Yung Baby Tate Really Is "That Girl"

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Virtually everyone is a part of the Beyhive. Rihanna commands her Navy. Nicki’s army of fans are called The Barbz. And so on. In a couple years, it’s very possible Yung Baby Tate, an up-and-coming Atlanta rapper will have her own cult of fans with their own unique name. I know that I already count myself as one of them.

On Thursday night, Christine Chen, one of UCI’s Her Campus Campus Correspondents, and I ditched class to check out Tate’s talent in person at the intimate venue The Observatory in Santa Ana. And we prided ourselves on our life choices afterwards because Tate did not disappoint.

Following the mellow and moody tunes of the opener JAMESDAVIS (not to be confused with the comedian, James Davis), Tate came out on stage with a characteristic playful greeting, “Santa Ana, is that you?” I soon realized playfulness and tongue-in-cheek humor are some of Tate’s biggest strengths, effectively pumping the crowd up. Starting her set with her recent GIRLS album that more of the audience was familiar with, Tate told the audience that she loved to be wild but only on stage. Fully in charge of her image and stage presence, Tate even invited the most excitable audience members onstage with her to party for a fabulous three minutes between the songs GIRLS and BOYS.

Despite a minimal stage set with only a simple neon “Walk-In’s Welcome” sign, Tate maximized the space in a glittery sequined jumpsuit and amazing Barbie-type platform boots. Constantly moving and pantomiming dance moves that perfectly matched her lyrics, she quickly told the audience what she was about. For “That Girl”, Tate held her hand straight in front of her, miming a mirror and communicating a lovable vanity. When “That Girl”, a fan favorite out of a cohesive album that explored her different personas (“Cozy Girl”, “Wild Girl” and “Pretty Girl” etc), the catchy lyrics “baby, I’m a job, you a hobby” came out, people besides me went hard, singing along and jumping up and down. Beside rapping, Tate sang a couple of her verses at one point, conjuring up strong Whitney Houston vibes. But in pure Tate style, she ended the flex with a playful and defiant, “Didn’t I tell you that I was That Girl?”

Image by Christine Chen

When Tate switched to BOYS, her 2018 album, I really began to notice that Tate was a triple threat. I was more than pleasantly surprised by how Tate supplemented her hilarious lyrics and versatile singing with incredible dancing—a vital difference between listening to an album and experiencing a live performer. Naturalistic and forceful at the same time, Tate switched in and out of different dance styles easily. Utilizing a lot of show-stopping twerking, Tate also showcased a a number of other styles, from jogging, to highlight the lyrics “make him want it like a hamster”, to tutting. A particular favorite: when Tate pretended to run away from the annoying unwanted guys sung about in her song “Bugaboo” by faux-shrieking “get away from meeeee.” 

Besides her singing, dancing and writing ability, Tate kept me and the crowd fully in the moment with fun little Tate-isms sprinkled between songs. Writing down notes for this article, I recorded some simply due to how genuinely and playfully she talked to the audience. She put everyone in a great mood while also keeping it real. She thanked the headliner Leikeli47 as one of her best friends and told us little stories of her Atlanta hustle, her exes and her first tour experience. The concert was more than just hearing the songs but experiencing Tate’s natural ability to connect to an audience, making you feel special for hearing unique narratives instead of the recycled themes you now hear in so many raps.

Before ending her set, Tate invited the audience into her personal world, telling us to follow her on Instagram or else she had to call her ex according to “a bet with a friend.” Clever self-promotion indeed. Tate also remained fully connected to the audience through her songs, convincing you that you are That Girl, exactly as a true performer should and exactly in the same spirit as why we watch Rihanna, Beyonce and Nicki.

Many rappers claim to hustle the hardest but with Tate’s self-produced albums full of entertaining narratives (about more than just hustling too), it’s possible that she really is out here, working the hardest. With a fierce work ethic and the talent to match, Young Baby Tate is That Girl you should be keeping your eyes on.