Baby Stone Gorillas’ music carries the same true-to-life feel as the environment they grew up in. The threatening punchlines might grab attention first, but closer examination reveals the camaraderie of a tight-knit group of friends who are bound together by their shared experiences.
LA’s flourishing rap quartet is composed of Top5ivee, EKillaOffDaBlocck, P4K and 5Much, four youthful, hard-nosed guys with a passion for gangbanging. More often than not, their compatibility on wax is misconstrued for trauma bonding, sharing war stories in abstract ways like a binding agent amongst brothers. But nothing could be further from the truth – B$G’s fellowship is natural.
“Before you even look at us on some gang crazy type shit, look at us for who we are,” EKillaOffDaBlocck says as we dive into the group’s reputation. “Look at us for how we’ve motivated people – four young brothers coming together to create one unique sound and actually do something.”
Earlier this month, B$G released their debut mixtape BABYST5XNE GORILLAS, mirroring their life-long friendship through a string of posse cuts. Gang culture permeates the work, marked by hard-knock lyricism and personal anecdotes from their time spent in the trenches. Empirically, the observable effects of such prolonged thuggery can be measured by impact, creating a concept album that tackles the externalities of life in “The Jungles” – fake love, anxiety, and hollow tips.
As we see them today, B$G is making great strides to become more vulnerable with their art. The spontaneity of a fast-paced lifestyle brings balance to their world, but they’re looking forward to embracing new beginnings while also reminding everyone that they can’t be fucked with.
How does B$G blend four different personalities into one sound?
Top5ivee: Really, it’s just us. We all got our own type of flow and we’re a group; it’s four of us. That combines into one and that’s how we killin ‘em because it’s four different flows. So say if it’s one rapper, one rapper always has one flow but they can switch it up ten times, right? But it’s four of us and we all got ten different flows, so what, that’s 40 different flows, and how many flows can we do in different songs, ya feel me. We crazy wit it.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: And we just be working so much Ion even think we’ve looked into it like that. It’s so normal because we been doing it.
What is the Baby Stone Gorillas origin story?
Top5ivee: We were really just gangbanging until we found something that – Ion wanna something that we’re good at; and we not good at it, we crazy wit this shit – but when we first started, we were getting it in together. We believed in us even though everybody else wasn’t hip to that sound because we weren’t sounding how we are now, kind of on a Detroit type flow, on they beats or whatever. And then we branched off fast on our own in LA. We went from doing 20K on SoundCloud to doing 100K on YouTube. Now, the one we did 100-300K on is at a million now, 1.1M.
That’s a lot of progress to make in such a short period of time. I feel like y’all have been releasing music [as a group] for one year at most.
Top5ivee: Yeah, on Youtube, nothing else. We did this before the label, too. It was all genuine support. Everybody fucking with us all around type shit.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: A nigga looked at it like damn, we could finally be setting a trend, too; only dropping shit on YouTube [laughs].
Top5ivee: I think Ghazi was explaining to us how Lil Durk and nem took a long time to hit their first million, how did we do it in eight months. That was something I really couldn’t even answer myself.
Much of the B$G’s success in rap comes from your ability to speak on life with no filter, through a street-centric lens. In return, that creates a shared, more personal experience for the average listener – is it hard to balance your lifestyle with fame?
Top5ivee: We can’t be certain places. We can’t do certain stuff that we were doing. We all human beings, but Ion wanna call [them] regular people in a bad way, but we can’t just do stuff that normal people do; like go out and stand here or wait for food right there. We could have back then but now we’re noticed; we’re targets, too. We do both, we rap and gangbang. We got billboards up and everything, so [they] triggered.
Fake love tends to outweigh real love.
Top5ivee: Sometimes it’s both.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: It’s a lot of people that really fuck wit us, fuck wit us, and it’s a lot of people that fake fuck wit us; they just wanna see what we got going. It’s a lot of people that just watch our videos and don’t like ‘em. You know how you go on YouTube and hit that thumbs up? It’s some actual haters that really hit the thumbs down and still watch it [laughs].
Do you feel like your fans are invested in your come up?
Top5ivee: Hell yeah. Now, we can express ourselves more in the music – people are actually listening to us. They can feel the same shit we do. Everybody go through the same shit, just in different areas. We can put our shit through the music and actually touch people. Now, we learning how to do it in different ways and it’s getting better.
What’s the biggest lesson you guys have learned so far?
5Much: The hate and the love, they both motivation.
If you had to explain Baby Stone Gorillas to someone who’s never heard your music, how would you bring them into your world?
5Much: They wouldn’t want to come into our world [laughs].
EKillaOffDaBlocck: That’s a tough one. Everybody quick to say put yourself in somebody else’s shoes but I’d be on some more shit where I’d come in – shit, that’s a tough one, bro.
5Much: What do you mean by that, like where would take them or what’s us?
P4K: The gorillas in the zoo.
Take me to “The Jungles.”
