Written by Sam Hadelman
DaBaby cannot stop releasing music, even for his own good. With a seemingly endless wave of his output, DaBaby has overstayed his welcome for some, while for others his animated prescenece was what was lacking in the hip-hop sphere. Regardless, this new LP was a test to see the limits that DaBaby’s artistry can push, and whether they are worth exploring in the first place.
Over the past year, DaBaby has transformed from hometown hero to international star. His charismatic personality and unquenchable flow stole the hearts of the public for some time, even with a string of public relations nightmares. He brought a new flavor to the hip-hop world, not only by outrapping his peers, but by bringing back nostalgia in the hip-hop community of a time where rappers had choreography and skits in their music videos. But, over time, as DaBaby kept releasing project after project, his fans started to wonder if there was more to his artistry than flows and braggadocious rhymes. The biggest critique DaBaby received from fans was that he could only create the same song over and over again, so on this record, Blame It On Baby he tried to dip his toes into different waters. The result was a mixed bag of hits and misses.
Blame It On Baby has DaBaby pulling back the curtain on his potential, and exposing what he is truly capable of, and what areas of exploration he should leave alone. The album boasts a great set of features, from Future to Megan Thee Stallion to Ashanti, which bring out the variety DaBaby was looking for on this release. The features worked well on some records, especially the song with Roddy Ricch, “ROCKSTAR.” The biggest hit on the record will probably be “JUMP” with Youngboy Never Broke Again because of it’s bouncy, fun energy that gets transferred between Youngboy and DaBaby. The goal of this album was to show that the DaBaby can do more than what he did on “Suge,” but at some point you have to wonder: if he excels at making that type of song, why try something he is exponentially less talented at? Exploration for the sake of trying has brought a lot of artists great success, but DaBaby is an artist whose main talent is his ability to rap, so hearing him sing not near the level he spits was a tad disappointing. I am all for musical exploration, and experimentation is a must in today’s music scene, but DaBaby has been spoon-feeding his fan base the same sound for a year, so for him to come out with a project that is sonically so far away from his previous work, within the same 6 month span as his other records, was a misguided attempt to branch out. The album wasn’t bad at all, but bunched together with his other high-energy projects, Blame It On Baby does not shine as bright.
The album does do its job of keeping the listener engaged and entertained throughout. To DaBaby’s credit, the variation he brings to the album shows a lot more depth than we previously knew he possessed. For an artist whose biggest critique was that he only knew how to make 1 song, this album showed him breaking that preconceived notion. There was a mixed bag of influence all over this album, and it was refreshing to see someone in his pocket of hip-hop not be afraid to take those creative leaps. Though some aspects of his musical pallet need development, it was promising to see him take these strides necessary to be a superstar in today’s world.
This album was also a perplexing experiment of how “club” music will be released in the time of quarantine. DaBaby’s music is meant for the clubs, the pre-games, and the solo drives home from work. With all those being put on hold, I am not really sure where DaBaby’s team thought this album would be played, and why they chose now to release it. DaBaby has recently run into some bad press, with a string of incidents that have struck a blow to his likable and engaging public presence, hence the name Blame It On Baby. So, for DaBaby’s team to pick now to release the record, a moment where his music won’t be played in it’s main environment and his public image is under attack, was a bit of a headturner. But, the bet paid off, regardless of the initial public disliking the record, it sold 150k first week.
The album was a fun, energetic listen with DaBaby at least trying to break away from the path that his fans expected. Though it had mixed results, this attempt by DaBaby to be diverse and eclectic only speaks to his longevity in music. Artists like DaBaby sometimes land in a space where their music is stale and repetitive, and at least this release proved that DaBaby has broken that mold for himself. It wasn’t so much that the album was bad, I think it was more of bad timing, both from a pandemic and public relations standpoint, to release the record, but obviously the sales say different. Regardless of the reception of the album, Blame It On Baby shows that whether you like him or not, DaBaby is here to stay.