7 months after the best-selling album KIRK, Charlotte North Carolina’s own, Dababy refuses to rest on his laurels and released his 3rd studio album BLAME IT ON BABY. A less focused record that shows the more experimental side, both lyrically and sonically of Dababy, bringing in fantastic features while still remaining within the sphere of his overall sound.
As you’d expect from Dababy by now, the first track has him rapping right out of the gate in his aggressive manner over a heavyweight bass rapping about being an unstoppable force to be reckoned with over the trademark Dababy flow. Explaining how he continues to get better, turning misfortunes to blessings, as he simmers down to slowing up the flow within the very first verse showing from the start this album might be a bit different.
Flowing in to PICK UP, it felt like a standard Dababy track, with a strong verse from 1/3rd of the Migos, Quavo, but the real left turn comes from the 3rd track LIGHTSKIN SH*T featuring Future and produced by Jetsonmade. It sounds like something Lil Uzi Vert would rap over. It sounds like a trap arcade beat, that has a simple warm melody that personality-wise, didn’t fit with what Dababy has put out in the past yet he flows over the track with ease talking about his favorite “model chick”. Future holds his own adding his own melodic flair to his verse going a bit spiritual and talking about almost going to hell but making it out alive. This track would be the tastemaker of the experimentation of beats found throughout this album.
Try not to head nod on TALK ABOUT IT. Between the bouncing bass, the water melody and guitar, and the pre-chorus talking about uncles, hustling and candy, it so in his wheelhouse you could have never a heard a Dababy song before and something would tell you that’s him. He switches it back up for a string of tracks. On SAD SH*T Dababy sings surprisingly well, something most would’ve never expected a few months ago, and he knows that, breaking that 4th wall mentioning that surprise, and even has a lower vocal female track that has her singing “just keep on rapping”. Dababy also finds a different angle on subject matter, rapping about losing a girl and his feelings about the relationship with a vulnerability we really only saw INTRO from his previous album and continues with that vulnerability and vocally carrying a melody on the acoustic guitar driven FIND MY WAY with a 2000’s R&B guitar riff about having a broken heart trying to find his way back home. The acoustic guitar motif theme continues on an arpeggiated ROCKSTAR where he finds middle ground on melody and rapping with the help of the #1 charted Roddy Rich rounding out the song with his own blend of rapping and melody.
To flip it right back on, Dababy goes straight to rapping again with his flows and adlibs that accents how different the last 3 songs were and to re-acclimate to Dababy we are used to is a unique experience. The tracks continue to be a refined version of Dababy, with always frustrated Youngboy Never Broke Again, and unusually consistent A Boogie wit da Hoodie making appearances trying to make more fans of their own. All the way to the title track BLAME IT ON BABY that happens to be a direct rebuke of all the naysayers as he switiches up the flow along with the beat multiple times throughout the song rapping along the way saying his flow is “neat” and does this “with his feet up” that is technically impressive and very fun to listen to.
Then comes NASTY following Ashanti’s vocal stylings, Dababy and Megan Thee Stallion rap with vivid imagery about particular sexual encounters in exquisite detail that seems like the follow up to KIRK’S VIBEZ. AMAZING GRACE seems to jump from place to place talking about his spirituality and seems to follow INTROS vulnerability but then the song and the album just… stops… And that would be the point because if you’re listening to the album on loop, it immediately goes back in to CAN’T STOP talking about about you cant stop someone like him.
For 33 minutes and an experimental Dababy that definitely nailed his attempts at switching the flow up (he’d thought you’d never ask), picking out unusual beats throughout most of the album, and even varying the topics he chooses to rap, or in other cases sing but ultimately lacks a bit of direction. This album as a whole doesn’t seem to end with the impact something like KIRK did. The individual pieces are there but as a whole doesn’t really leave you with anything as an album. This definitely has bits and pieces that showcase a greater more versatile Dababy incoming, but the catchy earworms that grow on you further present in his previous work, seem to be missing from this album.
Paradoxically I enjoyed this album on its first run through more than i did KIRK because of its variety, for Dababy this run of variety tradesoff the strength of Dababy got really good at, and would bludgeon you over the head with for a full hour. KIRK is a physical in your face basketball team that bullied its way to the top. BLAME IT ON BABY is a rebuilding middle of the pack team, with characteristics and talent that can make arguments for being a better team but lack the direction and cohesiveness to fully flesh out that number one team. Though what this really means is his next album, be it a year, less than a year, or more than two years out, will be stellar if hes able to figure out this puzzle.
- Alex Fevry