DaBaby Tentatively Steps Out of the Box on 'Blame It on Baby'
Published Apr 28, 2020Since the not-so-distant beginning of his career, DaBaby has packed his music with energy, fun, chaos, and unimaginable breath-control. His music is the perfect balance of braggadocious bars and carefree entertainment, which is also the sweet-spot he's lived for the past year. But for his third album in 13 months, is it still enough?
In tune with the world's current circumstances, Blame It on Baby feels lighthearted even from the cover art, where DaBaby wears a medical mask and a colourful camo vest. Though he's not poking fun at the severity of COVID-19, DaBaby does highlight the stark difference from life just a few months ago, when he released the crowd dancing street video for "BOP." And in some ways, Blame It on Baby is a reminder of the outside life he no longer has.
With much of the album recorded while touring and in-home studios, much of its production is minimal and looped with hi-hats and kicks. It's a sound we've come to know DaBaby handle on his own, but he invites industry peers like Quavo ("Pick Up"), Future ("Lightskin Shit"), YoungBoy Never Broke Again ("Jump") for the ride. And of course, internet-deemed "work wife" Meghan Thee Stallion and Ashanti provided the raunchy standout track "Nasty" (a nod to Ashanti's 2002 hit "Baby") rounding it all up. Though these features play into the album, it's the other album guests that hold it together.
With a running joke that DaBaby is a one-trick pony, he makes strides to step out of the box on songs like "Find My Way" and the acoustic guitar-driven "Rockstar," which features Roddy Ricch. Lending his thoughts to PTSD and feeling lost, DaBaby itches to reveal the skin beneath the mask, and rather than conducting the vibes, he speaks about heartbreak on "Sad Shit" and plays around with singing on "Drop" alongside A Boogie wit da Hoodie.
In the moments that DaBaby peels back his layers to reveal more than a persona, he feels connected and centered. Though we love the bops, sometimes balance is necessary to keep a career fresh. (South Coast Music Group/Interscope)