black excellence: babeo baggins of barf troop

Babeo Baggins, born and raised in rural Virginia, is an anomaly, a striking blue rose amongst a sea of red roses. Such imagery sounds corny and evokes an air of pretentiousness, “I’m different from normal people”, 2005 Avril Lavigne teas, but Babeo really is different, but not because their oddness outshines other people’s oddness–they’re different because they are truly an authentic person. 

Armed with brimming self-confidence and a translucent cowboy hat, Babeo is primed to set the world on fire, and I am gleefully looking forward to being a witness. They’re already doing amazing work–their 2015 release “Posi+ive” credited Childish Gambino as a producer. Their more recent release, “Love Songs for Tough Guys EP” even had a feature from Drake on a Nico cover, ‘Things I Forgot To Do’.  

However, despite the features from familiar faces, Babeo’s amazing work is defined by their level of artistic talent and vision. They tout the importance of vulnerability and artistic authenticity in one’s work, and their own work is a reflection. Rapping, singing–the actual form of expression Babeo uses seems to be irrelevant–Babeo bounces back and forth between rapping and singing seamlessly, as seen on “Posi+ive.” Unlike the consensus of rap attitudes (of being hard and “bout it” and flexing) Babeo is both radically soft and bad boy tough, and both attitudes come naturally. There is no doubt their gender fluid identity influences their music in a variety of ways, allowing free expression without being bound by boxes of gender and sexuality. It’s reminiscent of the late Prince, whom Babeo happens to be a huge fan of. 

Personally, I followed Babeo on Tumblr for two, maybe three, years. I found myself mesmerized with their ever-changing looks and sense of self-awareness. Listening Barf Troop and Babeo’s releases was a natural reflex, and as I got older, my admiration for Babeo and Barf Troop deepened as I recognized the momentousness of their actions. Rebellious, vulnerable, authentic, gender conforming and non-conforming, young, and defiantly black. Babeo, and all of Barf Troop, are revolutionary and inspiring just by existing as they are.