DABABY – KIRK REVIEW

Bitch it’s Dababy, what you heard about him? If you have not heard of Jonathan Kirk of Charlotte, North Carolina by now, you must be living under a rock. From his album Baby on Baby going number one and Platinum earlier this year to him landing on the XXL Freshman List, Dababy has been having a really huge year. It seems like every new big rap album you hear has a Dababy feature on it. Wanting to make sure people remember his name, Dababy has decided to strike while the iron is hot, having dropped his second full-length album of the year with Kirk. Dababy has stated that we are supposed to see a different side to his artistry on this album, and I have to say, he was right. Although the rapping style and flows are rapid-fire and intense and in your face(as you would expect from Dababy), a lot of the instrumentals are pretty different from anything he has made in the past. The production on this album is so fresh and ultimately great. The album never has a chance of getting stale because of how great and fun the production is. Dababy also selected multiple excellent features for this record that keep it flowing and sound really good when collaborating with him. Kirk is a statement that Dababy knows who he is as an artist and that he is not going anywhere; Jonathan Kirk is here to stay.

If I love you, then I need ya. I fuck with you like Martin fuck with Gina. We family like we’re Venus and Serena. Let’s go get married like we Thankgod and Kenisha…

Kirk gets off to a hot and fun start with the only single that was released off of this album, the pop-trap banger ‘Intro.’ One of the things that makes this track really interesting is the fact that it is his most personal and introspective song to date. ‘Intro’ is about Dababy going Platinum on the exact same day that his dad died. Obviously, something like this would affect anyone on a huge level; how can you experience such a high high and such a low low at the same time? The flow and instrumental of this song actually remind me of Drake’s ‘Nice For What?’ The song is way harder than anything Drake would make, but it definitely does have a similar flow ‘Intro’ is a super strong start to his record. ‘Off the RIP’ plunges us right into Dababy’s world, where he knows he is king. One thing I love about this song is how self-aware Dababy is on it. In the first line Dababy references the fact that he never waits for the beat to drop while he is not waiting for the beat to drop. This song is very heavy and in your face and fast; if you are into speed rapping witty lyricism, this is the one for you. After this, we get into what is one of the hardest bangers on the record, ‘Bop,’ which is produced by Jetson Made. This track almost feels like a sequel to this duo’s other huge banger, ‘Suge.’ This track is so dirty and grimey and fun; it is really the epitome of what makes Dababy’s music so fun. I guarantee this track will be one of the biggest hits off of this record. Following ‘Bop,’ we get another Jetson Made produced joint. ‘Vibez’ for some reason reminds me so much of another Jetson Made produced track that came out this year which I love, Rico Nasty’s ‘Fashion Week.’ This track is very melodic and chill; it shows that Dababy can slow it down a bit. With most of his music being so hard and intense, ‘Vibez’ is a solid track that switches it up.

They prolly tell you I went pop. Until a n****a play with me and he gets popped. I’m on front row at BET without my Glock. I’m about to beat a n****a up like I’m The Rock.

