Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

BabyTron, 'Emperor of the Universe'

If you don't know BabyTron, trust that you will very soon. A scam rapper turned one of hip-hop's rising superstars, the Crocs-wearing 21 year old with a distinct Detroit drawl has become a unique presence in the industry. His flow is hard to imitate, jumping on and off the rhythm with an intentional deftness, both in his solo work and his collaborations with his similarly ridiculously named trio S*****Boyz. He's created his own unique, carefree language in his songs, filled with Detroit slang, basketball references and callbacks to freestyle sounds of the '80s.

He also has an affinity for beat-shifting whirlwinds that showcase his flow's versatility. "Emperor of the Universe" is a behemoth that finds BabyTron tackling 21 beats over nearly six minutes. He's done this sort of thing before, namely on "King of the Galaxy" and "Prince of the Mitten," but much like an emperor to a prince, this version manages to supersede them all. He raps over decades of the best beats, taking left turns from last year's "SORRY BOUT THAT" by Yeat to Waka Flocka Flame's "Hard in Da Paint" to the classic "Still D.R.E." piano riff. Part of BabyTron's appeal is his personality and memeability — on tracks like this, it's clear that, in an era of self-seriousness in hip-hop, we just simply need someone to be goofy and rap about scams over OutKast's "Ms. Jackson."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Reanna Cruz
Reanna Cruz is a news assistant for NPR Music's Alt.Latino.