Hip-hop artist and producer Baha $lim is a West Coast import who has made Denver his second home. Raised in the Inglewood, Manchester and Crenshaw neighborhoods of Los Angeles, Baha $lim brings a laid-back West Coast swagger to the Denver rap scene.
"I've been in Denver now about two and a half, three years," he says. "I have some family that lives out here, and I was actually back and forth between here and Inglewood for probably like six years, but I'd only stay for like a year and then go back. But different business ventures brought me out here, and I ended up staying this time around."
His latest venture is his debut album, Baby Godz, which dropped on April 9.
It was actually a business associate of his in Colorado, radio host and sound engineer Big Rob, who helped Baha $lim realize his dream of making music.
"I took my money that I had saved up and bought my first pieces of equipment from him, and he came over to where I was staying at the time and set everything up, and I just kind of hit the ground running," explains Baha $lim. "He gave me a lot of insight on how to do stuff, but I'm self-taught for the most part."
Buying his first sound-recording equipment after moving to Colorado was a full-circle moment for Baha $lim.
"I've been interested in music for a long time, but I just never had the opportunity," he says. "In my younger days, I went through so many schools, just from getting in a lot of trouble, and I could never sit still. I remember when I was like fourteen, my dad took me to Guitar Center, and I was looking at the drum machines like, 'Damn, I want to do that.' And my dad was like, 'Well, stop fucking up in school and I'll get you one.' And that never happened...well, it didn't happen until I was a little bit older."
However, Baha $lim was lucky enough to have the creative lifestyle of a musician modeled for him at a young age, when he spent time in the studio with the platinum-award-winning R&B group Portrait.
"Portrait was an R&B group in the late ’90s, early 2000s, and my aunt was dating one of the members, and we were cool, so she would pick me up, and we could go over there and just hang out," he recalls. "I was a small kid, probably like five or six. Just being in that environment where it's about vibe and creativity, that was always a thing that was super cool, just going in that mode and letting it flow."
Baha $lim describes his music as "a West Coast sound mixed with East Coast vibes. I try to be visual with the lyrics and the production, as well, and tie it into a piece that's like art."
He's inspired by hip-hop's OGs, as well as funk, soul and jazz legends. "I started off producing, so I'm inspired by all the great producers: Quincy Jones, James Brown, and then the beginners of hip-hop like DJ Premier, RZA, Dr. Dre, even the new dudes like Turbo and DJ Dahi. I just love good music, and I took a lot of time studying."
Baha $lim also drew from an unlikely source for this album: ancient philosophers and their existential questioning.
"What inspired the album was just me studying a lot and reading a lot, and learning how everything we see, from the pavement on the street to the shoes on our feet, it all came from a thought," he says. "I was studying the ancient chemists, and a lot of their philosophies had the 'as above, so below' axiom, and when you apply that to thought and creativity, we do just that on a micro scale with the co-creator, who does it on a scale that we can't fathom. It's all through thought; otherwise, there would be nothing. What you think is what you become."
The album title comes from the ancient philosophers' idea that we were made in the creator's image, but in miniature.
"We're baby gods," he says. "We're just on a smaller scale."
From the slow-burning "Waterski" to the autobiographical "This & That," $lim's nine-track debut floats by like a cool ocean breeze, delivering mellow, contemplative rhymes with his self-assured, even flow. Driven by pure passion for his art, he wrote and produced Baby Godz in record time.
"I wrote and recorded the whole project in four months," he says. "It was a lot of early mornings and late nights."
That nonstop hustler mentality is one that fuels all aspects of Baha $lim's life. In addition to prepping an album campaign for Baby Godz, he's launching a jewelry line, Amenti & Co, and is planning to release another album within a year.
"I'm going all the way to the top with this," he says. "I'm really inspired by brothers like Master P, Nipsey Hussle, Rick Ross, Tony Draper, Russell Simmons — all the guys who really started their own businesses and empires.
"In the days of the internet, there's no excuses," he adds. "Everything is at your fingertips."
Baha $lim's debut album Baby Godz is available for streaming and download now on all music platforms.
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