Written By: Mike Double G
Grade = 75% or 3:5 Stars
Tracklist - ️54 minutes
trademark usa 4:30 ️
pink panties 2:43
range brothers (Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar) 5:16 ️
south africa 2:54
lost souls 4:29
cocoa (Feat. Don Toliver) 3:49 ️
family ties (Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar) 4:12 ️
scars 4:26 ️
durag activities (Baby Keem & Travis Scott) 3:44 ️
first order or business 2:48
Baby Keem is just 20 years old and comes from Las Vegas. He is the first main stream artist to come from the city. In an interview with The Rap Pack, Baby Keem said he’s been around studios since he was 4 years old but didn’t start rapping until he has 14. Keem also has the luxury of being cousins with Kendrick Lamar. On this album Kendrick Lamar appears on the songs range brothers and family ties. The only other guest appearances come from Don Toliver on cocoa and Travis Scott on durag activities. All four of these songs are stand outs on the project.
Baby Keem was born in Carson California so his music definitely has a west coast vibe. Baby Keem has claimed that Kid Cudi was very influential when it came to his music. He has stated that he admired Kid Cudi’s cadences. Other influences included Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem, 50 Cent, Drake, and Lil Uzi Vert. Sometimes Keem sounds similar to Playboi Carti as he likes to use the “baby voice”. Keem experiments with different sounds by contorting his voice. He does a good job keeping you off balance by going in and out between a high pitched sound to a more traditional rap cadence. The more eccentric rapping style seems to be very popular with the younger listeners who are going to be his main demographic.
I first became familiar with Baby Keem by hearing him on the Kanye West’s album Donda”. He was featured on the song Praise God which also had a feature from Travis Scott. Kanye and Travis are two of the biggest rappers in the game but Keem impressed me by standing out on this track. He felt like the lead artist on this song. Keem rapped for 2 minutes straight over a song that was 3 minutes and 47 seconds. Not only did Baby Keem appear on Kanye’s album but on his own album he made the song scars which is a spin on Kanye West’s song Love Lockdown. This track isn’t a remix but the two songs share the same exact drum pattern. Love Lockdown appeared on Kanye’s fourth LP 808s & Heartbreak. A lot of Kanye’s day one fans thought this was Kanye’s weakest album at the time except for the younger listeners. Rappers like Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Trippie Redd, Juice WRLD, and now Baby Keem have all credited the project as being a huge influenced on there music.
There are several different types of songs on this album. The first track trademark usa is the most rap sounding song on the album. Keem sets the tone as he raps over a few different beats. The next song pink panties is more of a party song that you might here in a college dorm. A couple tracks later we here the first feature from Kendrick on range brothers. Baby Keem sounds like a younger Kendrick on this one as the two go back and forth trading bars. gorgeous is a song for the ladies as Baby Keem describes his ideal woman. The second song with Kendrick Lamar is family ties. On this song Baby Keem has the first verse before the beat changes over for Kendrick’s verse. On this song Kendrick steals the show by making it somewhat controversial. Kendrick opens his verse by saying:
Smokin on your top 5 tonight…don’t you address me unless it’s with four letters.
Kendrick is referring to himself as the “goat” and many people think these bars are aimed at J. Cole and Drake as they are in everyone’s too 5. They are considered by many as “The Big 3” in the rap game. Towards the end of the album we have vent which is the classic shit taking song that you can turn up to. On this song Baby Keem wants everyone to know he’s not playing and he’ll be ready for the fade at any time.
Baby Keem released this album at the perfect time as it came out less than two weeks after Kanye released Donda. This allowed people who were unfamiliar with Baby Keem to become familiar. This was enough for me to want to listen to the project but I was even more intrigued when I saw the features from Kendrick Lamar, Don Toliver, and Travis Scott. After the first listen I liked the songs with the features but I wasn’t super impressed with Baby Keem. I felt like he sounded like many other younger rappers whose main demographic wasn’t for someone my age. My opinion improved on the second listen and especially the third. Baby Keem is diverse and talented. Sometimes he sounds like a younger Kendrick but even if he didn’t have that connection I think he would have found a way to make it as a rapper. I’m not a huge fan of the auto tune rapping or the “baby” voice but the kid has bars and does a good job putting together melodies. Overall, this was a solid debut project. I give it 75% or 3.5 stars.
Best Song = family ties (Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar)
Download: The Melodic Blue
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