Baby Kendri… I mean, Baby Keem turns heads with “The Melodic Blue” (This review includes the deluxe edition).
5. durag activity
Now that I understand Baby Keem’s swag, “durag activity” sounds so much better, to me.
“durag activity” sounds a little bizarre… Baby Keem sounds hungover, like he’s playing hop-scotch, and slightly bored in the song. As for featured guest Travis Scott, he actually puts up a fantastic verse! in it, he flows very well and trades in his robotic melodies for very gangsta rap deliveries. All in all, “durag activity” is one of those bangers that is just fun as hell to listen to.
4. no sense
Baby Keem is ready to put folks that do too much in their places in “no sense.”
I f**k with “no sense” a lot! The song features a very catchy hook, melodies that you won’t be able to get out of your head, lyrics that will make you want to buy a human fly swatter that you can use on clout-chasers, and a beat that will make you both frown and nod your head at the same time.
In the last couple of months, I’ve played “no sense” an estimated 300 times.
Y’all can enjoy all the hard-ass rap joints on this album, I’m going to blast “16” at a secluded beach in South Carolina.
However you want to slice it, “16” is a hit. I absolutely love the melodies that Baby Keem toys with on the song and enjoy how he tackles the topic of love and heartbreak bravely. More than anything, “16” is a fantastic attempt by Keem to showcase his versatility as an artist.
Keem saying that he idolized Kid Cudi growing up makes so much sense after listening to this song.
2. range brothers & family ties (tie)
Kendrick Lamar appears on two songs on this album: “range brothers” and “family ties” (Kendrick might f**k around and win cousin of the year).
Both Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem go ham, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and non-stale Subway bread in both “range brothers” and “family ties” (Holy s**t). Between the two songs, you get five beats, several different rap styles, impeccable white people accents, uber-competitive lyrics, and more. While I think that “family ties” is better than “range brothers,” at the end of the day, I think both songs need to be equally praised.
I have to point this out: Baby Keem’s singing at the beginning of “range brothers” is atrocious.
I came into this album wanting to hear Baby Keem spit ferocious bars but left it loving the songs in which he sings like the second-coming of Kid Cudi. “scars” is one of the few tracks on The Melodic Blue in which Keem sings fearlessly and pours his heart out generously.
Doesn’t “scars” just get your heart pumping? The song features a beat that will rattle your speakers, a vocal performance that is hella invigorating, and lyrics that will resonate with anyone that has questions about the people and things around them. In my opinion, this song is impossible to not feel.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. trademark usa (4/5)
2. first order of business (4/5)
3. lost souls (4/5)
4. vent (3/5)
5. gorgeous (3/5)
6. pink panties (3/5)
7. cocoa (3/5)
8. issues (4/5)
9. durag activity (4/5)
10. booman (4/5)
11. range brothers (4/5)
12. south africa (4/5)
13. 16 (5/5)
14. family ties (4/5)
15. scapegoats (4/5)
16. scars (5/5)
*17. lost souls (with Brent Faiyaz) (4/5)
*18. hooligan (3/5)
*19. no sense (5/5)
*indicates deluxe version
Baby Keem’s future is officially now (Welp, you up-and-coming rappers no longer have time to figure s**t out).
Baby Keem’s rise to the top should not surprise anyone. He dropped a myriad of projects from 2017 to 2019 but really didn’t blow up until a few months ago. Within that time, he’s featured on Kanye West’s DONDA album, got shout-outs from major artists, and created a few hits that have gotten tons of plays from me. More than anything, this The Melodic Blue album represents all of the hard work that the Cali rapper has put in these last couple of years.
The number one thing that stands out to me about The Melodic Blue is the energy that Keem raps and sings with on most of the album. From track to track, he shows zero fear in toying with bold melodies, high aggression levels, tricky flows, and everything in-between. You can tell that Keem wants his respect bad, and interestingly enough, his anxiousness translates to entertainingly erratic music.
So what is Baby Keem all about? A bunch of s**t. In The Melodic Blue, he comes across as everything from a heartbreaker to a hopeless romantic to an impulsive muthaf**ka. Though his confidence on the mic gives the impression that he could go toe to toe with any rapper in the game, I truly believe that his lyrics need a little bit of polishing. In other words, it’s really hard to understand what the f**k he’s talking about in a bunch of his verses. I also feel like, from time to time, he unsuccessfully uses the same tricks that Kendrick tries to use in his music. All in all, I wasn’t super impressed by Keem’s rapping (And I damn sure wasn’t impressed by his singing) on this project, but definitely know he has the tools to be great.
I think the beats on this album are fantastic. Each of them knocks harder than Jehovah’s Witnesses.
After listening to this debut Baby Keem album, I still have a lot of questions about him. I still don’t know what his strengths are as an artist, or what topic I would prefer to hear him tackle in his music. I also wonder if he has any interest in separating himself from Kendrick’s shadow because he sounded like the dude for 90% of this album. What I do know is that Keem is only 20 years old and has plenty of time to reach his amazing potential.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.