D.R.A.M.,‘Big Baby D.R.A.M.’ – Album Review


D.R.A.M., Big Baby D.R.A.M. © Atlantic

★★★½

Even though D.R.A.M.’s debut album Big Baby D.R.A.M. is “all over the place,” it’s intriguing and enjoyable through and through.

Rap newcomer D.R.A.M. drops his debut album Big Baby D.R.A.M after earning a top 10 hit with Broccoli.” The weed anthem was just too catchy for radio to ignore, elevating his profile.  Infectious describes his debut album.  So does the word bizarre.  Even though Big Baby D.R.A.M. is “all over the place,” it’s intriguing and enjoyable through and through.

From the jump it’s clear that Big Baby D.R.A.M. is going to be a trip.  Lush, synth-heavy intro “Get It Myself” finds D.R.A.M. singing, embracing his R&B persona.  This persona continues throughout the course of the album, something of a bonus for those merely expecting rhymes.

“Misunderstood”

First full-length joint “Misunderstood” goes hard… in an R&B sort of way.  The production work is epic, while D.R.A.M. passionately pop raps the first verse.  Similarly, guest MC Young Thug is drenched in auto tune, singing.  Some of his rhymes are indecipherable.  The final verse, rapped by D.R.A.M. remains in the pop-rap idiom, but is slightly clearer and more pointed.

Two-part juggernaut “In A Minute / In House” is drenched in sex.  On “In A Minute,” the MC expresses his urges. He asserts:

“In a minute, I’ll give your ass a little slap / in a minute, cause I know you like it like that.” 

“In House” is slower, more enigmatic in quality. The vibe remains sexually driven, but adds drugs to the mix:

“Weed, got that in the house / lean, got that in the house.”

“Monticello Ave”

“Monticello Ave” strips vocal effects and pitch in favor of straight rhymes… during the first verse.  The results are equally compelling –a sound change of pace.  Afterward, he can’t resist, once more singing the hook and the remainder of the song.  All in all, a strong performance and selection.

Erykah Badu joins in on “WiFi.” While Wi-Fi is referenced, the key lyric clarifies where D.R.A.M.’s mind is at:

“Do your boyfriend pay your bill for you / to do this Netflix and chill with me?”

“WiFi” is odd like much of the album, but it works.  Two idiosyncratic personalities make for a thrilling duet.

“Cash Machine” and “Broccoli” 

 

Flex track Cash Machine” has the same infectious vibe that made “Broccoli” successful. Sometimes a similar blueprint yields disappointment. In this case, he has another banger on his hands.  The production work is exceptional and the rhymes potent.  “Broccoli” is the better track, but “Cash Machine” isn’t far behind.

Speaking of “Broccoli,” it follows in all its glory and good vibes. It’s exceptionally well produced, superbly performed by both D.R.A.M. and Lil Yachty, and simply catchy AF. The weed anthem gets stuck in the head from the first listen.

“Ain’t no tellin what I’m finna be on / I’m beyond all that f*ck shit…

Continuing to pack punches, “Cute” keeps the momentum going. It’s corny, but irresistible.  The hook keeps it simple, backed by a hard beat:

“I think you’re cute, I think you’re cute / oh yes I do, I think you’re cute.”

Beyond the hook and overall sound, the best moment of “Cute” comes during the bridge:

“Girl we need to go out on a date / we really do a little something / if it’s cool I’ll pick you up at 8 / we can really do a little something / we can really do a little something baby / looking at this pretty face, it drives me crazy.”

“Outta Sight / Dark Lavender Interlude”

Big Baby D.R.A.M. continues to roll on with solid moments.  “Outta Sight / Dark Lavender Interlude” give the MC another two-part track, common in today’s music.  The synth-driven “Outta Sight” is danceable – firmly planted in the urban contemporary vein.  “Dark Lavender Interlude” contrasts, slackening the pace, sounding a bit buzzed.

“Change My #” is lush, continuing to find D.R.A.M. embracing R&B.  After spending the majority of the song singing, he hits hard with rhymes.  It doesn’t resonate as much as the crème de crème (led by “Broccoli”), but remains potent enough.

The same can be said of “Password,” which is brief, but essentially as entertaining as everything else. “100%” and “Sweet Va Breeze” are both sound without propelling the effort to soaring new heights. The brief “Workaholic” gives the effort more oomph, something lacking towards the end of the LP.

Final Thoughts 

Overall, Big Baby D.R.A.M. is an entertaining, well-rounded album.  Depth is by no means the M.O., but it doesn’t need to be.  The MC has a terrific personality and is equally talented as a rapper and vocalist.  While the 52-minute duration is respectable, this album could’ve been trimmed and been even more effective.  All in all, this is a great debut. Rap fans may be somewhat disappointed that it is dominated by singing.

Gems: “Misunderstood” (ft. Young Thug), “WiFi” (ft. Erykah Badu), “Cash Machine,” “Broccoli” (ft. Lil Yachty) & “Cute” 

D.R.A.M. • Big Baby D.R.A.M. • EMPIRE/Atlantic • Release: 10.21.16 
Photo Credit: EMPIRE/Atlantic
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