, he was such a perfectionist, it’s like, we’ll have a song and he’ll be like, “but it needs this one little bitty thing.” And records will pile up and pile up and pile up and pile up. Then when he passed man, I was like, you know what? I just gotta do a record.

After all these years we never got around to it. I wanted to do it and I dedicated it to him to let him know that look, bro, it can be done. A lot of people don’t really know that I literally lost family behind the gospel, bro. Because churches wasn’t paying companies, wasn’t paying people’s mind, people wasn’t paying publishing. It was just, you go to some churches, they support you. You go to other people, they don’t support you. We came through the genre when people was picketing outside the venues we were playing saying “this is devil music, you can have no rap music here.”

We come from the era when there was no computers. I call some of these emcees microwave rappers, you know because they can get on then just press a button and be like, “I’m signed. I’m up. My stuff is out. You know, I did this last night.”

For us, we had to get in there and get grinding, we had to go from church to church, to church, to prison, to prison, to block, to block. And if you didn’t see that person on stage, you bought the tape, you bought the CD. Other than that, you was not seen because you couldn’t just get online to cop stuff back then.

I just wanted to show Solo, in passing that everything we worked for every time he touched the mic, everything that he was trying to do before he passed away was not in vain, bro. God can do it. And God still has something to say in us. It’s not over. E.T. the Hip Hop preacher says “if you ain’t dead, that means God ain’t done with you.”

I’m thinking of some lyrics you said back in the day. You say “the mic goes around like a pipe in a smoker’s basement/ while I flow, Mr. Solo stands adjacent.” What was it like for you to step into the booth the first time without Solo there?

Lonely, Lonely bro. Yeah. You know, because I was used to having a crew, used to having Tik Tokk, used to having somebody there saying something stupid. We laughing, you know what I’m saying? But we know, I learned from that time. God taught me that even in your darkest hour, He’ll visit you, even in your darkest time, even when you think everything is falling around you, no matter if it’s your marriage, no matter if it’s your job, even at that darkest hour, He’ll visit you and He’ll make it okay. Because let me tell you, it was a lot of lonely dark hours in that studio for me.

Because like you said, I didn’t have Solo with me. I ain’t had Tik Tokk with me. It was lonely. When Solo passed away, people was telling me like, “Oh Chille, I got you. I got what you need. You need marketing? What you need, you need mics? What? You need a studio, what you need… Beats? I got you, man. I love the Gospel Gangstaz. I got you.”

And it was a trip because I called those people back, and nobody hit me. So then I start to think in my mind, “Okay, God wants the glory. So maybe it’s supposed to be like this.” So I just pressed on and did what He had me to do. And I ain’t stop. I’m already like four songs in on the next album. We doing a Camp 8 album right now. We’re five songs in already.

This album had some bangers on it, man. You had Sup on here. This is the first time I’d seen Sup on a track with you in a while.

Sup put us on, bro. Listen. The first one that put us on TV, he was the first one that got us on the radio. He was the first one that went and told people “if you don’t sign these dudes you’re crazy.”

Now all these years later, he’s still on a track with you. Like what does that mean? That camaraderie you have…

Sup called me like three days after the album dropped. He says “I just picked up the album. It’s dope.” And when he said that, I felt like I got a million dollars.

This is the thing, Sup is an MC bro, and he critiques music. He critiques everything. But he don’t just look at your raps. He looks at your life. He looks at everything before he says that dude’s dope. So when the king of gospel rap calls me to tell me my music is dope, I finally felt like I made it. Like I’m finally a real gospel rapper.

One day you know, we just been talking – me and Sup. He hit me up, man. And I was telling him, I cannot do this record without you bro.

I was used to writing with Solo. And with this man, there was no such thing as writer’s block. You know we had three people in the group? Solo would write three verses for each song. He’d sit beside you and say, you like that one? Should I put that one? Or I wrote this one too. His work ethic was so crazy. I started to say, well, if I don’t keep up with this guy, I’m gonna be in trouble. He gonna write all the records, you know what I’m saying?

