Just a few months ago, everything seemed fine. DaBaby kept up the momentum of “Suge” and parlayed it into his biggest album yet, KIRK. The album, which I named as one of the best of 2019, was a star-making one that housed hits like “BOP” and star-studded collabs with Nicki Minaj (“iPHONE”), Chance the Rapper (“GOSPEL”), and more. He soon scored a pair of Grammy nominations for “Suge” in the categories of Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. The world didn’t need a new DaBaby album and neither did his career. Between guest verses and the sheer number of hits left on KIRK, this album didn’t need to happen. Nevertheless, DaBaby decide to act against all common sense and release this disastrous abomination of an album.
One critique of DaBaby that quickly went viral was the assertion that he reuses the same flow. He hit back with the solid “SHUT UP,” which was soon followed by a guitar-laden Bonnie and Clyde-esque track called “Find My Way.” Unfortunately, Baby could not sustain that momentum. Blame It On Baby sounds like a mixture of the worst of KIRK’s rejects and half-baked attempts at a new sonic direction. “Can’t Stop” is a downright boring intro and on “Talk About It” DaBaby awkwardly raps about how his mother taught him “how to use a rubber.” Despite features from Quavo, Future, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Blame It On Baby is a pile of largely forgettable garbage. Even after multiple spins, it’s hard to recall anything notable about the album in terms of its lyrical and musical content. The issue is that DaBaby didn’t allow himself anytime to grow artistically, so this just sounds like a shell of KIRK and Baby on Baby. Out of a sea of objectively bad songs, there are a few that stand out for how exceptionally awful they are. DaBaby has never been a rapper that needed or sounded good with copious amounts of AutoTune, and “Champion” is solid evidence that he should stay away from that particular studio effect. The title track went viral a few days before the album’s released thanks to an extended snippet from DaBaby himself. In short, the song’s production sounds like someone tried to make a beat inspired by video game theme music and forgot to make it sound, well, good. Finally, there’s “Sad Sh*t,” another album track that quickly went viral for how bad it was, specifically due to DaBaby’s horrific singing that sounds more like an animal in distress with a few hiccups tossed in for good measure. The experimentation is a step in the right direction, but DaBaby needs to find producers better equipped to execute the vision.
There really are only two memorable songs on Blame It On Baby. Ashanti throws it back to the early 00s with a sweet and sultry hook on the Megan Thee Stallion co-featuring “Nasty.” Megan and DaBaby last teamed up on the inescapable “Cash S**t,” which I named one of the best songs of 2019. “Nasty” is an intriguing follow up to their pitch-perfect first collaboration, but it works. Megan outraps DaBaby with ease despite her verse lasting short than a Vine, and Ashanti outshines them both. On the other hand, there’s the album’s saving grace, the Roddy Ricch-featuring “Rockstar.” The song isn’t incredible but the hook has a melody that’s catchy enough to turn it into a sizeable hit and help the album scrape its way to a Gold certification.
DaBaby will get over this misfire. Easily. He’s charismatic and talented enough to move past this dud quickly, but this shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Key Tracks: “Rockstar (feat. Roddy Ricch)” and “Nasty (feat. Ashanti & Megan Thee Stallion)”