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The student news site of Marquette University

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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Rashad’s Records: Lil Baby’s ‘It’s Only Me’ is an inconsistent, yet enjoyable listen

It has truly been a joy to watch the growth Lil Baby has had since his breakout in 2018. He had a run from 2019 to 2021 where he was one of the hottest rappers on the planet: Dropping his critically acclaimed sophomore project, “My Turn,” his Grammy nominated song about police brutality, “The Bigger Picture,” and being on what feels like everyone’s albums, including Drake and Kanye West’s. For a guy who only started rapping in 2017, he’s surely made his presence widely known in Hip-Hop. 

I was excited to hear the news that Lil Baby was dropping his new solo album “It’s Only Me,” after just dropping one project in 2021, his collaboration album “Voice of the Heroes” with Lil Durk. However, as the Oct. 14 release date crept closer, I was a little concerned for the Atlanta rapper.

His lead singles to his new album, “Heyy” and “Detox” were definitely not the strongest songs to lead towards the album. I say this because his songs like “Woah” and “Sum 2 Prove” were very excellent lead singles for 2020’s “My Turn,” but these new songs just weren’t it. I was scared the internet was gonna give Lil Baby the Roddy Ricch treatment when it comes to slander with this new album. However, after hearing it, Lil Baby’s legacy remains in tact.

Two years since his last solo project, Lil Baby comes with “It’s Only Me.” He leads things off with “Real Spill,” an intro track that I didn’t really like after a first listen, but has grown on me after multiple listens. Baby reminds people of his roots from the streets of Atlanta, a route that is talked about in his documentary, “Untrapped: The Story of Lil Baby.”

“I know I’m the motivation, they see me, they see a hero / Lot of n****s rich, but it hit different when you come from zero,” Baby raps.

The first three tracks have some real replay value, especially “Pop Out” with Nardo Wick. The beat switch on the song most definitely caught me by surprise, making me wonder if these were just two different songs put together, but it’s shown early on in this album that Lil Baby isn’t here to mess around.

“It’s Only Me” has its high moments, but the low moments pop up at awkward times. After the first three songs, we get “Heyy” and “California Breeze,” two songs that I personally feel could have been replaced with better songs in the vault. I had this feeling throughout the album.

There were songs that weren’t terrible per say, but as I listen to them I think to myself, “Baby, I know this ain’t all that you got now.” When listening to “My Turn,” I barely had those thoughts, because the tracks were consistently good. I just feel like Lil Baby could have definitely chosen better songs for his first solo project in two years, especially with all the leaks and snippets he has on the internet.

My other issue at hand is that this project is very long. It’s 23 tracks deep and just eight of them have features. And I get it, it’s his first solo project in a few years and he’s just trying to feed his fans. These days, projects with more than 15 songs can be unbearable to listen to at times, especially if it’s inconsistent. Maybe if there were more features, 23 songs wouldn’t be as bad as it looks.

Speaking of features, coming into this album, a concern for me was who was going to be on it when the track list released. Along with Nardo Wick, we see Future, Young Thug, Jeremih, Fridayy, EST Gee, Pooh Shiesty and Rylo Rodriguez joining Baby for the ride.

Now these aren’t bad features by any means, but for a guy like Lil Baby, who is a literal superstar in this game, these features are pretty underwhelming. I’m thinking of guys like Drake, Gunna, Travis Scott, and Lil Durk hopping on the project. Lil Baby has done a lot of features for high profile artists in the past few years, including J Cole, Drake, and Kanye West. So it’s surprising to see that these guys aren’t returning the favor for “It’s Only Me.”

For the most part, the features did what they needed to do, especially Pooh Shiesty and EST Gee on their respective songs. I just wish albums like this had more diversity when it comes to features, especially considering how many rappers and singers are out there.

Something I do appreciate about this album is the vulnerability Baby shows in his lyrics. For the most part, Baby stays away from the slower, melodic tunes, because his bread and butter is the trap anthems that you’ll hear in the club. But this album shows him spilling his heart out, similar to his past hits like “Emotionally Scarred,” “Close Friends,” and “Rich Off Pain.”

“I play as the glue in this sh*t and make sure we stick together/ Brodie lost his life and it inspired me to get my sh*t together/ Ain’t no sense in me putting time in if it don’t even matter,” the Atlanta native says on “Perfect Timing.” 

Lil Baby’s music will always be enjoyable for me. But one thing that this album has really made me realize is that his music can very much get repetitive at times. When you’re going 23 songs deep on a project, it doesn’t help his case either. While “It’s Only Me” has its good collection of songs that I will keep on repeat, it still does make me think that Lil Baby has some improvements to take care of as a rapper.

You look at rappers like Lil Durk, NBA Youngboy, Gunna and Young Thug and how they’re able to switch up their flows or voice to really separate their songs from one another. I feel like if Lil Baby took that step in making his sound different throughout his projects, he can grow even more as a rapper. Regardless, five years in the game and Lil Baby has accomplished so much in his career, and he till has time to make that step and really separate himself from other rappers.

I rate Lil Baby’s “It’s Only Me” a 6.5 out of 10. My favorite songs were “Everything,” “Shiest Talk” featuring Pooh Shiesty, and “Danger.”

This article was written by Rashad Alexander. He can be reached at [email protected].

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