Lil Baby’s Debut Mixtape “Perfect Timing” Turns 6: The Genesis Of A Generational Star

Some of the most amazing Hip Hop breakthroughs are the ones that nobody saw coming from a mile away. Take Lil Baby, who is now one of the most recognizable faces in modern rap. However, before his meteoric rise to fame, becoming a rapper wasn’t even on his radar. Nonetheless, when he caught the musical bug, he caught it big. In his first year on the scene, a hungry Lil Baby released four mixtapes, kicking off his career with Perfect Timing. The rest, they say, is history. 

A befitting title for the project, the mixtape set things in motion for the rapper quite seamlessly. Perfect Timing marked its sixth anniversary in April 2023, and over the years, it has grown on some fans. While it may not be Lil Baby’s best project as a solo act, it evidently marked the genesis of his career. For that alone, it is an important project in his discography. Why? Because without Perfect Timing, there would be no Lil Baby. While there’s some new music on the way, it’s necessary to travel back to the early days.

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Perfect Timing: A Grandiose Entrance

lil baby perfect timing
ATLANTA, GA – MAY 17: Pierre Thomas and Lil Baby attend Lil Baby “Harder Than Ever” Mixtape Release Event at Living Room Lounge on May 17, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.(photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage)

Before recording his debut mixtape, Lil Baby invested some time in learning how to rap. His label boss, Coach K, had told him he had the makings of a hip-hop star, but he had no prior experience rapping. As such, he had to get into the flow and build himself up in the art of rapping. He famously sought out the help of fellow rappers Gunna and Young Thug to teach him. The two rappers mentored Lil Baby and helped him carve out his unique style. 

Evidently, Baby was a natural, and grew at an incredible pace, learning and catching up in no time. Fresh out of prison in 2017 after spending two years for drug and weapons charges, Baby was ready to transition from the streets to the booth. He released Perfect Timing on April 14, 2017. On the reason for the title, he shared that he got out of prison at “the perfect time.” 

Read More: Lil Baby Refuses To Compare His Success Timeline To Jay Z

Overcoming Challenges & Capturing The ATL Lifestyle

On Perfect Timing, Lil Baby recruited several renowned Hip Hop producers to handle the album’s sonic direction. 808 Mafia, Earl The Pearll, and OG Parker, among others, shaped the production and emphasized the gritty sound that became synonymous with Lil Baby’s early catalog. Moreover, Earl The Pearll had the most production credits on the mixtape, appearing on three tracks: “Rider,” “Grindin,” and “Racks In.”

Furthermore, on Perfect Timing, Lil Baby featured an impressive lineup of rappers. Gunna, Young Thug, Skull-E, Lil Yachty, Yogi, Duke, and Young Scooter all had guest appearances on the mixtape. Some standout tracks on Perfect Timing are “100 Round,” ft. Lil Yachty, “Rider,” ft. Young Thug, and “Our Year,” ft. Gunna.

Although his message sometimes doesn’t cut through as clearly as his later works, Lil Baby showcased honesty and vulnerability on this project. He rapped earnestly about his challenges, fears, and lifestyle, relating to his audience and gaining their trust. Overall, Perfect Timing has heart and set the stage for Lil Baby’s rise to stardom.

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Reception & The Future Of Lil Baby

Even though it was raw, Perfect Timing was apathetically received. The production earned praise but still, he was gaining his footing in the rap game. Comparatively, the rapper’s flow, lyrics, and delivery were still considered shaky and self-doubting. Nonetheless, the mixtape helped to push him into the public’s consciousness and garner some buzz along the way. Thankfully, he capitalized on this and continued to improve through a prolific mixtape run which morphed him into the mainstream star he is today. 

Presently, Lil Baby is widely considered one of the most influential voices in contemporary Hip Hop. The release of Perfect Timing was a turning point for the rapper and set his life and career on a very bright path. Six years after its release, one can agree that the rapper is miles ahead in terms of artistry today. However, while Perfect Timing has its flaws, for Lil Baby, it certainly dropped at the right time.


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Updated: October 11, 2023 — 3:01 am