From those who call the song a poignant anthem of the everyday struggles found in Detroit and inner cities across America to critics who dismiss the single as an embarrassment to hip-hop -- almost everyone has an opinion about “It’s So Cold in the D.”
Now the person who created the buzzed-about YouTube sensation is hoping her first on-stage performance at the Crofoot Friday night (Oct. 10) will set the record straight about her song and life.
“People think I’m playing but (the song) is real,” says the 30-year-old Detroit MC T-Baby, whose real name is LaTonya Myles.
T-Baby says the song was inspired by the death of her brother “Mason” who was killed in a Coney Island restaurant in 2006. She says she never expected her track and subsequent video for "It's So Cold in the D" -- which has nearly 575,000 plays via this one YouTube link and has been downloaded thousands of other times on music streaming and ringtone Web sites -- to spread so far so fast or to become so misunderstood.
“I’m saying how cold it is in the world,” T-Baby says. “How people is cold -- killing, robbing. It’s cold out here. People hearts is cold.”
T-Baby also says the song is also a tribute to her son who died as an infant. “It’s about what life takes you through.”
As “It’s So Cold in the D” continues to gain traction, there is no doubt T-Baby is becoming known throughout the country. But it’s not a particularly positive fan-base; many people, including Detroiters in the hip-hop community (and out), aren’t happy about the single.
First, there's the confusion of the shared name T-Baby with another Detroit rapper whose real name is Tiara DeMyers (http://www.myspace.com/iamtbaby).
And there is the response to the song (and video) itself: Hundreds of comments posted on YouTube are critical and many computer-savvy pranksters have remixed T-Baby’s video and image with songs from Rick Ross, the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. There are also more comical versions of the track, like The Muppets rendition "It's So Cold in the Beaker." Comedian Rickey Smiley also took a jab at the song earlier this week during his nationally syndicated radio show.
“I’m not going to say that it’s a representation of Detroit hip-hop, but if those are the circumstances (T-Baby's brother and son's deaths) behind the song I can understand why she wants to get it out there,” says Hot 102.7 on-air personality Ike Love.
Love adds that he respects her efforts to bring to light the very serious problem of violence in Detroit and in the inner cities across America. However, he explains, the message needs to “be cleaned up.”
“There are a lot of people out here who think the song is a joke,” Love says. “Maybe she needs to re-record it.”
Dommy “Huge Deal” Styles, a nationally recognized mixtape DJ who has worked with Atlantic Records, says many Detroit artists could learn how to promote and market their own products from T-Baby.
“Everybody might be hating on T-Baby but she’s the most recognized rapper from Detroit right now,” says Styles who credits T-Baby’s team for placing the song and video into The Core DJ’s Network, a clearinghouse for many of the nation’s top DJs to share music and break artists.
Styles says the song spread across the country because she had the guts to promote her music.
“All it takes is for one person to hear her, work with her and she’s a star,” Styles says.
T-Baby says “It’s So Cold in the D” in just the beginning -- she has big plans for her career. She is currently writing and plans to go into the studio soon to record more tracks, including a remix to her Detroit anthem.
“I’m dedicating myself to doing (music) and rapping about real stuff going on in the world,” says T-Baby, who isn’t focused on her detractors but those who support her music and understand her purpose.
“I really don’t care what the haters say,” T-Baby says. “I’m going to do me and keep it real for my fans. The rest can hate all they want.”
T-Baby's performance will take place at 10 p.m. Friday night at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, where there is a $5 admission. The show will also feature local rapper Mighty Joe Young. For more information about T-Baby please visit: www.myspace.com/babydolltee.