Kirk, DaBaby’s sophomore album, was one of my favorite projects to release last year. Although it didn’t make my Top 10 Best Hip Hop Albums of 2019, if I had included an honorable mentions section, it for sure would have been included. However, the main criticism I and many others share is that the songs feel repetitive and don’t offer anything new that DaBaby hasn’t already shown before. Though this was the album’s main flaw, it has been a reoccurring issue that Dababy has struggled with throughout his career. Catchy melodies and boomy 808s have become his trademark style, but it can only last for so long before mainstream audiences start to notice and, eventually, get tired of it. So when Find My Way was released and we finally got to hear Dababy switching up his flow, the feedback was positive. When it was revealed to be the lead single for his upcoming album, it was a surprise to be sure, considering that his previous album has been out for less than a year, but a welcome one. With the promise of a strong lead single and different producers attached, one question remains: Is It Good?
From the opening track alone, DaBaby makes it clear that this will be much different than KIRK. Instead of opening up with a heartfelt personal track, he instead favors a trap beat to match his aggressive tone in which he brags about his fame. As the album continues, it seems as if DaBaby got tired of the countless memes about all of his songs sounding the same because he is constantly experimenting. Songs like “SAD SH*T” has him reminiscing on a past relationship while singing a melodically in the chorus, then returning to his typical rapping style in the other verses. The title track “BLAME IT ON BABY” features DaBaby leashing into constant flow changes to go along with the constant beat switches that make up the two-minute song.
After the second half, however, is when things start to decline quality-wise. From out of place features such as YoungBoy Never Broke Again on “JUMP” and A Boogie wit da Hoodie on “DROP”, it seems as if the album begins to lose what began to made it so appealing in the first place. Rather than DaBaby trying to produce well-structured songs, he begins to try and force a flow switch simply to avoid criticism and prove that he’s capable of making different sounding songs. Where the album truly declines from whatever remaining potential it still had left was on the twelfth track, “NASTY”, which is a perfect title given the subject matter. What’s ironic is that he goes from rapping in graphic detail about his sexual escapades to talking about his relationship with God, or lack thereof, on the chorus of the albums outro track “AMAZING GRACE”.
So, Is It Good? No, but it’s decent. DaBaby shows he listened to the criticism he’s received by improving in areas that KIRK lacked in. Though it begins to change in quality in the second half, the first section makes up for this by having memorable, catchy songs and great features, even if some of them do consist of cringe lyrics.
Standout Tracks: LIGHTSKIN SH*T (feat. Future & jetsonmade), TALK ABOUT IT, FIND MY WAY, & BLAME IT ON BABY
Worst Track: NASTY (feat. Ashanti & Megan Thee Stallion)