Jonathan Lyndale Kirk is a rapper known professionally as DaBaby. Kirk, who notes that he was interested in a musical career from a young age, was born in Cleveland in 1991. Eight years later, he, his family, and two brothers moved to Charlotte, NC.
After graduating from high school in 2010, Kirk attended the Greensboro campus of the University of North Carolina for a couple of years, remarking that he only attended college went to please his parents, not because it would lead to a musical career.
Jonathan Kirk notes that his early musical influences include Eminem, Lil Wayne, and 50 Cent – artists he and his brothers admired. From a business perspective, Kirk, who is an inventive, irreverent, if not charismatic, and creative entrepreneurial type, also studied the marketing techniques of successful rappers as a young boy.
DaBaby, who began his career as Baby Jesus, is best known for Baby on Baby – the rapper’s 2019 debut disc, which peaked at an impressive #7 spot on Billboard’s 200 Chart. Although, he has hit it big with the hit single Light Show, which has garnered millions of online platform hits.
Kirk has three children, first becoming a father in 2017 and having a child with the American Singer known as DaniLeigh. At only 31 years of age, Kirk has achieved great success amassing approximately $5 - 6 million in net worth.
DaBaby’s Early Career (2014 – 2018)
Jonathan Kirk began to seek a serious music career somewhere around 2015. His first released mixtape was entitled Nonfiction. He followed his first musical endeavor with God’s Work – plus several other mixtapes, like Billion Dollar Baby, etc.
Jonathan Kirk’s musical career received its first break when he was signed by Arnold Taylor, a significant regional radio promoter and the president of the music label South Coast Music Group. For Kirk, the timing was ideal because Taylor was checking out the clubs in North Carolina, looking for talent for the record label he was preparing to launch. In fact, over the years, Arnold Taylor has personally contributed to the early careers of Future & Yo Gotti – when these southern rappers were on the rise.
Together, Kirk and Taylor refined and honed Kirk’s sound and professional image while creating a buzz throughout the south’s rapper scene. Kirk’s Blank Blank mixtape in 2018 became part of a short-lived distribution partnership with Roc Nation – run by Jay-Z. Kirk, at one point, had joint contracts with each of these record labels.
Taylor’s professional guidance proved fruitful because eventually, after a bit of a bidding war by some major record labels, Kirk signed an Interscope recording deal worth a reported seven-figure-plus deal. It was at this time he also launched his own company – Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment.
The Breakout Year of DaBaby – 2019.
The debut studio album by Kirk - Baby on Baby, was released by Interscope Records in early 2019. This hit album included thirteen tracks and various guest performances and appearances from Stunna 4 Vegas, Offset, and Rich Homie Quan, among others. At its very best, Baby On Baby delivered a refreshing brand of energy coupled with a fun and unique sound that seemed to stand out among current rap artists.
Baby on Baby had an impressive debut, hitting the Billboard 200 at the #25 spot on the U.S. charts. DaBaby’s debut song Suge debuted at #87 – in April 2019 on the Hot 100 singles chart compiled by Billboard. About six weeks later, Suge made it to the top ten singles chart. The song was certified gold by RIAA in May 2019, which indicates digital sales in the United States that exceed 500,000 units.
A music video for the tracks Baby Sitter & Pony was released after the album’s debut date. In response, Jonathan Kirk was included in XXL’s freshman class of rappers for 2019 – all of whom were featured on the cover.
His Second Album
Kirk’s second album was announced in August 2019 and released a month later. The album, Kirk, is an ode or tribute to those who share his last name. This album featured a picture of Kirk’s father on its cover. Kirkdebuted at the top of the Billboard 200 US chart. Its first released single – Intro peaked on the Billboard singles Hot 100 chart at #13.
Throughout 2019, DaBaby contributed his talents to musical work that was created by Quality Control or Megan Thee Stallion. His performance on Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III received critical acclaim, with Complex magazine referring to Kirk’s verse in the song as a breakout or defining moment for a new superstar rapper.
When 2019 ended, Jonathan Kirk had the most entries of any artist on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the year – an impressive 22 musical entries.
DaBaby’s Continued Musical Success & Contributions (2020 – Present)
In 2020, at the 62nd Grammy Awards, DaBaby’s hit single - Suge earned two nominations in these categories –
- Best Rap Song
- Best Rap Performance
Kirk’s third album – Blame it on Baby, was released in April 2020. In addition to positive reviews, this album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s 200 album chart and became DaBaby’s second #1 album. Blame it on Baby generated DaBaby’s highest charted song – Rockstar – which spent seven weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at #1! Rockstar was also well received in Europe, hitting #1 in the United Kingdom.
This same year, Kirk’s musical abilities were featured in Jack Harlow’s What’s Poppin remix. He also partnered with Lil Baby on For the Night - a top-ten single.
His Brother Died
Kirk's brother, Glen (Aged 34), died in November 2020 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. That year, DaBaby released his extended play version of My Brother's Keeper (Long Live G), an honor that speaks to the inspiration he received from his late brother. This tribute song includes appearances from Polo G and Meek Mill, to name a few.
In late 2020, Kirk contributed musically to Dua Lipa’s remix of the song Levitating, which reached #2 in 2021 on the Hot 100 chart. Kirk released Masterpiece – which included a Gemini Vision music video in addition to the music track.
In 2022, Jonathan Kirk released the collaborative mixtape entitled Better than You with fellow artist YoungBoy Never Broke Again.
Additionally, Kirk released his fourth album – Baby on Baby 2, in 2022. This follow-up album from DaBaby – produced/distributed by both South Coast and Interscope, debuted on the American Billboard 200 chart at #34.
The Entrepreneurial Side of Jonathan Kirk
Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment refers to an American record label headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment was founded by DaBaby in 2017. He established this entertainment-based company because Kirk’s ultimate ambition is to help create the next class of rappers and superstars. Kirk’s entertainment company represents several well-known artists. These include –
- DJ K.i.D.
- Stunna 4 Vegas
- Rich Dunk
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Written by Allen Lee
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