Lil Baby the young Atlanta rap sensation appeared like he might go anywhere with the enormous success of his 2020 album My Turn. The only explanation for the existence of songs like “Staying Alive,” a DJ Khaled and Drake collaboration that samples the Bee Gees, and “The World Is Yours To Take,” a World Cup song sponsored by Budweiser and featuring a sample of Tears For Fears, is that Lil Baby used some of his newfound power to get himself paid. Although I find such kind of behavior annoying and lacking in creative merit, I can understand it. What puzzled me was Baby’s continued release of plodding, out-of-date hits like “Detox” and “Heyy.” But after listening to Lil Baby’s CD, I believe I get it.
Lil Baby might simply not be a singles artist. Although he has produced several excellent hits, such are the exception. Lil Baby has a comfort zone, and that zone may work just fine for an entire album. The majority of Baby’s latest album, It’s Only Me, succeeds as dramatic, bass-heavy mood music. Lil Baby is most effective when you give him time to develop his vibe and just listen to his painful, Auto-Tune-scrambled voice for an extended period of time.
It’s Only Me may or may not get hits, but I have to assume that it won’t have the same effect as My Turn. However, It’s Only Me is working for me as I listen to it for the first time. Baby is only working with guests who are completely in his zone: Future, Jeremih, Nardo Wick, EST Gee, Pooh Shiesty, Young Thug, Fridayy, Rylo Rodriguez. It’s all head-clouded anxiousness and ghostly music. He is not looking for hits. He is instead investigating the various facets of his own perception. You can hear it below, and it’s worth listening to.
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