1. Track List (24)

DaBaby Clowns His Rivals With Cutthroat Humor On ‘Baby On Baby’, Yet His Rap Skills Are No Laughing Matter

taylor
Written by taylor
/ 8 mins read

DaBaby stands out for several reasons from others Southern rappers making a name for themselves in the mainstream. For one, he is from Charlotte, North Carolina, which is not known nationally as a Hip Hop hub. He is very funny and jester like in songs and music videos. He has a runaway motormouth flow, technical in more of a Lil Wayne way than a Gucci Mane nursery rhyme way or a Lil Baby melodic way. He actually has killed when so many others merely pretend to have killed – and in his case, it was clear self defense when a 19 year old tried to rob him with a gun in Walmart while DaBaby was buying winter clothes with his family. DaBaby had the quicker draw, so yeah, not to be f’d with. I was vaguely familiar with him before giving this album a spin, really liking a video he released last year called “Pull Up Music”, and I was instantly hooked by his confident and playful delivery over a wonky yet sort of seductive beat. In fact, I had noticed him even before this in an interview which actually featured more heavily Atlanta rapper and convicted drug lord Ralo – where DaBaby went by Baby Jesus and he was actually ‘just the other guy in the room’ – but in hindsight, Ralo was always a downgraded version of Young Thug – respected much more for his street power than his rapping ability – whereas DaBaby was always the talented one – yet don’t get it twisted – he seemed to also command a lot of street respect, and put his trap reality into his music. He is popular because he’s been grindin’ since 2015, and certainly because he represents the wacky yet technically proficient southern rhymer position that has been vacant since Ludacris semi-retired from Hip Hop. In fact, I find that Luda’s style fell out of favor when Chicago Drill music became a thing, and their nightmare version of Trap infiltrated other regional styles, and changed audiences tastes for many years. While 2 Chainz certainly is still funny and gregarious, it has been a long time since someone showed out in a clever and comical way for the newer generation. A really tough street dude with a sense of humor and proficient flow – that’s DaBaby.

A New Rapper Who Doesn’t Hide Behind So Much Autotune

DaBaby mixes only about 30 percent of his old previous autotune style into his flow on “Taking It Out.” I believe starting out, he did like other artists and followed the Young Thug way of rapping, but on this album especially, he lets his raw voice loose – a raspy timbre replete with regional accent and not burdened by any digital gimmickry. “Taking It Out” by its title could mean so many things, from a gun to a body part, but I in fact like both the specifics and the ambiguity of what DaBaby is talking about; “I'm thinking about taking it out / it's hard to pop shit with my grill in / I can't let it fuck up my flow / let these lil' niggas run up the score and I still win.” He paints the type of scenario I can see and believe in – describing that before he gets busy, either physically or verbally, he has to take out his diamond/gold grill from his mouth. Is poppin’ shit about fighting, or is it about poppin’ off at the mouth, and is the flow his cashflow or his rap flow? The wordplay allows for two meanings – and this is a great introduction to the North Carolinian rapper and his intention to not just be another flavor of the month. Another major element about DaBaby is that his beats all tend to stick to the same script, following a twisted nursery song melody line (bells, xylophones, discordant piano notes) and generally being pretty sparse and in the background enough to allow for his voice to star as the main attraction. Many of these sound to me very similar to a Yo Gotti track like “Rake It Up” – and while I generally enjoy most of the beats on the album, it does become hard to differentiate between them. I would have enjoyed more variety at the end of the day, but individually, a track like “Suge” is ridiculously fun to listen to, with a bratty bounce to it and awesome boasts; “I'm the type to let a nigga think that I'm broke / until I pop out with a million (I pop) / take 20K and put that on your head / and make one of your potnas come kill you (Yeah).” All the while, his real voice comes in loud and clear – where so many other rappers his age choose to go the melodic root behind layers and layers of processing.

Change The Pace With Some Bounce Music

After the similar boasts and tempos displayed on “Goin Baby” and “Pony”, I welcomed the change of pace on “Deal wit It” which is swift and contains a certain exciting energy level, which is also maintained on “Walker Texas Ranger” and “Joggers”, especially when Rich Homie Quan hops on the latter beat with a growling, almost shouting delivery. I can’t help but get hyped to these joints, yet no beat, and perhaps flow, is more engaging for me than on “Baby Sitter”, from the insane ad libs which often laugh maniacally at the lyrics, which are themselves off the hook and delightfully disrespectful, seesawing between talking about the opp’s baby momma to her kids to the opp’s own demise at DaBaby’s hands. He plays with his name brand by telling the guys to not let girls take pictures with him because he is enough of a seducer that he can end up fucking the baby sitter (get it – he’s the baby), but it all makes sense to those involved – folks like Offset who provides a different swag with a smooth as hell triplet rap verse. I like his hardcore lines about using the special lady in question to set up a rival; “You gotta fuck on an opp and get 'em painted, earn it (stripes, woo).” My impression is girls who respond to this music the most really would be turned on by the thought of helping out in some gangland set up – it seems to happen a lot in the game and another reason why rappers always rap that they can’t trust hoes. This song has the most bounce to it out of any song on the album Baby On Baby.

A Solid Rapper Delivers A Pretty Solid Album That Is Funny And Filthy

As there are certainly some pretty solid tracks on here, there are some skippers to, which I would say are the immature and slightly annoying “Best Friend”, the surprisingly muddy sounding “Tupac”, the non distinctive sound of “Backend” (though DaBaby’s flow switch up mid song does sound pretty dope), and the tropical “Celebrate” whose autotune is kind of been-there-heard-that for me. The spooky flute style on “Pony” and ‘Carpet Burn” do satisfy though, especially because these two tracks are pretty distinct from each other even with some instrumentation in common. I don’t know why but I like “Pony” for the line “gave the plug to my brother in the trap, still rollin'”, because it seems authentic that now after hustling and marketing himself as a rapper, garnering fans and money, he is doing the smart and realistic thing by phasing out of street life, but of course, hands his mini empire to his brother because the brother is still in that life, and so why not prosper. I likewise and mesmerized by the brutal honesty and humor of the sex track “Carpet Burn”’s lyrics; “I send a ho to get some cheesecake on some Puff shit (Ha) / I'll beat and fuck in front your kid / I'm on some sick shit (He sick).” Nasty, sure, but messages like these do garner the desired response – and that Puff line is priceless for all of us fans of the Dave Chapelle skit. DaBaby manages to be funny even when he’s being filthy.

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