D.R.A.M has every reason to be happy. His underground sensation “Cha Cha” was hot enough for Drake to cop and turn into his biggest hit yet – “Hotline Bling” – while D.R.A.M.’s singles released since have all been met with rousing acclaim. “Broccoli” was the song of the summer for those who were doing it right, while “Cash Machine” and “Cute” found D.R.A.M. going gung ho with his aw shucks aesthetic. And after spending time with Big Baby D.R.A.M. – released 10/21 – it’s apparent the demeanor he’s so effectively translated to music isn’t capable of wearing thin, at least not yet. Big Baby is the most colorful rap release this side of Coloring Book, an album so unabashedly joyful it’s remarkable it never smothers with its charm.
“Get It Myself” kicks things off, and isn’t too far removed from the adult contemporary self-help songs in terms of lyrics. It’s all about self-determination and resiliency, and while he’s not the first rapper to declare he’s got his on his own, he does so without an ounce of bitterness. It’s a Declaration of Independence, no strings attached to those who got in his way. Big Baby peaks at the show-stopping Erykah Badu duet “WiFi,” a song that maximizes the things that make D.R.A.M. so essential. It’s both sincere and comical – “Do you have wifi,” he croons, while Badu belts “I got wifi” to begin her verse. “No string attached / we still connected,” the two later sing, giving the song a surprising depth. But as optimistic as the music suggests D.R.A.M. to be, he supplies enough urgency so that the songs don’t feel too saccharine. Songs such as the Young Thug-assisted “Misunderstood” and the following “In a Minute” both contain a bite we never got from “Cash Machine,” “Broccoli” or “Cute.” Big Baby D.R.A.M. succeeds largely thanks to D.R.A.M.’s charming presence, his identifable persona giving listeners someone to root for. “I had to tell myself to go and get it myself,” he sings as his album begins. And after getting his, D.R.A.M. spends the rest of Big Baby D.R.A.M. giving back.