Your Choice Way

Baby Keem - The Melodic Blue Music Album Reviews

Baby Keem - The Melodic Blue Music Album Reviews
On his expansive debut studio album, the once enigmatic rapper expands his fascination with trap and melody to feature-length with mixed results.

Up until recently, Baby Keem chose to be an enigma. His voice on the mic is distinctive, a high-pitched whine well-suited to jokes and boasts, but Hykeem Carter, the man behind the persona, often receded from view. Personal details in his music and interviews were scarce, and Keem outright hid his face until he began promoting his 2018 project, The Sound of Bad Habit. Even after revealing himself, he remained tight-lipped, but that didn’t stop eagle-eyed fans from noticing his name in the songwriting and producer credits of Top Dawg Entertainment albums like the 2018 Disney collab Black Panther The Album and Jay Rock’s Redemption. Rumors swirled that Keem was actually Kendrick Lamar’s cousin and merely benefitted from rap nepotism, but as Keem’s popularity and mystique grew on the heels of his 2019 breakout project Die For My Bitch, he kept his distance and mostly let his boisterous music speak for itself.

Nepotism or not, the rollout (or, according to former TDE president Dave Free, the “well-executed plan”) for Keem’s debut studio album The Melodic Blue telegraphed a more personal, or at least less secretive, direction for him. He publicly embraced his relationship with Lamar, signing with Lamar and Dave Free’s pgLang collective and releasing the tag-team track “family ties.” The album’s trailer is soundtracked by “scapegoats,” a brief but somber reflection on family that hits a bit closer to home (“Flowers on my uncle’s tomb, thousands to my auntie’s, too/I’m used to taking backstreets, last week was nothing new”) before drawing the curtain back again. While The Melodic Blue is indeed flecked with more intimate writing than usual, it isn’t exactly a confessional. Instead, Keem uses the opportunity to expand his well-established fascination with trap and melody to feature-length—with mixed results.

On earlier projects, Keem showed a skill for hopping between rapping and singing, sometimes within the same song. Whether he was screaming “Baby Keem just humbled a model!” on “STATS” or cooing about his indifference toward anyone’s opinions on “Opinions,” it felt like a natural progression, the same artist coming with a different approach. Some of that synergy remains on The Melodic Blue, and the highs are exhilarating. His opening verse on “family ties” is easily among the best of his career. Keem triumphantly skips over horns and thudding 808s with a handful of flows and reminisces on childhood Popeyes trips while puffing out his chest (“It’s a red dot, don’t get on the wrong red-eye”). Both “pink panties” and “first order of business” see Keem switching effortlessly between melody and bars about paying for lace fronts and thanking his mother for her love and support. When he sticks to what initially made Two Phone Baby Keem a success, it’s easy to understand the initial hype.

The core of what made Keem so appealing when no one knew what he looked like exists in bits and pieces here, but The Melodic Blue falls apart when he starts experimenting. He aims for pop and R&B more often, sometimes landing on something fun and propulsive (“cocoa”) and other times sounding jarringly indistinct. The coos of “issues” and “16” sound like leftover reference tracks from Drake’s Certified Lover Boy sessions, while “range brothers” is a stab at Travis Scott-style bombast—complete with multiple beat switches and glossy mixing. The latter starts out decently but dissolves into a memeable mess by the time Keem and Lamar are trading quotes in funny accents like children at a family cookout.

Keem’s collaborations with Lamar are among the album’s most perplexing moments. The chemistry in their hot-potato exchange at the end of “family ties” is undeniable, offsetting Lamar’s earlier choice to employ a flow and vocal tone that sounds like Hulk Hogan on helium. Compare that to the end of “range brothers,” where both Keem and Lamar trade short, breathy exchanges and goofy adlibs over a thumping beat. (I can’t decide if “top o’ the mornin’” or “Rollie gang, Rollie gang, Rollie gang” is more ridiculous.) The duo is clearly having fun, with Lamar, in particular, relishing rapping within looser, concept-free parameters, but that energy can’t always save these show-stopping moments from looking incredibly silly. Neither is as inexplicable as Keem’s hard left turn into acoustic emo-rock on “MY EX,” but it’s hard to tell if they’re joking or not, which isn’t always a good thing.

It’s strange because Baby Keem has always had a strong sense of identity. Whether he’s claiming to be 50 Cent or clowning on his lover’s ex, it’s easy to tell when you’re listening to a Baby Keem song. Much of The Melodic Blue is devoted to trying on other artist’s sounds when it would have benefited from more of Keem refining what already worked about his. An album this theatrical and expansive suggests Keem is aiming for the next level. He doesn’t have to fully open his mind and heart to be a great artist, but he does need to retain his own voice.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Baby Keem - The Melodic Blue Music Album Reviews Baby Keem - The Melodic Blue Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 Rating: 5

0 comments:

Post a Comment