Today, Louisville rapper 2KBABY releases his anthemic new full-length, First Quarter. The record finds him refining his soulful, head-to-the-sky rap-singing, making every turn of phrase feel momentous. The project boasts glorious features from Chief Keef, DDG, Mozzy, and Kaash Paige. To commemorate the release, 2K is also sharing the video for album cut “Postman,” which pairs a vintage sample of The Carpenters with massive 808s and a hilarious love story. Already known for his searing vocals and gripping storytelling, 2K elevates his craft even further on First Quarter.
From the opening moments of First Quarter, on the resounding “Tay Keith,” 2KBABY promises he isn’t playing around. A massive horn sample backdrops his celebratory writing—a deserved victory lap for his recent come-up. Elsewhere, on the smooth “Julia Lewis” and “Something on My Mind” with Kaash Paige, he veers more into R&B than ever before. He’s having fun on the record, flipping through styles and telling tales, and the video to “Postman” is even more proof of his high spirits. 2K stars as a mailman having a secret affair with a woman a little older than him—making for the kind of hilarious visual only 2K could pull off. There are somber moments on First Quarter, too, like the final track “Ball Chain,” but on every 2K record, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He’s gone through a lot, but he’s here and he’s thriving.
First Quarter feels like a perfect send-off to an amazing year for 2KBABY. After releasing his acclaimed 2020 EP Pregame Rituals—featuring his RIAA Gold-certified hit “Old Streets”—he’s put his foot on the gas, broadening his sound and range of collaborators. In January, he put out THE 2K STIMULUS, a stunning two-track pack. And ever since, he’s steadily trickled out singles from First Quarter: the pop-leaning “Like This” with masked EDM star Marshmello, the lighthearted “Zack & Cody” with DDG, and even a rare collab with Chief Keef on the track “Luigi.” To date, 2KBABY has garnered praise from a host of taste-making outlets including Pitchfork, Complex, XXL, The FADER, UPROXX, and more. If 2020 was his breakthrough, 2021 was 2KBABY saying he’s ready for the bright lights. First Quarter is the start of the next chapter—the game has just begun.
“The road to success isn’t far off for 2KBABY.” – XXL
“With a natural knack for melody that separates him from most peers, he makes songs that paint the picture of a young artist who isn’t afraid of the hardships from his past, but also has ambitions to take over the world.” – Complex
“Coming out of Louisville, Kentucky, 2KBABY has consistently proven himself to be an interesting young artist who knows how to captivate his listeners with storytelling and emotional lyrics.” – HotNewHipHop
“Authenticity is the name of the game for this rising star from Louisville, KY.” – HipHopDX
“2KBABY emerged when his single ‘Old Streets’ introduced the internet to his soft singing voice and ability to narrate street tales like the South’s best.” – Pitchfork
2KBABY’s voice is a shimmering crackle imbued with heart and soul—a tool used to tell street parables with messages of hope and perseverance. The Louisville MC’s 2020 debut Pregame Rituals cemented himself as one of hip-hop’s most gifted new stars, but if his upcoming music is any indication, he’s only scratched the surface of what he can do. Laying the foundation for that potential is 2K’s transcendent RIAA Gold-certified (and still climbing) “Old Streets.” It’s filled to the brim with a range of emotions, something 2K says he aspires to every time: “My music can be therapeutic, it can amp you up, it can make you cry.” “Old Streets” is his centerpiece, but it’s not the blueprint—and what comes next rises above genres for global impact. On January’sThe 2K Stimulus song bundle, he continued to push himself, exploring lush R&B and guitar-streaked bangers. And 2K won’t stop mastering new sounds anytime soon. Clearly, 2K has aspirations far beyond any style. “I’m tryna just make pop shit,” he says. “Music that’s gonna sell out stadiums. Global music that can reach everybody.” That’s how 2KBABY moves. Music comes to him in revelations, and it hits us the same.