What is there to say about DaBaby that hasn’t been articulated since he took the world by storm in 2019? He is a rapper of pure conviction, and it’s through this lens that his talent, swagger, humor are all honed. Give a fuck about chasing any one genre; DaBaby pulls genres out of their orbits to become part of his own signature “DaBaby” genre, which was codified through every track on Baby on Baby but vindicated with the success of “Suge” on the charts. “Bitch it ain’t no stoppin’ a n***a like me,” he repeatedly blurts and decrescendos across Blame It on Baby; the man has control of his sound and image, which he made pointedly clear in his legendary XXL verse last year. Even a track like “Pick Up,” which is run-of-the-mill by Baby’s standards, and boasts a run-of-the-mill Quavo feature, doesn’t much deter the rapper. Like the bass thumps, he emphasizes certain words alongside a rocksteady flow, but there’s also an exhilaration to be found in its randomness — accenting moments in tandems, like a call-and-response, or the opposite. And his flow is downright robotic in precision, so that even his imaginative lexicon of non-words feel validated through conviction alone.
The complementary nature of his instrumentals shines with the follow-up “Talk About It,” Baby’s eighth-note flow marching through a woozy, descending electronic melody. Baby isn’t reinventing the wheel here: “Jump,” performed with NBA Youngboy, is reminiscent of a Lil Pump-Smokepurpp collab; a Megan Thee Stallion-assisted sex-banger (“Nasty”) pops up; and, of course, there’s the Roddy Ricch ballad “Rockstar” that’s been dominating the charts. All Baby is doing is proving his previous statements true — he’s “the Tupac of the new shit,” ready to convince anyone and everyone of his self-evident GOAT-status. The title track here does the most to further this cause — that is, the DaBaby experiment — by proving Baby’s determined flow, unchanging, can constantly work with any instrumental, changing context instantly but never losing intent.
Published as part of What Would Meek Do? | Q2 2020 Issue – Part 2.