Lil Baby – “It’s Only Me” review

This is the 3rd full-length album from Atlanta rapper Lil Baby. Rising to stardom in 2018 off his debut album Harder Than Ever, his profile would gradually increase from there by following up with a collab project with Gunna entitled Drip Harder & his 4th solo mixtape Street Gossip. He then dropped the mediocre sophomore effort My Turn weeks before the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic but with Amazon Prime putting out a documentary a couple months back, Baby’s returning in the form of It’s Only Me.

“Real Spill” is a rubbery yet introspective trap opener about being in a completely different mindset now whereas “Stand on It” takes a more lavish route standing on literally every word that he says. Nardo Wick tags along for the underwhelming “Pop Out” spitting braggadocio accompanied by an uneventful beat, but then “Heyy” was a weak choice for a final single obnoxiously rubbing it in everyone’s faces how lit everyone is now.

Moving on to “California Breeze”, we have Baby over some sample-based trap production from Murda Beatz reflecting on watching a bitch turn sour on him leading into the stripped back “Perfect Timing”almost about keeping his guard up because of people fucking him over. Young Thug comes into the picture for the horn-laced “Never Hating” produced by Wheezy acknowledging that this shit not ending until they’re dead & gone, but then “Forever” comes through with a mediocre pop rap ballad.

“Not Finished” weaves some chimes into the fold talking about never being done while “In a Minute”samples “Pound Cake” by Drake & JAY-Z letting you in on the extravagant lifestyle that he lives. “Waterfall Flow” has a more shimmering quality to the instrumental talking about his girl wanting to be gang while the keyboard heavy “Everything” calls out someone for taking a piece of his heart & owing him it all.

Meanwhile on the Tay Keith-laced “From Now On”, the one & only Future joins Baby in a chaotic look at them dodging the feds while “Double Down” reveals how cautionary he can be over some pillowy trap production. Rylo Rodriguez’ verse & the generic beat throughout “Cost to Be Alive” don’t really do it for me although I admire the subject matter addressed while “Top Priority” dives into atmospheric turf thanks to DJ Champ talking about being the one that they all run up to & dissing DJ Akademiks the cornball for thinking he can’t be touched.

“Danger” returns to the pianos addressing someone he could’ve exposed while “Stop Playing” follows it up with a decent trap/R&B hybrid with some more romantic lyricism. “F.R. (For Real)” comes through with an otherworldly sound justifiably showing off that he’s earned all of his stripes while “Back & Forth” with EST. G finds the 2 over a mediocre instrumental talking about wanting to be fucked good.

The song “Shiest Talk” with Pooh Shiesty confesses that they’ve been “thuggin’ way before Tony put Trevor on a shit bag” over some keys & hi-hats while the penultimate track “No Fly Zone” acknowledges that shit could be worse than it already it is over a woodwind-infused beat. To wrap up the album though, “Russian Roulette” delivers an acoustic trap ballad about fighting all of his life & even being self-aware that he hasn’t dropped his hardest shit yet.

I genuinely wanted to come away from It’s Only Me looking at it to be an improvement over My Turn, but it hurts me to say that it’s just as mid & I don’t mean that disrespectfully. He’s becoming a better performer as proven by some of his recent features & that happens to be the case here also, it’s just that the production is a lot more weaker than it was when we last heard from him 2 & a half years back.

Score: 2.5/5

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Lil Baby & Lil Durk – “The Voice of the Heroes” review

This is a brand new collaborative effort between Atlanta superstar Lil Baby & Chicago rapper Lil Durk. The pair have come together on a handful of instances throughout the last few years whether it be “How I Know” off the latter’s 2016 mixtape Just Cause Y’all Waited or even a little over a month ago with “EVERY CHANCE I GET” on the latest DJ Khaled album Khaled Khaled but given their documented history with one another, they’ve decided to take it to the next level by declaring themselves as The Voice of the Heroes.

The title track is a cloudy kickstarter to the album & even though I appreciate the message “2040” being about balling forever, the instrumental is just middle of the road. Travis Scott tags along for the synth-heavy “Hats Off” as the trio shout out those who be keeping it real whereas the Wheezy-produced “Who I Want” brings in some rich piano melodies as they talk about running trains on bitches.

Meanwhile on “Still Hood”, we have Baby & Durk reminding listeners of where they came from backed by a mellow beat from London on da Track before incorporating strings on the loyalty themed “Man of My Word”. We have Nick Papz working in some flutes for the duo as they link up with Meek Mill for the braggaodious “Still Runnin’”, but then “Medical” is easily the saddest joint on the whole thing as they’re crying for help from drug addiction.

“How I Feel” doesn’t have much going on instrumentally despite the lyrics saying you’re not alone on feeling a certain way in certain situations while “Lying” angrily calls out wankstas on their bluff. The rapid keyboards on “Okay” are really cool as both parties talk about being stuck in their ways whereas the horn-inflicted “That’s Facts” finds them speaking their truths. The song “Please” is a more romantic cut down to the airy production from Turbo, but then Durk & Baby bring in Young Thug for the celebratory wealth anthem “Up the Side”.

They later acknowledge the fact that people look up to them on “If You Want To” & even though the guitars come in on occasion, they’re a really awesome touch. The song “Rich Off Pain” is a summery cut saying they became successful due to expressing their struggles while the penultimate track “Make It Out” expresses their desire to “rid this curse” over a dejected Murda Beatz instrumental. To round it out, “Bruised Up” is an emotional finisher pondering what they’d do if they got locked up.

