BabyTron, whose real name is James Johnson III from Ypsilanti, MI, is heating up in the music scene after being named an XXL Freshman. Every time he takes the mic, he destroys beats with the jubilance of a backseat freestyle. On top of uptempo, Detroit-influenced instrumentals, BabyTron delivers insider-level sports references and pop culture punchlines at a blistering pace. Check out other up-and-coming rappers from Michigan on our blog!

These days, BabyTron has his whole thing figured out. He makes music constantly. Every week, he’ll have one video up; usually, it’s three or four. He’ll work with other Michigan rappers, or with artists like Lil Yachty who are explicitly riding the Michigan style. He raps with a lazy speed — always rushing his delivery but always sounding slightly bored, too. Moreover, His lyrics are dense with references and punchlines, and you can rely on him to say something unexpected. He loves beats made from samples of synthy, triumphant ’80s dance-pop — Freeez, Taylor Dayne, Shana — though sometimes he’ll flip an early-’00s Jaheim R&B hit or, like, the theme song from The Office.

Last year saw a major shift in BabyTron’s abilities as a rapper. His flow steadied and slowed, his punchlines became better crafted and he developed a better sense of style and cadence. Additionally, BabyTron has grown fond of spitting over various samples and beats in a single song. On King of the Galaxy, he nonchalantly raps over a flip of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal before an unholy transition into Nardo Wick’s evil Who Want Smoke?? While on the relentless Prince Of The Mitten, BabyTron raps over 19 different beats like a car repeatedly switching lanes.

Recently, the Detroit rapper released a new album, Megatron. The project dropped on March 4 via The Hip Hop Lab/EMPIRE. The 23-track release includes features from DaBoii and GlockBoyz Teejae in addition to production from frequent collaborators Helluva and Danny G. Blah Blah Blah, a collaboration with Trdee, is BabyTron’s newest release.

Among rappers of the 2020s, BabyTron has carved out a unique lane for himself by charismatically controlling beats, combining them with hilarious yet dynamic lyricism. This has made him an irreplaceable commodity. Can’t get enough of ⅓ of the ShittyBoyz? Keep up with the Detroit rapper on Twitter.