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Fridayy Says His Features on DJ Khaled’s ‘God Did’ and Lil Baby’s ‘Forever’ Were ‘The Perfect Introduction’

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Rising Philadelphia phenom Fridayy is in a rare class of hitmakers: the kind with two top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 — alongside some of the biggest names in hip-hop and R&B of the 21st century — both of which were released before he even dropped an EP of his own.

The 25-year-old artist born Francis LeBlanc — a singer, writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist — grew up influenced by both R&B and gospel, with his mighty voice, modern touch, studio proficiency and versatility earning him production credits with Chris Brown and Rae Sremmurd in June. DJ Khaled called his name for an even bigger opportunity soon after, featuring him as a vocalist on his epic God Did title track, a star-studded affair that also included appearances from John Legend, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. The track, which Fridayy also co-produced, earned a No. 17 debut on the Sept. 10-dated Hot 100, marking his first entry on the all-genre songs chart.

But perhaps the biggest look Fridayy has received amid his breakout year came in October with “Forever,” from Lil Baby’s Billboard 200-topping It’s Only Me. The song, which boasts impassioned bars from Lil Baby, is based on a collaboration of Fridayy’s with singer-rapper Vory that the latter posted to Instagram. Upon hearing it, Lil Baby demanded to know who the piercing voice on the clip’s hook belonged to — and after Fridayy elevated its production (with help from Bizness Boi and Fortune), it became an early fan favorite on It’s Only Me, debuting at No. 8 on the Hot 100.

Still riding the momentum from his two spotlight-stealing guest appearances, Fridayy talks with Billboard about the different receptions to those two top 20 hits — as well as his recent debut EP Lost in Melody, released Oct. 21, and what other collaborations are currently in the works.

How did you first get hooked up with Lil Baby? 

It was actually through an artist named Vory. The song was originally me and Vory — I was on the hook and Vory was on the verses — and Vory posted it on Instagram. And then Lil Baby hit up Vory, like, “Who’s singing on the hook?” And then Vory was like, “That’s Fridayy.” And Lil Baby was like, “Man, I need that hook.” That’s how it came about: Vory showed love and helped me out on that part. 

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Had you ever gotten in contact with Lil Baby before? Did you have any kind of relationship with him?

Nah, I talked to him after, though. He FaceTimed me and all that, we talked. And then we was just choppin’ it up about the record.

At first, when I produced it, it was just piano. And then when I got on the phone with him, he was like, “Bro, I need like a beat.” He said it was so crazy, he forgot it ain’t had no beat! So I was like, “Bro, I’mma add the beat for you. And I’mma send it back to you tonight.” So I called my brothers Bizness Boi and Fortune — two producers that produced on it with me — and we got that right. 

Did he give you any kind of instruction on what he wanted it to sound like, or did you just take it from what was already there on the song? 

Yeah, at first I sent him like a couple ideas. But it was similar to, like, trap drums. But when I sent him it, he was like, “Bro, I want it more simple. You know what I mean? I don’t want too much going on.” So he kinda explained it to me how he wanted it, when it was like, a kick and a snare — just some simple vibes, not too much hi-hats. Once he told me that, we got it in the first try. 

Had you been a fan of Lil Baby’s before this?

Of course. Like, that My Turn album? Even before that! I had been listening to Baby for a minute, since 2017, around “My Dawg,” around like “Freestyle” days. He one of them rappers today that like everybody look up to — my little cousin, my brothers look up to [him], you know what I mean? So that’s crazy to me. 

How does being on a song with Lil Baby compare to being on a song with legends like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne and Rick Ross?

That’s a great question right there, bro. It’s like — the Jay-Z record, it was cool, it was great. Them the legends. But that one was more of, like, icon music-wise. And then Lil Baby one was like… for now. ‘Cause my little cousins are not listening to “God Did” every day. But the Lil Baby one? It opened me up to the youth.

Do you feel like those two songs prepared audiences for what to expect with you with your solo stuff? Or do you feel like that’s more just one side to you and there’s a lot more of you still to come on the EP and whatever else follows?

No, I feel like it was a good balance. Because “God Did” is really like a part of who I am. Even if you listen to the song, you hear the choirs, you hear the three-part harmony, you hear the piano. And if you listen to my EP, that’s how I’m coming on: with piano, choirs [and] soulful notes. So “God Did” was definitely like the perfect introduction to me. And “Forever” was like the perfect introduction to me, too. Just to show that side, with like the females and all that. Which, I got like two records [like that] on my EP.

How has the reaction been to the EP so far? Are you happy with the sort of response you’ve gotten to it? 

Man, bro. I ain’t even have no expectations for my EP… So when I woke up the next day [after releasing it], I’m like, “Lemme just check the charts.” I’m thinking maybe I’d be like No. 199 R&B — like, late, late in the joint. I woke up, we was like No. 30 R&B on iTunes! I’m like… the f–k? And the sh-t kept going up! Right now, we at No. 11 R&B on iTunes! It went up to 7! Right now it’s sitting at 11.

But just to see my album next to SZA, next to The Weeknd, next to Summer Walker… it’s like, “damn!” I just look it at every day, like, “What the f–k?” 

What is up next for you? Do you have any singles, any features, maybe an album coming?

Yeah, you already know. We working on the next project. We don’t know if it’s an album or an EP, but I’m already working on that. And I’m producing for a lot of [people in] the industry. I got two songs on Lil Tjay’s project coming out. I just produced a track on G Herbo’s album that just came out. You know, I’m still producing and writing for a lot of people. And then, it’s like, a lot of features coming, too. Just expect a lot of Fridayy features, for sure.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Nov. 5, 2022, issue of Billboard.

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