5Much: It’s B$G everything but at the same time we been brothers before that, on bigs. That’s why niggas really pushing how we pushing, feel me. Before we all sat, we was in the trenches; we sat in the same house, putting together raps. We never seen ourselves being where we are today.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: I’d say some shit like, before you even look at us on some gang crazy type shit, look at us for who we are. Look at us for how we’ve motivated people – four young brothers coming together to create one unique sound and actually do something.
5Much: It’s powerful.
What’s a common misconception people have about B$G? I think the group is perceived to have a bad rep because of how the world views gang culture.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: We some cool as niggas, bruh. They think we crazy, crazy and we not even like that.
5Much: They think P4 got a rocket launcher and gon’ blow some shit up [laughs]. They think outside the box.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: Just be with a nigga for a day and you’ll really see how we some goofy ass young niggas who found some shit that they really love and just taking it somewhere. And it’s crazy ‘cause it’s some shit that we never had before.
Can you speak about the reception your music has received? You guys have experienced quite the run for an up-and-coming rap group.
5Much: I feel like we all have different goals [in life] but as one goal, –
EKillaOffDaBlocck: It’s to really be successful, bro.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: Really get some stamp forreal; really get our merch out – really just get to that next level of being rappers.
What does that next level of success look like?
EKillaOffDaBlocck: What you thinking P4?
P4K: Big Rolls’, mansion in the hills, shows over here and over there, out of state, across them lines.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: Big tours, different pop up shits, walk-throughs.
5Much: I feel like we gon’ fuck ‘em up because we got a lot of shit that we’re tryna get our foot in with the community and all type of shit. It’s all a work in progress, but down the line, though. I know a lot of people that were in our shoes and we stood around them everyday, and they wondering like, ‘how you do it,’ and it ain’t really no sauce; it’s about doing what’s you, on everything. People gotta realize the world change fast. It’s a new era right now – everything internet based.
We’re definitely in the internet age – everything is digital. As artists, how has that affected your ability to attract new fans? Platforms such as TikTok have taken the world by storm.
5Much: For me, I say it depends. Like with TikTok, I be seeing people get judged for making ‘em and then I’ll see the same person do one with they female. It’s just all these trends.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: I feel like [TikTok] would make our jobs easier because we wanna be at shows and we wanna be seen, so I feel like it wouldn’t be no biggie to do it, we just gotta do ‘em. We just gotta get out of our comfort zone.
Is [being comfortable] something that you guys struggle with?
EKillaOffDaBlocck: We working on it right now, that’s an honest answer. Growing up, Black people are taught to be boxed in and to hate each other; you can’t go over here, you can’t go this way. We still working on it, and when we do, it’s like damn, we don’t ever wanna leave. We just went to San Francisco for the first time and we ain’t wanna leave. We was out there for almost one week.
5Much: We went to Rodeo [Drive] for a day and bro bout had to drag us outta there [laughs].
EKillaOffDaBlocck: So yeah, we wanna get out of our comfort zone, we just gotta do it.
Which song from BABYST5XNE GORILLAS best describes this stage of your career – and why?
5Much: Probably the intro or ‘Pause,’ or it could be ‘Military.’
EKillaOffDaBlocck: What you thinking P4?
P4K: ‘Military’ and ‘County Ride.’
5Much: That’s the same song.
P4K: You know what’s crazy, I got it as two different names, though.
5Much: I be saying ‘County Ride,’ too, sometimes.
P4K: It’s ‘Military’ on YouTube but it’s ‘County Ride’ in my phone.
5Much: The original name ‘County Ride,’ though.
Why the sudden change in title?
P4K: It was just a decision. We was just thinking of names – should we call this ‘Military’ because of the placement of the bass in the song and what it means, or should we just call it ‘County Ride’ for what it stands for.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: ‘Cause I’m saying county ride in the song.
5Much: But we really the military, though.
What the song means and what it represents are two different things?
P4K: A certain part of it. The song meaning, I’m talking about somebody, but what I’m talking about in the song, county ride, that’s something everybody been through. If you a gang member, it don’t matter where you from, nigga, you been on that county ride. You can be a Mexican, they been on that county ride.
5Much: You can be Caucasian or anything, you been on that county ride – Asians, everybody. A while back I was dealing with an Asian dude who was older, he got in trouble with the law back then, he was like, ‘I been here for four years.’ I asked ‘em how old he was and he was like, ‘I’m 50.’ They were tryna give him 25 years. He still fighting his case, though, and he ain’t even proven guilty; they kept him away from his family for that long. Anybody can feel [it], that’s why I feel like we have fans all around – in Jerusalem, everywhere. It’s a jail system everywhere.
Did jail play a role in your development as artists?
5Much: Yeah. Some of the songs I dropped were made in jail. Me and P4 were in jail together writing songs.
EKillaOffDaBlocck: We be going so hard with this music shit, it’s like damn, we don’t never wanna go back to jail so that’s why niggas really be going so hard. We don’t even wanna look at that shit.
5Much: We got people down right now, feel me. It’s all motivation.