By Jack Barnes
A self-sufficient artist with a devoted following on all social platforms, Baeza is Fresno’s finest emcee. Rocking a leopard-print button down with gold-studded loafers, Baeza plays the kingpin on “Balmain,” his latest video premiered by HipHopDX. Hiding out in a safehouse in the Central California desert, Baeza and his ski-masked accomplices do their illegal business until they attract a SWAT team, which Baeza repels with the strength of his shotgun. An elegant head-bopper in which Baeza employs a halting, triplet-based flow, “Balmain” is a highlight from 24, his entirely self produced 12-track mixtape released last month. Featuring appearances from Lazy Boy and 2uesday, the 24 mixtape celebrates Baeza’s 24th year, his first as a father, and is the first project the Fresno rapper served since his release from jail earlier this year. Enjoy this video stream below after the jump.
“I was at the studio cooking up beats back to back, not really going for any particular sound when I started the beat for Balmain,” Baeza explains. “I messed around with the baseline until I had a gritty sound that I liked. Once I added the 4 note synth I already knew it was gonna be something fly. I liked the beat pretty simple and open so I added some subtle strings and called it a night. I came back to the studio next day and threw the beat on after letting my ears rest. This is usually what I do to make sure my ears aren’t fatigue before judging whether I really like the beat or not. I immediately starting writing and the lyrics came to me easily. I let the beat tell me what to write about, and that day it was about confidence, style, and grit. I finished writing the whole record within a few hours and knew it was gonna make the cut for my newly release project 24.”
A Central California heartthrob equally accomplished as a rapper and a producer, Baeza kept his fans attentive in the run-up to 24 by dropping gems like “Crucify,” “Miss Me,” and the the club-ready single “Stay 100,” featuring Lazy Boy on his SoundCloud and Spotify accounts, whetting their appetites as they patiently anticipated the full length mixtape. The 24 mixtape is the follow-up to Baeza’s 2015 album The Man, which included features from Clyde Carson and E-40, as well as the breakout hit “Living It Up,” which received a boost when Kylie Jenner featured the track on her Snapchat and earned a remix with Tyga. The single was Baeza’s biggest yet, receiving over 1.25 plays on Spotify and 459,000 plays on SoundCloud and creating a whole new lane of followers for Baeza. With his devoted following and the respect of the industry as a producer, rapper, singer, and Striktly Business clothing line owner, Baeza is ready to make a name for himself with a mainstream audience with his radio-ready style.
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