"I ain't never heard of it," Baby said in New York earlier this month about the animated counterpart to his latest nickname, "Birdman." "I may have to watch it."
Baby's moniker has nothing to do with the ability to soar out of volcanoes or even have wings, though he insists he's the flyest.
"To me, the Birdman is a street thing," he opined. "I feel I'm fly. There's no limit to what I do in life. The way I flip in the game, it's like hood rich, neighborhood superstar, because you always got a balla. I just call a balla a Birdman. He ain't necessarily gotta be shuffling, but he's the Birdman."
Baby plans to release the first volume in a series of Birdman albums, The Birdman, on October 15. ("I'mma do 10 volumes and I'm [done being an artist]," Baby explained before changing his mind. "I might just do five and say f--- it.") A second one will possibly follow on Christmas Eve. The Birdman and the D-Boys, which features members of his clique, and a duet LP with Lil' Wayne, Like Father, Like Son, are due to come next year.
"I never really got a chance to fully explore myself and the stuff I been through," Baby said about being in the group Big Tymers. "As far as the Birdman thing, I had a chance to reach out to people I wanted on my album. [My partner] Mannie Fresh said it was cool for me to reach out to a few different producers that he felt would be up to par to do the album."
The Neptunes, Timbaland, Jermaine Dupri, Swizz Beatz, Jazze Pha and Fresh supplied beats, while the Clipse, Cam'ron, 8Ball, Too Short and P. Diddy make guest spots on the mic.
"It's a club song called 'Get the Flow,' " Baby said about his collaboration with Puff. "It's real hot. We still shuffling the first single 'cause I got a lot of hot songs. I'mma let [my brother] Slim and Fresh pick it.
"Volume one is so strong, I wanted volume two to be as strong or stronger," he continued about his still-in-production second solo album. "On volume two, me and Fabolous doing a song together. DJ Clue is doing me a beat and a couple of different producers who didn't make volume one are making volume two."
Baby, who has guested on remixes for Cam'ron and Foxy Brown the past few months (see "Big Tymers' Baby Keeps Busy With Foxy Brown, Cam'ron Remixes"), is continuing to make his rounds through the industry. He's featured along with Scarface on Trick Daddy's "Gangsta" off the Thug Holiday album, and Baby recently joined Mr. Cheeks on an upcoming Brian McKnight song produced by Mario Winans. "Brian is a smooth dog," Baby said. "He was chilling in his world, just doing him. More on the pimp, playa partnership."
The New Orleans stunner cites God as the main catalyst for his improving mic skills. "I always been the coach. I taught Juvenile, Wayne, BG and them. They always had the talent, I taught them how to format [rhymes]. I learned how to do that, change my [rhyme] pattern. I start out one way, go into a whole other situation. I learned how to stay more on point with subjects. I'm into stuntin,' I'm a gangsta and a hustla, I know how to put that in my game, plus the fashion. It's just my turn, homie. I do practice a lot because I'm always writing, but at the end of the day it all comes from God."
Baby is gearing up to bring all of the Cash Money Millionaires on the road for the upcoming Nellyville tour (see "Nelly Planning Back-To-School Spectacular For U.S. Tour" ).
"I knew of him before he became famous because I used to come through [St. Louis] and they used to tell me about him," Baby recalled of Nelly, who he has toured with before. "Every time I used to come through the Lou, he used to open up for us. Old boy blew up like he was supposed to, but he's cool. It's all love for real."
Cash Money's co-CEO isn't sure how his stage set is going to shape up, but says, "It's gonna be a birdcage somewhere around there, believe that."
Maybe Rodney Jerkins will be joining CMR this fall on tour as well — Jerkins' Dark Child Records signed a partnership deal with Cash Money in July.
"I met Rodney a couple of months ago," Baby said. "I really ain't know the cat was so strong. My brother turned me onto him. He always wanted to do something with us. He said he always thought it would be a hot situation for him. Rodney put out hits, I could see no way I could lose. I'm a hustla, he's got to be a hustla to be so successful. I think we gonna have a big situation as long as Rodney do his thing."