Rapper/producer/songwriter Baby Keem has contributed to projects by some of rap's finest while also working on his own stylistically shifting music. On mixtapes like 2019's Die for My Bitch, he explored melodic rap, trap rhythms, old-school beats, and even woozy synth sounds on his breakthrough single "Orange Soda." In 2021, his Kendrick Lamar-assisted "Family Ties" was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Baby Keem was born Hykeem Carter in Carson, California, in the year 2000. His interest in music grew during his early life, and he was putting together his own songs by age 15. After releasing several tracks under his own name, he took on the Baby Keem moniker in 2018 with the release of his Midnight EP. As his rap skills developed, he was also growing as a producer. In 2018, living in Los Angeles, he co-wrote and co-produced a track on Kendrick Lamar's Black Panther: The Album, and worked on songs for Jay Rock's Redemption, which became a Grammy Award winner later that year. Keem released another EP, Hearts and Darts, in the summer of 2018, and followed with the mixtape The Sound of a Bad Habit in the fall. In 2019, the rapper contributed production to tracks for ScHoolboy Q as well as a song on the soundtrack for The Lion King: The Gift. His second mixtape, Die for My Bitch, was released in July of that year, a 14-track project that utilized a variety of different styles and production techniques. Keem ended the year with a pair of tracks, "France Freestyle" and "Orange Soda," returning in 2020 with the moody "Hooligan" and "Sons & Critics Freestyle." In 2021, he released the song "Durag Activity" with Travis Scott, swiftly followed by the Grammy-nominated, Kendrick Lamar-assisted "Family Ties." His debut studio album, The Melodic Blue, arrived later that year: boasting yet another Lamar feature, the project further demonstrated Keem's versatility.