Detroit’s Babyface Ray is done being the “Nice Guy.” Dropping off his new single on Friday (Oct. 21), the track came with a cinematic music video reflecting his newfound role as a Motor City kingpin, and a warning that he’s running low on favors as he steps into his superstar status.
Fresh off a rare viral moment following an unlikely link-up with LUCKI (who frequently cites Face as his favorite artist) and the viral “Detroit Urban Survival Training” guy, Babyface Ray previewed his latest release earlier this week on ‘In The Field Live’ — a rising Detroit-based platform for new artists, where he put on a stunning display of calm flexing as he picks out rare sneakers from his personal shopper mid-performance.
Face is in peak form on “Nice Guy,” gliding over calm production (prod by Pooh Beatz & Sharif) that perfectly compliments his distinctly chill vocal and unique bars oozing with cool confidence. As always he attacks the beat in interesting and usual ways, finding pockets for his laidback slick talk that few other rappers would dare.
The accompanying visual (directed by Oggizery June) reads more like a short film than a music video, building a dense world depicting Face as a kingpin giving out orders, overcoming losses and ultimately remaining one step ahead of his opposition – telling a story of ambition and betrayal that drives home the point that being a “nice guy” doesn’t stop the back door from getting kicked in.
As a result of being a key figure in the explosion of the unorthodox Detroit sound, in addition to being one of its coolest and most understated characters, Babyface Ray has quietly become one of your favorite rappers’ favorite rappers.
While not everyone has acquired the taste for his unusually laidback style and unorthodox flow patterns, there is no shortage of evidence in the form of high-profile features on major albums from both Future and LUCKI’s this year, a national tour with Jack Harlow, or fan-favorite collaborations with everyone from Moneybagg Yo to Lil Yachty to Pusha T.
This year, the mainstream has finally begun to take note of Michigan’s blossoming regional subgenre, with artists from around the country clamoring to say the wildest things they can think of on Detroit and Flint-style beats – and producers doing their best to imitate the iconic sounds of its pioneers like ENRGY, Helluva and Pooh Beatz.
Thankfully, Face has been receiving his flowers, in the wake of his Billboard charting debut album FACE and again recently when he was prominently featured in Billboard’s “The Promise & Perseverance of Detroit Rap’s Rising Stars” alongside fellow Motor City vet, Icewear Vezzo and rising newcomer Baby Money.
As he faithfully puts on for his city and takes on increasingly ambitious projects like the “Nice Guy” short film, Babyface Ray is stepping into his star power on his way to a well-earned spot on the national stage.
Watch Babyface Ray’s “Nice Guy” below