If there’s one thing Charlotte-based MC DaBaby understands best about our current streaming age, it’s that no attentive listener wants their time wasted. It’s easy for most budding rappers to replicate Drake’s and the Migos’s roadmap to success for their respective underwhelming projects from last year (i.e., load an album up with twenty-plus tracks to game the system and amp-up your play count). But it takes a real artist — or, as Baby frequently calls himself, “the best motherfuckin’ rapper” — to toss all of that out and just get down to brass tacks. Baby on Baby runs a brisk half-hour, and every song has the North Carolina clown rapping practically the same instant that the usually-skeletal beat starts up, regularly wrapping things in under two minutes. Otherwise, there’s relatively little in terms of a structuring principle here — just a rapper who never misuses a second of his recording time.
The album cover’s image, of Baby grinning with a wide, Cheshire Cat smile, well-represents the gleeful cartoonishness of this set. “Baby Sitter” finds our fast-paced verbal jester spazzing about how he’s “The type of Baby that’s gon’ fuck the babysitter,” with an equally rowdy Offset joining-in on the debauchery. Baby also finds time for a Rich the Kid-featuring remix of his previous single, “Best Friend,” — which already interpolates XXXTentacion’s infectious chorus from “SAD!,” only with bars about sneaking into thotties’ DMs, and not about killing himself if he happens to be rejected (DaBaby would never even attempt to write a song where he’s not stuntin’ at all times). This is all to say that there’s nothing incredibly introspective about Baby on Baby — but what else would you expect from a character as larger than life as the (formerly named) Baby Jesus himself? Things get so ludicrous across this album, that when DaBaby even goes as far as consecrating himself “The 2Pac of this new shit”… it’s honestly quite humble in comparison to some of his other claims.
Published as part of What Would Meek Do? | Issue 7