Shelby: He has got the look… He has got the sound… He has got the moves… And he has got an important message.
So, you are not the average rapper. What do you rap about?
Baby Jay: I rap about staying positive, staying focused, saying no to drugs, anti-bullying. Mostly all my messages, I try to get some — get a message across.
Don’t call me names. Don’t get your pleasure from my pain. In God’s eyes we’re all the same. Someday, we’ll all have perfect wings. Don’t laugh at me.
Shelby: That is rapper Baby Jay more than three years ago in his anti-bullying music video, Don’t Laugh At Me. The song helped Baby Jay jumpstart his music career, setting the stage for nine music tours across the country, with more to come. On tour, Baby Jay performs at schools, delivering his positive message directly to students.
Why is the message of respect important to you?
Baby Jay: I think kids need to know how important respect is because they hear respect and they’re like, ‘I don’t need to respect nobody. You’re not my mom, you’re not my dad.’ Or friends sometimes don’t respect each other. But they need to know how important it is. If you don’t have respect for yourself, how can you have respect for others?
Shelby: And Baby Jay knows a thing or two about respect. He has been fighting for it since he was just a little kid.
So, what are some of the challenges you faced growing up?
Baby Jay: Well, my childhood was tough because growing up, like I said, my brothers were in prison and I had no one to talk to. My father was a hard working man. He won’t get home until, like, 6 or 7pm. My parents were divorced since I was around six. And it was really hard. That’s the reason why I started rapping, because I looked at it and I told myself I need to do something good about this. I was really hurt, but I needed to show my parents that I wanted to do something good, not be like my brothers.
Shelby: Unlike his brothers, Baby Jay avoided trouble, spending most of his time honing his rap skills, dancing and keeping up with his school work. His hard work finally paid off when, in May 2009, he became the first person in his family to graduate high school. But he didn’t stop there. Baby Jay’s also the first one in his family to go to college.
So, each time you have a victory, whether you are graduating or you are performing, does it sort of act as fuel for the next victory down the road?
Baby Jay: Just, like, whenever I told myself I want to finish high school, I kept telling myself, ‘I can do it, I can do it.’ And it was hard but, you know, I told myself and I accomplished it. Whenever I do shows, I always have a goal, you know, I’m going to make sure the crowd raise their hands or make sure they scream my name… And it happens.
Shelby: Alright. So, we are here at Baby Jay’s old high school, Galena Park High School. And even though he graduated back in 2009, he is still a positive influence on many of the students here.
Baby Jay fan: A lot of music, it tells people what to do. You don’t see it, but it does. And his music, it pushes you in a good way, and a good influence and everything.
Baby Jay fan: It, basically, tells me to stay positive throughout everything, always be yourself, stay positive, never change what you love to do for anything. Just keep following that dream and keep going.
Shelby: Good advice for his fans, and himself. Baby Jay is chasing his dream and making a ton of progress along the way. He has already performed with artists like Raven Simone, Twista, Omarion and Soulja Boy. He received a World Peace Award from legendary folk singer Peter Yarrow, and even became the first rapper honored with a key to the city of Houston. But at the end of the day, Baby Jay’s positive message and the affect it has on his fans is what is most important.
Baby Jay: I can’t leave them hanging. You know, I want to be there for them. Not only as, like, my fan, but as a friend. Because they’re supporting me and I want to support them the same way.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.