Between being a part of XXL’s Freshman Class of 2019, his feature on Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song “Cash Shit” and his slew of chart-topping tracks-turned-TikTok dances such as “BOP,” “VIBES” and “TOES,” it’s nearly impossible to get away from Johnathan Lyndale Kirk, better known as his stage moniker DaBaby.
But the real question is, why would you want to? Since bursting onto the hip-hop scene full force in 2019, DaBaby has been making hit after hit and there seems to be no stopping him, what with the debut of his third studio album, “BLAME IT ON BABY,” which was released this past Friday, April 17. The album continues with DaBaby’s unique style, but also sees him exploring new sounds.
“BLAME IT ON BABY” opens up with “CAN’T STOP,” a typical DaBaby introduction song much in the same vein of “Next Song” off of 2018’s “Blank Blank” and “INTRO” from 2019’s “KIRK.” Like the majority of DaBaby’s music, the lyricism on this track isn’t necessarily profound or original but rather sticks to his typical themes of making money, getting girls and providing for his daughter.
The album has a plethora of big name features, ranging from those that are perfectly in sync to others that seem to miss the mark. My personal favorite feature track is “JUMP,” featuring YoungBoy Never Broke Again (however, as a YoungBoy fan I could be slightly biased). The fun, jumping beat brings the exciting energy DaBaby is most known for onto the album, and DaBaby and YoungBoy are able to switch the flow back and forth so effortlessly the entire song seems easy and natural.
Other honorable mention feature tracks are “DROP,” featuring A Boogie wit da Hoodie and London On Da Track, as well as “PICK UP” featuring Quavo. “DROP” has a chill R&B type vibe and presents a more melodic chorus from DaBaby. Between A Boogie’s smooth feature and a classic London On Da Track-type beat, this track seems like it could be a radio hit in the making. “PICK UP,” on the other hand, is just fun, classic DaBaby, with a driving beat and catchy flow.
Speaking of beats, “BLAME IT ON BABY” just proves how important they really are in DaBaby’s ability to make a hit. Nearly half of the tracks on the album were produced by DJ K.i.D. (including “JUMP” and “PICK UP”) and these songs are by far DaBaby’s strongest pieces.
Other feature tracks, such as “LIGHTSKIN SH*T,” which features Future and Jetsonmade, as well as “ROCKSTAR” featuring Roddy Ricch, just don’t hit the same. While nothing is wrong with either of these tracks, there’s nothing special about them either, which is in part due to the fact that neither were produced by DJ K.i.D., but rather Jetsonmade, Outtatown and Starboy and SethInTheKitchen, respectively.
However, the feature track I was most excited for and ultimately most disappointed by had to be “NASTY,” featuring Ashanti and Megan Thee Stallion. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge Megan fan, and when DaBaby and Megan came together to make “Cash Shit” for her 2019 album “Fever,” it was like magic happened. Suffice to say, I was excited to hear “NASTY.”
But even after countless relistens, I was still disappointed. In a similar manner to “LIGHTSKIN SH*T,” the explicit lyrics but fairly mild beat just didn’t add up. Throw Ashanti’s extremely melodic, nearly sweet chorus into the mix and it almost seemed like there was too much going on at once, making the song incoherent and confusing. One prop to the song: Megan’s verse hit perfectly, as usual.
Often DaBaby’s very particular type of flow and beat can make his songs seem a bit repetitive, which is often his major criticism. However, “BLAME IT ON BABY” reveals a different side of the rapper; on a few tracks, DaBaby plays more with an old-school R&B sound and even sings on a few tracks (although it may be more accurate to say that Auto-Tune sang on a few tracks). DaBaby took a risk with these songs and they most definitely paid off.
One of my all-time favorite songs from the album, “SAD SH*T,” shows a vulnerable side to DaBaby, with him singing on the chorus, “’Cause, baby, I know my old bitch miss me/(I miss you too, I can’t even cap, like for real)/Now I’m gone, and my heart’s empty.” This more melodic voice gives major Frank Ocean/A$AP Rocky/Kanye West hybrid-type vibes.
Then with the first verse DaBaby launches back into his rapping, albeit with a lighter touch on the flow. Tie in the catchy beat produced by DJ K.i.D. and this song is a hit in my eyes. DaBaby keeps up this softer R&B style energy in “FIND MY WAY,” which I already reviewed as a single here.
We can’t talk about “BLAME IT ON BABY” without discussing the titular track, possibly one of the most intricate and interesting listens on the album. The track is a stellar representation of DaBaby’s complete control over his flow and his ability to switch it up, as there are multiple beat switch-ups and changes throughout the song. DaBaby himself points this out, rapping, “They be like ‘Why you switch the beat?’ Because my flow neat, n****/‘I thought he couldn’t switch the flow, how the hell he switchin’ the beat up?’”
Overall “BLAME IT ON BABY” does not disappoint. If you were never a DaBaby fan to begin with, this album most likely won’t convert you, as the majority of the tracks are classic DaBaby. However, for DaBaby fans this album offers the best of both worlds: Both the usual, fun DaBaby flows along with a new, more melodic side to the rapper.
Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.