Babyxsosa: Everything Is In Real Time


“The internet made things difficult to be achieved,” Babyxsosa tells me during our call. “To the point where people are just doing the surface. And the surface just so happens to be Instagram.”


It’s an astute observation from the singer, rapper, and producer, whose name rose through the SoundCloud ranks with her acclaimed 2019 single, “Everywhereigo.” Since then, Babyxsosa has lived in New York and LA, releasing dozens of singles and three EPs. Moving swiftly between worlds, modeling for Heavn by Marc Jacobs and Anonymous Club/Hood By Air, collaborating with Anonymous Club on an archival presentation of Hood By Air pieces for a G.L.I.T.S. benefit, working with performance artist and musician Kembra Phfaler, and having received shoutouts from Playboi Carti, Babyxsosa has emerged as a “digital princess”—to the point that an ode has even been written about her voice.

However, as her 2023 EPs attest, she’s moved on from that “old Babyxsosa sound,” where her distinctly high-pitched rapping soars over minimal, slightly distorted, bass-heavy beats. Last July she released BLING BLING, a 14-minute collection of electroclash, gabber, and discordant techno marking her booming entry into electronica. Just four months later she released Babyxsosa, a project that features little rapping, except for “Baby G,” which even then she describes as a “trickier” revision of her early approach. Working predominantly with a sparse set of synths and unfurling vocals, it’s her most monumental project to date. On the closing song, “I’m Over This Level Of Life, My Love,” her voice runs, spliced, mutated, at times screaming, against organ-bent synths and chirping birds as it dramatizes the eight-minute song in an almost romantic mode. Made against a culture of constant alienation, Babyxsosa marks the artist’s grand return to realness—a quality she now seeks every day, in every thing she does.

In a rare interview, we discussed life after (or beyond) Instagram, the dangers of omission, her two newest EPs, and the importance of doing real things in real time. In a materialization of the latter, Babyxsosa had her grandmother photograph her for the accompanying shoot seen here.


Phillip Pyle: Your newest EP, Babyxsosa, is very different than BLING BLING and Babyxobama. How did you arrive here?

Babyxsosa: For the self-titled project, some of those singles were recorded in 2022, even before there was any BLING BLING electronic music. I made “I Found It” in 2021 with Vegyn when we were making “RUNNING.” At the beginning of 2022, my producer Nightfeelings, or Nick [Weiss], and I made “Never Know/ Viral,” and he put the chords on “I Found It.” It sounds a bit custom or not very fine-tuned. But I didn’t take anything out. It was just on the spot. Everything on the project, except for “Baby G,” are single takes of me going for around 20 or 30 minutes.

PP: How did the cover image come about?

Babyxsosa: I didn’t schedule it, it was very random. I was in the Goodwill with my grandmother and some guy walked up to me and said, "I don’t mean to be rude, but I love your music and how long are you here?” He’s like, “oh, you live here, I thought you lived in New York.” Instead of me getting uncomfortable or getting mad at him, I was just like, “What do you want?” And he’s like, “Oh, I’m a photographer.” And I was like, “Okay, well, since you already know about my whereabouts, why don’t you come and shoot me today?” I didn’t tell him it was going to have my ass in it. But that was kind of the point.

PP: Your vocals have always separated you from other music, and you give your voice a lot more room to spread out on Babyxsosa. The instrumentation is sparser, and the EP has a lot of vocal runs.

Babyxsosa: It was just me and Nick in a shipping container making these things. No one else came in and added drums. It was so intimate. We were just working with what we had. And what we had, the vocals and the synths, was already so powerful.

PP: Have your thoughts on working in fashion changed after your Instagram was disabled?

Babyxsosa: I don’t see a direct correlation between Instagram and my fashion work. I would say the only thing that has maybe changed is I don’t have FOMO. It’s impossible to have FOMO if you can’t see things. And then when you do see it, you ask yourself, “Why do you guys all care about this?”

PP: How have things been in LA since you moved there?

Babyxsosa: LA has done nothing but show me a good time and opportunity. No one in my family has made it this far west. I love Los Angeles. I love New York, but as soon as I moved to New York, pursuing my life as an artist, I never had the chance to become comfortable as a young woman. Also, I moved there during the pandemic. It was just a place of work, and once work became too much, I tried to take a break there and that just wasn’t the vibe.

PP: You’ve released multiple singles on streaming since Babyxsosa, including “Where You Went Wrong” and “No Beyonce,” which sound more similar to your past discography. You also recently dropped a freestyle over a Chanel Beads song on SoundCloud. How do you decide what goes on a streaming platform versus what stays on SoundCloud?

Babyxsosa: I had a lot of music on SoundCloud and then it got hacked in 2021 or 2022. I used to upload to SoundCloud very freely, but after someone deleted all of my music, I’ve been a bit less excited to drop on SoundCloud. I guess the stuff I do post on SoundCloud is more experimental. It’s me building something, getting into something new, figuring something out. It’s the process before something is done.

