One of the best ways to tell an artist is a bonafide superstar is by their brand looks. Although hip-hop comes from the streets, you know a rapper’s made it when they’re doing Super Bowl ads for huge national brands like Rockstar, Inc. (makers of the energy drink, not the video game developers). Cardi B and Lil Nas X have already appeared in ads themselves, and they’re two of the genre’s most recognizable acts. With those criteria in mind, it certainly looks like Lil Baby, who was called the best rapper of 2021 by multiple outlets, is now a superstar.
“I wasn’t born in the spotlight,” he says in the 30-second spot. “I had to grind to shine… something about the struggle now resides in my muscles.” While Baby himself only appears in the commercial for a few seconds, he narrates the ad straight through as the camera takes in a skater practicing his tricks, a fashion designer finishing off a dress, and a producer clicking through tracks on his desktop. “Real stars don’t chase the spotlight,” Lil Baby declares toward the end. “It chases them.”
The spotlight certainly chased Lil Baby over the past year — even when he didn’t want it to. The Atlanta rapper had the best selling album of 2020, beating out Taylor Swift for the honor, but also received attention for the recognition he didn’t acquire at several major awards shows, including the AMAs and the Grammys. He also became a reluctant figurehead of the summer uprisings thanks to his song “The Bigger Picture,” prompting him to take a step back from political or social commentary.
Watch Lil Baby’s first Super Bowl ad above.