Bbno$—short for “baby no money”—is a master of swerve. In the Canadian rapper/producer/songwriter’s beats, minimalist synths and woozy wordplay undulate around thundering 808 kicks and flickering trap hi-hats. Stylistically, he weaves from idea to idea, fleshing out a Southern rap backbone with Latin salsa, dancehall, disco, house, jazz flute, banjo, and more. Born Alexander Gumuchian in 1995, the Vancouver, B.C., native got his start in 2016, bringing self-effacing humor to beats and flows steeped in the work of rappers like Migos. Following a deluge of singles, both solo and alongside collaborators like Y2K, Lentra, and Yung Gravy, bbno$ dropped his debut album, Bb Steps, in 2018, but it was 2019’s “Lalala,” produced by Y2K, that made him famous for his singsong cadence and low-key sense of humor. It takes a special kind of artist to kick off their song by asking, “Did I really just forget that melody?” But he’s clever like that—and unusually self-aware. In “Astrology,” he breaks down the act of songwriting (“Usually I lay a bridge right here, but today I wasn’t feeling it”), detonating the fourth wall to let everyone in on the joke. You could say that bbno$ is a child of the Beastie Boys, updated for the digital-native era. But going viral is never the be-all and end-all, he told Apple Music: “I’m always trying to think what could be marketable when I make a song, or post-making the song. But I don’t really go into the song thinking, like, I gotta make a [viral] hit.” With beats and rhymes as irresistible and unforgettable as his, catchy just comes naturally.
HOMETOWNVancouver, British Columbia, Cana
BORNJune 30, 1995