A&E

Three reasons to catch Atlanta rapper Lil Baby

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LIl Baby plays House of Blues on March 22.
Photo: Tor Derricotte
M.T. Richards

1. His music is anthemic. Lil Baby is a 24-year-old millionaire, and like any young breadwinner, occasionally feels asphyxiated by the harsher facts of life. No wonder his music has caught on—these are historically anxious times, so it’s as good a time as any to get lost in the majestic cacophony of Drip Harder, the album he made with fellow Atlanta rapper Gunna last October.

2. It’s OK to cry at a Lil Baby show. He occasionally rhapsodizes about codeine cough syrup, but otherwise Baby’s a very sad guy. In the video for new single “Global,” he paces a hotel parking lot in the Bahamas, shoulders slumped and voice halting. You could pluck him in any number of tropical locales, and his demeanor wouldn’t change. He’s a lonesome cyborg who self-medicates with Auto-Tune, but his music draws strength from a willingness to reckon honestly with negative feelings.

3. How better to cope with Future’s absence? Right now Baby’s status as the rueful king of robo-funk is pretty much uncontested. The guy is a force of nature, belting out hit after hit; while not classically great at either rapping or singing, he understands the primacy of authenticity, sincerity and peace with one’s limitations. Future won’t be in town for a long while, but he and Baby share many of the same attributes, like a slouching swagger and a charmingly blemished singing voice.

LIL BABY with Blueface, Jordan Hollywood, Rylo Rodriguez. March 22, 7:30 p.m., $43+. House of Blues, 702-632-7600.

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