Often times when a rapper blows up after putting in years of work, labels love to try and spark fresh hype via a "debut album." Babyface Ray moves independently under his own Wavy Gang imprint, so he didn't fall into this trap with his latest effort 'Face.’
"This my debut album to introduce me to the industry," Ray told Complex in a recent interview. Scroll to see 3 ways he's making this debut his own.
1. Babyface Ray's Comfort Knows No Bounds
When asked to describe 'Face,' which officially arrived last Friday, one word comes to Ray's mind: "versatile." Across 20 songs, the Detroit rapper leans into a variety of sounds while also showing love to the frantic, grimy and intoxicating aesthetic he helped cultivate in his city.
On "Kush & Codeine" with Wiz Khalifa, he borrows the drum pattern from Wiz's own "Never Been" and gives it a new swagger. "Seduction" will remind fans of Money Man and Lil Baby's "24" with its woozy guitar loop. Ray even samples OneRepublic's "Apologize" on the intro track.
2. Money Is The Motivation, But It's Not The Only One
As fan reactions to 'Face' flooded corners of the internet, one tweet hilariously summed up Ray's veteran attitude and approach: "Babyface Ray rap like he disappointed you not getting to a bag." Play any song and it's likely you'll catch the 30-year-old dropping gems about his nonstop journey to stack bread.
But Ray isn't about to sacrifice his art along the way. "I can't sell my soul for the money / Even though the goal was the money," he raps on "Go Yard."
3. Ray's Everyday Vices Both Help & Hurt Him
The consequences of addiction have become increasingly familiar in hip-hop in recent years. For Ray, his affinity for pills and codeine is multi-dimensional.
Talking to Complex, he credited these vices with making him "more relaxed in the booth" and enabling his true "chill" personality to come through in his music, i.e., cool cuts like "Mob" and "Tunnel Vision."
On the other hand, Ray knows he's "Dancing With The Devil," inspiring the title of one of the more revealing tracks on 'Face' where he nods to the real pressure and trauma that's pushed him to this point: "Gotta pray for my soul 'cause it's torture really."
Y'all feeling Ray's new project?