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Yung Baby Tate: ‘I don’t send hate back to the haters’

Attitude is everything. Just ask Yung Baby Tate.

Yung Baby Tate
Photo: Nate Shuls

A: Specifically speaking about your production, you have Trap elements and Rap elements. But there’s also a playful, melodic, and juvenile vibe at times. Is that a conscious choice? Who are your influences production wise?

T: Production wise, some of my influences are definitely Missy, Timbaland, Pharrell. I’m really into percussion a lot lately. My beats are just weird and a reflection of myself kind of, so that’s why you get the bubbly sometimes and sometimes it’s Trap because that’s literally who I am. I’m influenced by a lot because I grew up listening to a lot of different music. I grew up listening to Soul, R&B, Old School, 60s, The Beatles, Marvin Gaye. I grew up listening to a lot. My influence comes from pretty much everywhere.

A: In talking about you growing up, obviously your mom Dionne Farris is this amazing singer in her own right.

T: Yeah.

A: Your dad David Ryan Harris is also very recognized. Both of them are accomplished musicians. Have they always supported you in music? What was it like growing up with them and do you feel pressure to live up to their legacy?

T: My dad, I don’t even know that man. But my mom definitely was always supportive of me wanting to do music. She always wanted me to make sure I did it the right way, though. She was always very supportive. She was always at my shows and stuff. I kind of do feel a little pressure, but I really don’t because I feel like I’m doing my own thing. I don’t go around telling people [Dionne Farris] is my mom. [David Ryan Harris] is my dad. I kind of just stand on my own name, and I’ve always wanted my legacy to be my own. It’s an attachment to their legacy, but I wanted to frame that out for myself and not use them as a crutch or anything.

A: I saw on your twitter you posted a photo from when you modelled on a relaxer box as a kid. Can you tell me about that?

T: There was this lady at my church who does hair, and still to this day does my hair. She was involved with a lot of different hair companies, like very popping hair companies. She asked me one day like, “Hey, do you want to model for this perm box?” I’m like, “Yeah, but I don’t want to put a perm in my hair.” She’s like, “Oh, we don’t have to put no perm in your hair girl.” So she just did my hair. I pulled up some photo shoots. Had my hair done, makeup done, face beat.

A: How old were you at this time?

T: I want to say I was like 12, but I could have been younger. At least ten. Ten to 12, around that age.

A: Wow. That’s really eye-opening to find out you didn’t have your hair relaxed but were on the relaxer box.

T: Girl! So many people there actually just had natural hair, it was just pressed out. They be lying.

A: I know you went to performing arts school throughout your childhood and adolescence. Do you have any plans to go back to performance or acting?

T: Oh, for sure. I definitely want to get back into acting very soon, but right now I’m super focused on the music. That’s my main goal, but I definitely do want to get back into acting. I’m trying to snag every award there is. I want an Oscar, I want a Grammy, I want a Tony.

A: You’re trying to get that EGOT.

T: Yea, girl I’m trying to get it all.

A: I definitely feel like that’s possible. Moving into more sensitive topics, most of your music engages personal relationships, be they casual, monogamous, romantic. What’s your stance on traditional relationships?

T: Do you mean like monogamous relationships?

A: Yes.

T: I think that relationships are beautiful. I think that relationships are necessary. I feel like that’s what we’re on this earth to do. To have relationships with people, whether they be friendships – that’s a relationship, you know. Family. Romantic. I feel like traditional monogamous relationships… man. I just feel like it’s up to you. It’s up to what you want to do. It’s all up to communication. That’s pretty much it. You just have to communicate.

A: Do you feel like adversity or hardships within relationships or trying to find common ground, does that inform your work? When you listen to ‘Cuddy Buddy’, it’s almost a celebration of the ambiguous space of maybe not being in a traditional relationship.

T: Yea, definitely. There was a time where I just felt like maybe relationships aren’t for me. Maybe I’m not meant to be a girlfriend. So maybe we could just be friends and still cool it, you could be my cuddy buddy type [relationship]. But like I said, it’s all down to communication. No matter what type of labels you put on something. Communication is what makes a relationship, honestly.

A: That’s key.

T: Yeah.

A: Your lyrics are very sex positive. You don’t shy away from broaching those topics. At the same time, I’ve also seen you talk about being celibate on your curious cat, and people will call you out like “Oh, you’re acting hoe-ish.”

T: Yeah.

A: Do you ever feel there’s a pressure to change how you navigate that sphere?

T: No, I don’t think there’s a pressure for me to change. I think people just like to troll honestly. And I feel like people just like to talk shit, and that’s what comes with doing music and being in the public eye. So I don’t feel a pressure to change anything that I’m doing. I feel like I know myself and I have enough conversations with self to know who I am and how I would like to express myself. So, I really don’t care what people say.



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