The middle of this album is so god damn strong; I could see the next four or five songs being legitimate trap radio hits. I am curious to see which of these tracks stick with the general trap audience. The first of these tracks in the Kevin Gates assisted ‘Pop Star.’ Kevin Gates just dropped a great trap album of his own that I will be reviewing, so stay tuned for that one. This song has that super poppy and melodic trap sound that Jeezy and T.I. made so popular; this track reminds me a lot of songs like Jeezy’s ‘My President’ or TIP’s ‘Live Your Life.’ Dababy and Kevin Gates both have such great voices for trap music(they may honestly have the best sounding voices out of any mainstream rappers for trap), and they make this song sound hard as hell even though the melody is a little poppy. I would love to see Dababy go down this road more and make more old school melodic trap like this because it fits his voice and flow so well. The next track, ‘Gospel,’ is a true church trap anthem, with a Baptist Gospel melody that will make everyone want to dance. This jam features Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane, and YK Osiris, and each of these artists provides very solid and necessary; This instrumental sounds like something Chance would use on one of his own albums, so obviously he sounds very natural. YK Osiris also sound very natural on this song, and his voice just sounds very nice on this melody. Also, as I have stated before, I love Gucci Mane on melodic songs like this, and he sounds great as well. Dababy’s relentless energy provides a nice juxtaposition with all of the other artists on this track, which makes it flow so well. The next song, ‘iPhone,’ features Nicki Minaj, and I think this track is a sleeper that will end up being huge at the end of the year or even early next year. Eventually, this track will make it to pop radio and become huge because it just has that perfect radio pop-trap vibe to it. I love how hard the bass bumps on this song; it will be a very fun club trap. Nicki’s usually strange energy and funny bars sound really great on this song. I definitely think if Nicki does not actually retire, she should make more music with Dababy in the future, because they sound very clean together. ‘Toes,’ which features Lil Baby and Moneybagg Yo, is so fucking rigid bro; it is probably my favorite song on the whole album. Just check out the vibe first few lines of the song: My heart so cold I think I’m done with ice (Uh, brr). Said if I leave her, she gon’ die. Well, bitch, you done with life… This track is very relentless and in your face. Both of the features keep up with Dababy’s energy so well; this is some of the grittiest rapping that I have heard from Lil Baby and I really dig it. The instrumental on this song, which is provided by Kenny Beats, goes so god damn hard. Kenny is becoming one of the best producers in the game. It has an old school country western whistled melody, and the bass in this song just bumps dude. This is true Dirty South Yeehaw cowboy trap music, and I am so here for it.

‘Really,’ which features frequent Dababy collaborator and label mate Stunna4Vegas, is a nice switch up after the intensity of the last track. It is a little faster paced and more melodic; it feels like something that Drake would make. I love the chemistry that Dababy and his cohort have on this joint. They sound very natural and smooth on the same track, and it would be cool to hear a whole project from them. ‘Prolly Heard’ brings us back to the in your face intensity of Dababy’s world. This song is hard and fast and unapologetically trap. On its own, it is a pretty dope trap song, but in my opinion on this record, it sort of feels like it is filler. Speaking of hard as hell trap music, ‘Raw Shit,’ which features the Migos, might be the hardest and most raw song on this record. I really love this collaboration and I think it has been a long time coming; Dababy and the Migos just sound so natural on this track together. As always, the Takeoff verse is legendary. I mean this man rhymes the words Actavis and activist on this track. That man is just incredible. The next track, ‘There He Go,’ almost feels like a Three 6 Mafia song. This track has a super bass-heavy trap beat with a melody that sounds like it could be in a horror movie. The instrumental is actually kind of intimidating. Ironically, Dababy is not as loud or as fast as he usually is on this song. The low key nature of his rapping style on this one kind of add to the scariness of the track. It sounds like the dude is about to blow. Just like the first song on the album, the last song is a little calmer and more introspective. On ‘XXL,’ Dababy seems to be addressing all of his perceived shortcomings, whether they come from himself or the media. One thing I have always loved about Dababy is how self-aware he is. This is a really nice and clean way to end this record. After the intensity of the album and the plethora of instrumental styles, a song like this is a nice way to cap off this record. ‘XXL’ may not be the kind of party trap song that will play on the radio or go viral, but to me, it is one of the best songs on this record.

Now, unfortunately, although I do enjoy it, I would not say that Kirk is going to have the cultural significance and impact as Tha Carter III, as Dababy has suggested. One thing that makes Wayne’s masterpiece stand out so much is how diverse all of the music is on that record; although Dababy does diversify his sound with a lot of different types on instrumentals than he is used to, I think that he can push his boundaries even more. It is obvious that the guy is super damn talented, and I think it would be cool to see him go out of his comfort zone a little more when it comes to his rapping style. That being said, Kirk is a really good trap album that highlights everything about Dababy that makes him special. If you are a big fan of his past work, you will definitely love this record. Kirk is another example of how good and talented Dababy is, and it is an assertion that he knows exactly who he is and that he is here to stay.

7.5/10

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