I dropped “No Beyonce” and “Where You Went Wrong” because those are old 2023 songs. They needed to come out or they wouldn’t come out at all. “No Beyonce” and “Where You Went Wrong” were going to be on the Babyxsosa album. I was in the process of making the Babyxsosa album, not this short experimental EP, and then someone leaked my rollout. That’s when it turned into this.

PP: With the experience of having part of that project leaked, and people generally undermining your past music, do you still have any desire to plan things out?

Babyxsosa: I don’t have to be doing anything—I never said I was strictly a rapper. I think Pitchfork said it and that totally changed my trajectory. Other people blew it up. I am actually trained in reading sheet music. I am actually an oboe player.

PP: I didn’t know you played the oboe.

Babyxsosa: No one knows the things that are actually me, and that’s why there have been misunderstandings. I mean, I could put it in as many blogs as I’d like that I used to play the oboe and that I can read music, but will people act as such? Yeah, I played the oboe. That’s my instrument. I mean, I do sing. I was the lead in Annie and I’ve been going to the recording studio since I was 17. I DJ, too. I do everything.


PP: So, a lot gets omitted?

Babyxsosa: Everything gets omitted… And I’m not against it because music changed my life in terms of poverty. I didn’t even release music on streaming platforms until I moved to New York. Someone had to tell me to monetize.

So that is why I’m where I’m at now. And I’m like, “We don’t have to make that, we don’t have to make a song. But, today, I actually would love to make some BLING BLING.” And that’s where BLING BLING came about. I would have seven hours of studio time and lay on the floor with the headphones listening to this metronome tick, waiting for me to say something. I love to sing, but I couldn't, I was hurt. It was maybe two to three months of that. It wasn’t writer’s block, but who wants to write when they’re going through things and it’s really dark? I started to feel—have you listened to Sexy Sushi?

PP: Yeah, I have.

Babyxsosa: I started to feel again when I listened to them. It didn’t make me want to make a song like that but I could literally feel the vibrations on the floor, hitting my ear, and making my body want to get up and dance. It’s all in French, I don’t know what they’re saying. It was never about what they were saying. It was about the feeling.

I think I died, I literally died. And BLING BLING was the thing that resuscitated me. I was like, “How come no one’s ever trying to put me in front of a drum machine?” Arca invited me to do a DJ set. I went to the Arca show, which was the most people I’ve ever stood in front of for a performance that was not cheerleading, and I’m on stage about to DJ and I’m like, “hmm, uh, I’ll play some…” [Laughs] Then I went into a BLING BLING song. It was a gabber demo.

PP: Which one?



PP: Did BLING BLING start track by track?

Babyxsosa: No, BLING BLING started off with someone teaching me how to use a drum machine. Then it turned into me directing sounds on the mic, “Turn the beat up like this. Turn it down like this. Okay, add this.” Once the beat got to a point where I liked it, that’s when I started singing or rapping for 45 minutes. So, I started off with “BLINGBLINGCEO,” played it at the Arca show, and it got a really good reaction. I started to murmur on the mic and people were like, “Is this a performance?” No one knew what the fuck that was. I didn’t even know what the fuck it was. I was on the mic laughing and performing electronic. I had never done that. It’s so easy for someone who’s not Black to make a career off just noise.

Well, actually, “HELICOPTER” was the first thing I made with Nick, who toured with Crystal Castles back in the day. Nick was like, "Oh my God, Sosa, how come no one’s ever played with you with this vibe?” I’m like, “Dude, I don’t know.” Not saying we don’t do it but I’m a Black girl from the South. When I made it with him, not only was it easy, it was fun.

“X&O 127 BLING” and “LA BOY/ CITY GIRL” were strictly me. I was able to communicate exactly what I was trying to communicate without feeling misunderstood, without having to say it or text it or email it. I made the beat and the voice from scratch. And we made that in my basement in New York. I had a three-story apartment. I couldn’t go out. I was DoorDashing burgers and red wine and smoking American Spirits like it was a blunt. Drinking black coffee. [Laughs]

PP: Sounds like a crazy time. [Laughs]

Babyxsosa: Watching Superbad. On a loop. On the DVD player. I don’t even think I had Wi-Fi in there.

PP: You were watching Superbad on a loop? [Laughs]

Babyxsosa: Yes! My bedroom was at the top, like a princess bedroom. And then the basement was my work studio. “X&O 127 BLING” was special because I got to make a song in my house. We had a flight to Miami the next day, and I’m singing about Miami. I hadn’t even been to Miami yet! And when I got to Miami the next day, I performed it at a club. So that’s why I said that this new work is very real, raw in real time. I’m not saying other things are fake or raw, unedited or edited, or people are fake. What I’m trying to communicate is that everything is in real time.

I honestly want to say none of this newer music would even be here if it wasn’t for BLING BLING. I didn’t want to keep going in the same direction as I was when I was 19 and 20. I’m not rapping about boys and feelings. I’m getting money, I’m doing other shit. I’m trying to do something I don’t know how to do. If you see me holding off, it’s because I’m putting extra love into it.