When Wes Period's housing situation fell through earlier this year, the young LA upstart got creative, pretty literally. The rapper and producer decided to shack up in a cheap studio and put up a Craigslist ad to engineer sessions at his new temporary home. His first reply? Ye Ali, the young Indiana-born artist and songwriter who's already being tipped as one of wavy R&B's next to break (PARTYNEXTDOOR and Trinidad James even made nocturnal cameos in his video for "Late Night Flex"). When Ali arrived, the new collaborators ended up hitting it off effortlessly, vibing to a beat. So he called up Tommy Genesis, the visual artist and self-professed "fetish rapper" whose forward-thinking underground sound is the insane spirit child of Death Grips and Lil Kim. Fans of intoxicatingly twisted Atlanta rap might recognize the Vancouver-born Genesis from Father's cult Awful Records roster, if not her own Fatima al Qadiri-leaning banger "Execute."
When Tommy laid down entrancing vocals on Ye and Ali's track, that was it — baby.daddi, the trio's collective moniker, was born. They've been holed up in the studio ever since, crafting the self titled EP i-D is very pleased to premiere today.
Baby.daddi is five tracks of pure summer stickiness — indisputably essential listening for any hazy house party one wishes to describe as "lit." Tommy's flow transitions effortlessly between syrupy slow hooks — which groove with Ali's own — and quick lyrical quips, each vibe masterminded by Wes' humid drum hits. "There was no set process, there never is. Artists just come together," Tommy explains. "We all wrote our own parts and then Wes was the one who really fit the puzzle together. If Wes is the glue then Ye is the pigment, and I was the trap."
As you press play on the addicting new sound of the season, get to know the trio behind — in Tommy's words — some "dream-like, dark palm tree serenity."
Introduce yourselves! Tell us about what you do, the kind of music you enjoy creating outside of the group, and your role within baby.daddi.
Wes Period: I'm Wes Period, Champagne Champion. I'm an artist, producer, and musician. I make feel good music with soul. I executive produced, recorded, and sang on the EP.
Tommy Genesis: I'm Tommy. I produce, rap, and make sculptures. For this project I wrote most of the hooks. Wes snapped on production and post-production, and me and Ye sort of rapped back and forth conversationally. It was a very organic process. We have this joke where Wes is mom and I'm dad because we're always arguing; Ye is the baby because he just falls asleep.
Ye Ali: I am a songwriter and artist based in LA. I enjoy creating R&B, pop, hip hop, and jazz, I encourage live instruments during my solo sessions, and I generally work with the same three producers. My role was that of A&R in the way I selected the production as well as contributed to production on one song with Wes. My ear for production is what I pride myself on with this project.
Tell us about the EP's recording process. How do you go about making a track: do you work individually at any stages, or brainstorm everything together constantly?
Wes: It was mixture of both. I've been vocal producing and recording Ye for over a year now. Him and Tommy came to the studio with a couple song ideas, one of them was the song I ended up adding additional production to with Chuck Inglish and Esta. Once we felt the chemistry in that first session, we knew we should do a project together. I ended up producing three more records, rapping, and singing the hook on "Lovely Drug," which was the last song for the project.
Ye: We had about three separate sessions before we completed the EP. We did it all together in the same room the whole time.
What was the vibe or energy you were trying to capture on the record?
Wes: As producer my goal was to shed light on a different side of Tommy and Ye and create a world with them that leaned more towards summertime, poolside vibes than what we are used to hearing from them. I really pushed Tommy melodically to stretch what she can do vocally and she BEYOND DELIVERED. Ye is one of the best songwriters I know, but because Tommy was singing much more, it gave Ye a chance to show what he can do as a rapper, which was incredible.
Tommy: We really weren't trying to be anything, but for me it's the most pop-like EP I've ever made. I do think you can hear the Ye sound, the Wes sound, and the Tommy sound all fused together into this dream-like, dark palm tree serenity.
Ye: It felt good to make something that felt alive and warm and, at times, dark and vulnerable. I grew up loving Duran Duran, Sting, and Al Green. My taste in older music was my main inspiration in the up-tempo pop feel of the album.
What's the best thing about being young and creative today?
Wes: Direct to the people. No gate keepers. NO EXCUSES.
Tommy: You can be anyone — including yourself.
Ye: No restrictions, no rules.
Download baby.daddi's EP here, exclusively via i-D.
Text Emily Manning
Image courtesy Juliann McCandless