A lot of mainstream collab albums this day in age tend to be hit or miss, but I think it’s safe to say The Voice of the Heroes is leagues better than Drip Harder was. Not just because the chemistry has improved, but the production choices are more refined too.

Score: 3.5/5

Lil Baby – “My Turn” review

Lil Baby is a rapper from Atlanta, Georgia that rose to stardom in 2018 with his debut album Harder Than Ever. This was followed up with a collab project with Gunna entitled Drip Harder & his 4th solo mixtape Street Gossip, both of which didn’t match the quality of Harder Than Ever in my opinion. But after spending the last year doing features, he’s back with his sophomore album.

The opener “Get Ugly” talks about how life can be rough over a trap beat with some synths while the next song “Heatin’ Up” seems like a boring Drip Harder leftover. The song “How” takes aim it people ridin’ his wave over a bassy Murda Beatz instrumental while the track “Grace” with 42 Dugg sees the 2 flexing over an ominous instrumental. The song “Woah” continues to show off over a dull instrumental while the track “Live Off My Closet” with Future sees the 2 talking about their fancy possessions over a beat with some haunting keyboards.

The song “Same Thing” describes a day in the life of Lil Baby over a Tay Keith beat with an awesome acoustic sample while the track “Emotionally Scarred” talks about an ex over a bland beat. The song “Commercial” with Lil Uzi Vert sees the 2 talking about not looking back over a skeletal beat while the track “Forever” finds Baby getting with Lil Wayne to remind their listeners to be themselves over a demented beat. The song “Can’t Explain” talks about acting the same despite his new lifestyle over a trap beat with a quiet piano lead while the track “No Sucker” with Moneybagg Yo is pretty much both of them bragging over an airy beat.

The song “Sum 2 Prove” lyrically needs no further explanation backed with some strings & hi-hats while the track “We Should” with Young Thug finds both of them boasting about going from broke to rich & I love the ghostly melody in the beat. The song “Catch the Sun” gets more personal over a [Hit-Boy] beat with a mellow guitar lead while the track “Consistent” talks about his grind over a woozy beat.

The song “Gang Signs” is essentially about reppin’ your set over a surprising yet vicious DJ Paul instrumental with a vintage Three 6 Mafia sample while the track “Hurtin’” vents about his pain over a spacious beat. The song “Forget That” with Rylo Rodriguez is them both of them trippin’ on wax over a somber beat & then the closer “Solid” continues to spit from the heart over an uneventful instrumental.

Wasn’t expecting a whole lot & walking away from it, I didn’t get much. There are a small handful of catchy bangers on here, but I find both the production & rapping to be subpar for a good portion cod it. Just another mediocre trap album.

Score: 2/5

Gunna & Lil Baby – “Drip Harder” review

 

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Gunna is a 25 year old rapper from College Park, Georgia who signed to Young Thug’s 300 Entertainment imprint YSL Records in 2016. He’s released his Drip Season trilogy of mixtapes over the course of those 2 years, with the first 2 from 2016 & 2017 respectively being average & the latest installment Drip Season 3 that came out at the beginning the year easily becoming Gunna’s best work yet.

Lil Baby on the other hand is a 23 year old rapper from Atlanta, Georgia who signed to Quality Control Music, Motown Records & Capitol Records while releasing 3 mediocre mixtapes just last year: Perfect Timing, Harder Than Hard & Too Hard. He even released his surprisingly consistent full-length debut Harder Than Ever just this past May & after a handful of collabs with Gunna over the past year, the 2 have decided to take it to the next level with a full-length collab mixtape.

The tape opens with “Off White VLONE”, where the duo link up with Lil Durk & NAV to deliver a boring sequel to “Chanel (Go Get It)“ off the recent YSL compilation Slime Language. The next track “Business is Business” sees the 2 talking about how they better get paid an eerie trap beat while the song “Belly” talks about how they have women like Taral Hicks’ character in the titular movie over an instrumental kin to Young Thug’s BEAUTIFUL THUGGER GIRLS. The track “Deep End” is a Lil Baby solo cut talking about how he has a gang feeling in him over a nondescript instrumental that doesn’t enhance the vibe at all while the song “World is Yours” is a Gunna solo cut talks about being a rockstar over a slow, laidback trap beat from Wheezy.

The track “Underdog” sees Gunna & Lil Baby reuniting to talk about how they feel like the titular idiom in today’s hip hop landscape over a spacey trap beat while the song “I Am” talks about they’re stuck in their own lanes over some piano keys & skittering snares. The track “Seals Pills” is a moody drug anthem while the song “My Jeans” talks about money over a bland Wheezy beat & I’m actually REALLY disappointed that Thugger only handles the hook on here.

The track “Style Stealer” is another Gunna solo cut albeit being about biters over a trap beat with an alluring woodwind in the background while the song “Close Friends” is a Lil Baby solo cut about how this woman became her girlfriend over a mellow beat. The penultimate track “Drip Too Hard” gets braggadocious over a moody, bass-heavy trap beat & then the closer “Never Recover” with Drake continues the vibe of the previous joint except with a more sinister atmosphere to the Tay Keith production.

There are some highlights on here, but it just comes off as a poor man’s SUPER SLIMEY. The production, the duo’s chemistry, their similar styles, nearly everything just comes off as VERY average at the end of the day.

Score: 3/5