James Baker, better known as “BlocBoy JB,” is an American songwriter and rapper. He is best known for his performance with Canadian rapper Drake in the superhit single ‘Look Alive.’ He grew up in an environment plagued with gangsters but managed to break away from his past and enter the world of music. He started his career by uploading his own music on his ‘SoundCloud’ profile, which became quite popular later. He met producer Tay Keith in his early teens. Keith became his mentor and best friend. He also helped BlocBoy establish himself as a rapper. BlocBoy’s first mixtape, ‘Who Am I,’ with the hit number ‘No Chorus Pt. 6,’ was released under the label ‘Bloc Nation’ and gained instant success. He choreographed the “shoot dance,” which became a craze after the release of his single ‘Shoot.’ His number ‘Rover’ became viral on social media and caught the attention of Drake. His latest mixtape, ‘Simi,’ was awarded the ‘Best Mixtape’ at the 2018 ‘BET Hip Hop Awards’ ceremony. BlocBoy fathered a son when he was 19 years old. He is currently single. Fans are waiting eagerly for his first studio album.
Childhood & Early Life
BlocBoy was born on May 19, 1996, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. His father is a criminal who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence. In the absence of his father, he and his six siblings were raised by their mother. He is of African–American ethnicity. He was not regular in school and had to drop out in the tenth grade due to poor attendance and performance.
At the age of 14, Baker became a member of the local ‘Peda Roll Mafia,’ affiliated to the Los Angeles-based ‘Grape Street Watts Crips.’ He was involved in gang-related activities since childhood. He served a one-month prison sentence in 2012 for home invasion. The rest of the sentence was completed under house arrest.
He was fond of music and began experimenting on ‘YouTube’ with his brother’s equipment. He uploaded his first song, ‘Goons Coming,’ when he was a teenager. The popularity of the song motivated him to make a career out of music.
He moved to Raleigh in North Memphis to break away from the local mafia and to pursue his dream in music. There, he met producer Tay Keith. He started making professional music by the end of 2010.
By 2012, he began uploading his own music on his ‘SoundCloud’ profile. Music opened new doors for him, inspiring him to lead a better life. He picked up odd jobs in warehouses and fast-food eateries to sustain himself. However, he could not stick to a regular job. Ultimately, music took over and became a full-time profession for him.
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BlocBoy released his first mixtape, ‘Who Am I,’ in June 2016, under the label ‘Bloc Nation.’ The tape contained the hit single ‘No Chorus Pt. 6.’ The song gained over two million “views” on ‘YouTube,’ making him an overnight sensation on the internet. He also released the mixtapes ‘Grape Juice’ and ‘Who Am I 2’ later that year. ‘Bloc Nation’ became his standard label.
His track ‘Shoot’ was released in 2017. It gave rise to a new form of dance called the “shoot dance,” which became a hit with the youth. He was nominated for the ‘Kids’ Choice Award’ for the ‘Favorite Dance Trend’ for his performance in the video. His mixtapes ‘Loco,’ ‘Who Am I 3,’ and ‘The Purple M&M’ were released during the same period and were equally popular.
In 2018, his track ‘Rover’ became viral. It caught the attention of Canadian rapper Drake. Drake initially worked on a remix of ‘Rover’ but later collaborated with BlocBoy to release the superhit single ‘Look Alive.’ The song debuted at number five on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart. The number had over 80 million “views” on ‘YouTube’ in the first month.
This was closely followed by his contribution to Moneybagg Yo’s project ‘2 Heartless.’ In March 2018, he released ‘Rover 2.0’ in collaboration with rapper 21 Savage from Atlanta. The single reached the second spot on the ‘Bubbling Under Hot 100’ singles list.
Later in 2018, he appeared in rapper ASAP Rocky’s ‘Bad Company’ and in rapper Tay-K’s ‘Hard’ on the podcast ‘No Jumper.’ He was also featured in ‘Slow Dance’ with rapper Brianna Perry and in ‘Better’ with rapper Chantel Jeffries.
He released his own single, ‘Produced by BlocBoy,’ which was closely followed by his next mixtape, ‘Simi,’ in May 2018. His latest single, ‘Let It Go,’ with ‘88rising’ and ‘Higher Brothers’ was released as part of the album ‘Head in the Clouds.’
The American hip-hop magazine ‘XXL’ included him in the ‘2018 Freshman Class’ in their June 2018 edition. He is currently an established rapper with a large fan base on social media. He has created a niche for himself in the world of rap music. Fans are eagerly awaiting his debut studio album.
He has worked on the mixtapes ‘Who Am I’ (2016), ‘Grape Juice’ (2016), ‘Who Am I 2’ (2016), ‘Loco’ (2017), ‘Who Am I 3’ (2017), ‘The Purple M&M’ (2017), and ‘Simi (2018).
He has released the hit singles ‘Rover 2.0,’ ‘Look Alive,’ ‘Produced by BlocBoy,’ and ‘Let it Go.’
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He has contributed to the single ‘OG Beeper’ from the album ‘Testing’ by ASAP Rocky and the single ‘Who Want the Smoke?’ from the album ‘Nuthin’ 2 Prove’ by Lil Yachty and Cardi B.
Awards & Achievements
His mixtape ‘Simi’ was awarded the ‘Best Mixtape’ at the ‘2018 BET Hip Hop Awards’ ceremony.
BlocBoy is a self-taught musician who grew up amidst difficult circumstances He fathered a son at the age of 19. However, he prefers not to mention the mother’s name. He is currently believed to be single.
He christened himself “BlocBoy JB” because he was known for spending a lot of time in the neighborhood block. He also added his father’s initials, ‘JB,’ to his pseudonym.
He created a controversy when he posted a video of himself shooting dice at ‘Hamilton High School,’ Memphis, Tennessee, in 2017.
It was rumored that Drake’s label, ‘OVO Sound,’ would offer BlocBoy a contract in early 2018.
Tray Keith is BlocBoy JB’s collaborative partner and producer. Keith is responsible for BlocBoy’s rise in the world of music and entertainment.
His signature “shoot dance” was choreographed by himself in front of a mirror while working on the track ‘Shoot.’
His mixtape ‘Simi’ is named in honor of his friend who helped him break out of the gangster life and concentrate on rapping. Ironically, the friend died in a gunfight.