When we was with Interscope, we started being in certain circles, with Kurupt, you know, every now and then and then Q and Coolio, WC, and the Maad Circle. All these guys, you know, south-central cartels, the, you know what I’m saying? Bone Thugs, you know… And they would hop in the studio and we would see their work ethic, and when we’d jump in the studio they’d see ours. That was a time when we really sharpened that work ethic. That was a time when you really learned what made quality music quality. Yeah. And that’s where I’m at. I wanna give believers quality music.

I want to let my peers know. I’m the older guy in the game. Y’all listened to me for a long time, but I’m gonna be a pillar for y’all to sit by and, and if y’all need me, I’m right here. And if I’m on a show with you and we need to smash something, I got it. I got you, baby. You ain’t gotta worry about, “oh, is gonna come soft?” Nah, baby. I got you. I’ll catch the current of water if I can hear it.

And it’s not being boastful, bro. The Bible says that the gift comes without repentance. It’s about what you gonna do with it and how you got it.

So, probably what a lot of people wanna know. You said that Solo has all these songs that he never released. Will we ever get to hear those?

I’m gonna tell y’all because of business and because of family you probably will, but it’s going to take a little while.

But because of the industry, I wanted to give artists a breath of fresh air, you know what I mean? Any artist that signs up on to be sold as a download.

So I’m telling artists, like, if you dope and I hear you and you say, “Okay, you can sell my music.” You can still go elsewhere and sell it. You can go to iTunes. It’s not exclusive with me, all I’m saying is just give a chance to sell the sack. If you let iTunes sell the music, gimme a chance to put it on my site. I think it’s hot too. I’m not gonna charge you $19 a year. None of that. It’s, it’s free. I’m gonna load you up.

We learned that back in the day. When we had CDs, we figured it out like, wait a minute. It’s not what you get. It’s what you take home. So at the end of the day, what’s one, you say, you giving me $5 a CD non-exclusive yeah. It’s a no-brainer. That’s something else that you could be able to feed your family with.

For you, it’s more about the relationship than just trying to get money from people around you. 

I look at it like, it’s not my music. I didn’t write it, I didn’t produce it. They sending it to me as a product. Like I’m a store as if I had a CD in a store and I’m just putting it on a shelf. But how can you beat somebody like that?

You’re part of the documentary that’s gonna be on Netflix, right?

With Darius West? Yeah man. Am I excited bro? You gotta know your history. If you talk to, anybody from Snoop to DJ Quick to Ice Cube to anybody, they know the history, they’re gonna say Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash. They’re gonna say where it started in New York. They know their history. So the thing about it for me is if you are a young emcee and you in the CHH community, you a believer, you do music. You need to know where you come from. You need to know where all this started. And it didn’t just start with the Gospel Gangstaz

Why do you call yourself “The Sleeping Giant?” Because I feel like you’re kind of awake, right? You’re making moves. You got a lot of stuff going on.

Well, I’m awake now. I was sleeping in the city, man. You know, the reason why I called it The Sleeping Giant is cause I felt like when it came from the Gospel Gangstaz Tik, Solo, and me, they used to say everything. So if you go back and look at our interviews. I’m just sitting there like this. *Arms Crossed*

I didn’t say anything. And the reason why I didn’t used to say anything is because I used to always tell them, I’m as dope but I’m a little more different than y’all. Y’all went to college a little bit. Y’all done read a lot of books and Y’all know how to say the correct English, the correct things I might stumble. I wanted to make sure that when I said something, it was right. And after all that God said, “Chill, you ain’t perfect. You striving to be, but you ain’t perfect man. And whatever I want you to say, I want you to say it. So you need to stop sleeping on yourself.”

Listen to Chille Baby below:

Interview from earlier this year

Luc DiMarzio

Written by Luc DiMarzio

Luc has been a fan of CHH for 30 years, and has been writing about it for just over 4 years. He has a huge passion for amplifying the underground of CHH.

When he's not bumpin hip-hop, you can catch him leading worship at his local church, rooting on the Chicago Cubs with his wife, or swimming with his kids.

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