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March 31, 2007|CASEY DOLAN

Turning the spotlight on musicians making a commercial breakthrough.

"Across the Water"

Baby Boy Da Prince

Universal Republic

Artist info: Baby Boy (real name: Michael Turner) is a son of New Orleans. "This Is the Way I Live," a chunk of crunk that became a sort of unofficial anthem for the post-Katrina Big Easy, was the first single from his debut album. The song moves leisurely, as befits the Dirty South style, but displays a youthful yearning.

Back story: At 16, he toured with Southern rappers, including his brother, Chopper, and Turk. In 2005, he opened for 50 Cent, Paul Wall and Juvenile. Hurricane Katrina took the wind out of his sails briefly, but he rallied with "The Way I Live." A remix of the song was released in conjunction with the NFL's Saints returning to New Orleans and the Superdome and also achieved success. "Across the Water" entered the national sales chart at No. 26 with respectable sales of 26,000 copies. He should gain additional momentum when a second single, "Naw Meen," a slightly tougher take on life than "... Live," is released.

Influences: Juvenile, Lil Wayne, T.I., Chamillionaire

Trivia: Baby Boy -- so nicknamed by his manager, Melvin Foley -- wrote the album from his FEMA trailer.

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