DaBaby ‘Kirk’ Album Review
Hailing all the way from the Queen City is 2019 XXL Freshman rapper, DaBaby. Back with his sophomore release, KIRK, it is safe to infer that DaBaby knows exactly what is expected of him sonically and thus, is able to deliver just that. The album remains true to DaBaby’s sound; heavy trap beats and cocky lyrical content are the nucleus of KIRK. Titled after the “SUGE” rapper’s surname, KIRK follows the pattern of many of its peers in the sense that it details the rap lifestyle.i.e., flashy jewelry, promiscuous women, fame, family and comrades are the needle and thread to this piece of work. DaBaby’s lyrics also tell a grandiose rags-to-riches story. In KIRK, the 27-year-old makes it clear he came from nothing and is on a mission to solidify himself as one of the greatest in the game. In fact, being the best rapper out is another motif in this body of work. He steadily proclaims this from song to song to ingrain the idea that he’s the greatest into the listener’s mind. Whether you listen to one song or all thirteen, you will receive the message. Fortunately, DaBaby’s music doesn’t follow the fabric of the mumble/Xanax loving/trap rap phenomenon that has been on the rise. KIRK’s, “INTRO” and “GOSPEL” possess intention, self-reflection, and have a feel-good sound. The album is set-up for success as it’s well-endowed with strong features such as, Chance the Rapper, Nicki Minaj, and Migos which help to diversify Baby’s sound.
DaBaby kicks off his album by living up to the running Twitter joke that he starts rapping at the 0.00 mark of a song.
“INTRO” makes a great first impression and the Charlotte native makes it clear that he’s talented, versatile, introspective. The lyrics are drenched in nostalgia as DaBaby reminisces and recounts a number of intimate details from his personal life. The beat is composed of strong bass and an an army of kicks that juxtaposes oh, so well with the smooth and laid-back background vocals. “INTRO” is a long ride with DaBaby as he tells you about his life. He not only speaks of his past trials and tribulations, but his present success and his future hopes and dreams. Song 1 of 13 is a well-rounded track all in itself and is a beautiful way to kick off a body of work.
On “OFF THE RIP”, DaBaby starts rapping immediately. He acknowledges this with Song 2’s first line, “straight off the rip, you know I don’t wait for the drop.” The beat has a faster pace than its predecessor and is equipped with a bounce that harmoniously marries the quick and confident lyrics. The Interscope rapper talks his talk by claiming he’s the best out but manages to walk his walk by spitting quick and domineering verses. A soft and melodic flute guides listeners into the next track, “BOP.” Flutes have been on trend in Hip-Hop/Rap lately, i.e., Future’s “Mask Off”, Drake’s “Portland”, and several songs from Atlanta group, Migos. Jetsonmade, the fellow Carolinian music producer who is responsible for DaBaby’s breakout song, “SUGE”, had a hand in several of the songs on this album. His influence of uptempo and twerk-friendly beats is heard in “VIBEZ” and “BOP.”
DaBaby stands out on “PROLLY HEARD” by standing firm in his word while walking in his talk. On the record he is basking in the glow of addressing heresy by stating if we’ve heard anything bad about him, it is a pure reflection of those speaking ill of him in the first place. It’s a mature stand to take indeed; and with that kind of energy matched with the rhythmic and hypnotic beat makes the song a force to be reckon with.
Kirk also shines on “THERE HE GO”. Music producer Londonondatrack adds his melodic and carefully curated touch to Song 12. Keys in the background, serious lyrical content, and the background vocals make this song a triple threat. It’s easily one of the best tracks on the album as it’s part of the list of songs that exhibit DaBaby’s incredible potential.
KIRK is not groundbreaking but it is a very enjoyable listen. It has a healthy range of songs for different mood and thus, is a solid and cohesive body of work. What really sets DaBaby apart is his ad libs. His ad libs give his music character, offer a unique listening experience, are genuinely entertaining, and bring a titillating feel to the music at times. When speaking of carnal matters, DaBaby’s ad libs include grunting and moaning which adds a nice touch to his music because it shows his ability to be vulnerable. He acknowledges his charm on “THERE HE GO”, “Now I'm somewhere in a meeting getting my ass kissed (No Homo)/By a white man 'cause his daughter fuck with my ad-libs (Uh-oh).” KIRK is a typical rap story about newfound success in the industry, women, family, adversaries, and of course money. However, it’s an enjoyable listening experience from start to finish and you are sure to find yourself replaying some of tracks.