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Baka Not Nice is ready to take on the world.

After serving time in prison, the Canadian rapper is back home and focused on his career. In one of his first U.S. interviews with Rap-Up, Drake’s right-hand man reflected on his “roller coaster” journey—from behind bars to performing in the Bellagio fountains.

“I wasn’t expecting this to happen,” said Baka, who earned his first U.S. gold single with “Live Up to My Name.”

In the early 2000s, Baka was sentenced for crimes including armed robbery and assault. “What I went to prison for was not something that I did,” he explained. “I basically went to prison for my friend because I got 13-and-a-half years because I didn’t snitch.”

After winning his appeal and being released after eight years, he met Drake on set of Preme’s video for “In My Hood” in 2010, which was shot in his neighborhood of Galloway. “From that day, we’ve never left each other’s side. It was just real recognize real,” said Baka.

In 2015, Drake made it official by signing him to OVO Sound. “That made me feel amazing. That’s when I knew I was on,” he said.

Two years later, he joined Drake at the Billboard Music Awards for a performance of “Gyalchester” in Las Vegas’ famed Bellagio fountains. “That was probably one of the biggest highlights of my career,” said Baka. “There was no choreography, there was no practice. We took a boat, we went out there, we got on the stage, we did one run-through. The next one was it, that was it. We got a good chemistry together.”

Baka will forever be grateful to Drake for believing in him. “He gave me a chance. He gave me a shot to basically turn my life around, to do something positive, and that’s what I’m doing right now. That’s why I work so hard. I don’t want to let him down because he gave me a chance.”

Last month, Baka dropped a video for his celebratory single “Up.” His “My Town” collaboration with Giggs can also be found on OVO Sound’s Top Boy soundtrack.

Expect more big things from Baka in 2020, including a collaboration with his OVO boss. “You can definitely expect a big song very soon. It’s coming,” he teased.

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