At 21 years old Baby Boy Da Prince is no longer a baby, and when it comes to that “boy” part of his name, well, he’s already proven he’s more than ready to be the man. In actuality he’s been a man for quite a while, surviving Hurricane Katrina, and living in a FEMA trailer on the frontlines of the rebuilding process in New Orleans. This week we sat down with Baby Boy to talk about the Katrina situation, how the rebuilding process is really going, and what people can expect from him musically when his album is released in 2007.

Adam Bernard: Baby Boy Da Prince, you don’t see a lot of four word names in Hip-Hop, how did you get that moniker?
Baby Boy: Well you know my manager came up with the name like “man what you think about Baby Boy?” And I was like whomp bam ding ding let’s get it.

AB: You’re from New Orleans, so tell me a bit about your hometown and how the rebuilding process is going?
BB: My hometown right now, the rebuilding process is coming up gradually everyday. They’re completing like five houses a day down there, so that’s good but you know a lot of people left and they can’t get back home because the government don’t want to supply no way for them to get back home. It’s crazy but we’ve got like 70% back and that’s good as hell, man. I’m really glad that we’re getting people back in the subdivisions and back in the houses that they were raised in all their lives because all they really know about is New Orleans so I’m glad they’re coming back home. The businesses and everything are opening back up very very quick.

AB: Is there anything else you’d like people who aren’t from New Orleans to know about this situation?
BB: The only thing I want to tell people is that they blew up the damned levees. And if you want to know you just go down to New Orleans and you ask a couple of people what happened with Katrina, what really happened, how was it in the Superdome, how was it swimming out those waters. Because I did all of the above. I swam through those waters. I lived without water and food. For the two months that we were down there for, it was crazy.

AB: You lived in a FEMA trailer so you can tell people firsthand what that was like.
BB: It’s hell. When you’re used to a big ole house and you got family and things, you know they got some families down there right now, you know they put the FEMA trailers in front of your house while the people build your house back up from ground, but at the same time it’s like damn man they got some families down there that had at least ten people in their family and they have like ten, thirteen people in a one bedroom trailer.

AB: It also can’t be great to have that view of the house that was destroyed.
BB: Yeah it is but you know some things you have to look at like the hell with the house I’m still living.

AB: And that leads perfectly into the single, “The Way I Live.” I notice your flow is slower on this song, has this always been your flow or did you switch it up for a particular reason?
BB: I switched it up for that song. I slowed that song down because I want people to hear the lyrics and what I’m talking about.

AB: So what can people expect from the album? What are you offering listeners that’s different from what’s out right now?
BB: People can expect the unexpected, just like at my shows when I perform they should expect the unexpected. Don’t think that I’m just gonna come out there and just grab on myself and boost the audience up with a big mean looking face, nah, I’m a performer.

AB: On your MySpace page you have a New Orleans Saints remix to “The Way I Live,” do you know if the team has heard it yet?
BB: Yeah, the team has heard it, they love it, they love it so much they even take me out. They come pick me up and take me out and show me mad love for making that song for them.

AB: As a Hofstra graduate I gotta ask, how come there’s no mention of my boy Marques Colston?
BB: {*laughs*} Because I’m not a really big football fan and when I did that song I really didn’t know a lot about football but after Katrina I really sat down and was like we got a team and everybody says the team’s gonna be good and I just turned into a Saints fan. I was never a Saints fan until this year.

AB: So the team really is bringing the community together.
BB: Yeah, after Katrina, man, we got some real diehard Saints fans. It’s serious.

AB: Your career started at the age of 16 opening for Choppa.
BB: Yeah I was young. I was actually doing my thing even before that. We opened up for him, we opened up for 50, Juvy, Turk, a lot of people and we were just touring for a couple of years and finally I got a deal.

AB: How do you feel starting out at such a young age has helped prepare you for your career?
BB: Well I’m glad I started out at a young age because I saw a lot of things that I will never do again and I done learned through others’ mistakes just as well as mine so right now I’m like man I know so much and I can get it in many ways.

AB: Can you put it on the table? Can you tell us some of the things you know you’d never do after seein ’em?
BB: OK I will never get into another record contract without going over it with lawyers, with my own personal lawyer that has trust in me and that wants everything good for me. I will never ever go into another deal like that without my own lawyer. AND I will never ever ever ever be in a group again.

AB: Too many cooks were spoiling the broth?
BB: Too many cooks. Everybody wants to be a star. One person, every time he hits the stage he thinks he’s this that and the other and all this and this person is better than that person and this person gets more girls than this person. Man I ain’t got time for all that.

AB: Do you feel like you’ve missed out on anything because you started so young?
BB: Well yeah, I missed out on raising my little brothers in the hood man because when I left, I call them my little brothers, they’re not really my little brothers but I’ve known ’em all my life, but when I left out the hood, I’ve been touring since 16 and I come back home and these dudes are old as hell and they don’t have the street smarts that I have that I want to teach to them. When they come around me and they don’t know such things I get mad because I’m like damn if I was out there, if I was home ya’ll would know a lot about these streets like I know ’em. I get mad at myself, but at the end of the day I’m glad that I wasn’t there because all of ’em are in college and all of ’em are doing their thing.

AB: What do you hope people get out of your work?
BB: I hope people get an understanding that I’m a versatile artist. I’m not one person that stays on the same damn thing all the time.

AB: So would you say you’re kind of bored by what you hear most of the time on the radio?
BB: Exactly. I’m hearing the same music all the time and “The Way I Live” is different than every song that’s out right now.

AB: Finally, what else should people know about you or your album?
BB: Well like I said, I’m a very cool dude, I’m very comical, and once you get to know me you’ll be like that’s a real dude.