Two weeks ago, the Down to the Beat lads sat down with up and coming Ottawa artist Baëbe Ruth and touched on topics such as artistic versatility, the perception of women in hip hop and her upcoming album.
Ruth has a unique and flexible sound. She combines elements from various sub-genres across hip hop, like soul, jazz, and rhythm and blues with influences from modern rap music. It’s a style that resists definition, with varied flows and melodies. She kinda sounds like Drake, if Drake was a 20-year old Jamaican woman from Gatineau.
Having few artistic constraints is not only important in her music but in her navigation of the industry as well. “You don’t always want to be switching over into two different lanes all the time, cause you don’t want to confuse people, but at the same time I feel like that's what keeps people’s attention,” she told us.
She went on: “In order to be successful, […] you gotta inspire people, how are you going to do that if you’re doing the same shit everyday?” Her desire to be diverse and inspiring shows up clearly in her lyrics. She strives to create music that has substance, focusing on delivering quality without sacrificing humility. With Baëbe Ruth, what you see is what you get.
This attitude has become a driving philosophy for the young artist as she makes her way along a male dominated path. “You don’t gotta be sexy to be dope. You can talk about your life and that makes you dope in itself and I feel that's also why I want to pursue rap, to change up the game,” she said.
Ruth has already made moves in that direction. She’s been featured on Spotify’s “Northern Bars” playlist, and “Pocket Flows: Volume 1” by OffTop and Team Kato. On the latter project, her freestyle “Dairy Queen Blizzard” was one of 15 finalists chosen from 2,500 submissions.
Her skill is impressive, but it’s her drive that turns heads. A nursing student in a pandemic and a two-time cancer survivor, Ruth has learned at a young age not to take anything for granted. This lesson makes itself known in her craft, in her philosophies, and in her work ethic, which in itself is inspiring.
Her forthcoming untitled album will be eight tracks long and she told us she’s around halfway there. The album is centred around “interpersonal connections” represented as challenges prevalent in the digital age.
It’s a pertinent theme, and it’s this ability to seize upon a combination of the emotional and artistic influences of her time that sets Ruth apart. If the first two years of her career are anything to go on, we’re just getting a glimpse at what’s sure to be a sprawling career, and a very impressive discography.
Colman Brown & John Balser
Source: Down to the Beat podcast