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Beats Bars & Basketball: Why Lil Baby is the Ja Morant of Rap

It's been a long time...shouldn'ta left you... without a rapper/hooper comparison to sink your teeth into. "Beats Bars and Basketball" is back with as rock solid, easy a comparison as we've had yet because Ja Morant IS the Lil' Baby of hoop. Here's why...

Underdog Beginnings: Zion vs. Ja and Da Baby vs. Lil' Baby

We all know Georgia rapper, Lil Baby isn't the only "Baby" rapper to come out swinging in the mainstream in 2018. Even though his Drake-assisted "Yes Indeed" was a huge hit reaching #6 on the Billboards, the world was falling in love with Da Baby and his signature high-energy bounce. Lil Baby was hot-- but not as hot as Da Baby. A similar narrative was taking shape in college hoops that same year with two South Carolina-bred ballers setting the highlight shows on fire: Ja Morant and Zion Williamson. Much like Lil Baby-- the world was loving what Ja Morant was bringing to the table; turning small-time Murray State into a major factor all year and even an incredible run in 2019's NCAA tournament but there was no topping Zion Mania in the larger cultural sphere.

Both Lil Baby and Ja Morant have peers that will be forever connected tom them...Zion and Ja for their athleticism and sharing a draft class, and Lil' Baby for a more primal, juvenile (pun intended) reason with Da Baby-- their names. All four of them had their initiations into the top tier of their professions with Williamson and Morant going first and second overall in the 2019 NBA draft and with Lil Baby and Da Baby exchanging and even collaborating on hit after hit that same year. According to Ja, he was humming Lil Baby's "Dreams 2 Reality" throughout draft day. These two made an immediate connection that's resulted in a collab "My Turn Playlist Takeover: Ja Morant" where in promotion of Lil Baby's 2020 "My Turn," Ja made a playlist designed for the most glorious moments in his career. Its dope-- check it out. After that, they've been seen together and even communicating on album release nights -- it seems they have a ton of respect for each other. Thats not what the comparison is based off but it should be noted, ya know?

Going from "Up and Comer" to "Established Superstar" Crazy Quick

There are so many chapters yet to be written in the Ja/Zion and Lil Baby/Da Baby 'rivalries" that its way too soon to call overall but even though they were originally casted as little bros to their counterparts its hard to debate that they're not on top now. And even though Zion hasn't been able to stay on the court and Da Baby can't stay out of negative headlines, Ja and Lil Baby earned their supremacy through consistently dope work not a lack of achievement from their competitors. It seemed like we just woke up one day in 2021 and all the sudden these two went from "promising youngsters" to top 5 doing it. But even though it seemed like it was overnight, both rises were truly a case of keeping their noses to the grind. Lil Baby has churned out hit after hit, album after album, tour after tour, feature after feature and they all do numbers AND have real impact on the culture. In the same way Ja Morant is racking up the accolades, piling up the numbers, and propelling the Memphis Grizzlies to an earlier-than-expected legitimate contention in the West. Morant has gone from Rookie of the year in 19-20, to consideration for Most Improved in 20-21, to now throwing his hat in the ring for MVP. At the VERY least he looks set to make an all-NBA first or second team. Just like if one were top make an All-Rap first team you're not going to get past 10 people before you get to Lil Baby. These guys are already at the top of their professions and just got here! Imagine what they'll do in the next 10 years...


Even though Lil Baby has been with Quality Control music, (the current Motown of the South) and even though he has been on an impressive string of guest appearances-- both Lil' Baby and Ja haven't rose to their positions on the backs of others-- they've quarterbacked their own movements and showed leadership doing it. Ja runs the young Grizzlies like a 10 year vet and Lil Baby hasn't been afraid to tackle topics outside of the normal trap scope and be a leader in the community especially in there tumultuous summer of 2020.

I don't even have to keep going cuz y'all understood this one from the jump with no explanation. These dudes give off the same energy-- they're exciting but they're also consistent and humble. They've already reached high heights and there looks to be no limit to where it could go.

Hit us up on socials (@themsqshop) or comment below to let us know if you agree/disagree and tell us your own rapper/hooper comparisons.

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