Arts, Music, Review

Lil Baby Plays it Safe with ‘Street Gossip’

When Lil Baby arrived on the scene less than two years ago, it was safe to assume that nobody, even himself, thought that his rise to prominence would be so meteoric. Baby is at that exciting point in which everything he’s apart of turns to gold, or platinum for that matter. This was especially true after his hit single “Yes Indeed” featuring Drake dominated the radio all summer and gave Lil Baby mass exposure to the mainstream.

Street Gossip is the Atlanta rapper’s third full-length offering of the year, with his first being Harder than Ever and his second being his full-length collaboration Drip Harder with fellow Atlantan and frequent collaborator Gunna. In the wake of the success of these projects, especially the collaboration album that dropped less than two months ago, excitement levels were high for anything that Baby produced.

Like all acts signed to the label Quality Control, which includes Migos and Lil Yachty, Baby is capitalizing on his previous successes by providing a continuous stream of music, rather than waiting a year or more between full-length projects to build up hype. This business model is perfect for the streaming era, as the more music an artist puts out, the more streams they will naturally acquire.

As expected, Street Gossip is certainly no form of artistic experimentation or deviation from the clever lyricism and melodic flow over crisp trap beats that got Baby his “up next” status in the first place. This album proves that Baby is at his best when sharing a track with another artist.

Young Thug lends a verse on “Section 8,” in which Baby explains his rise to fame, “turning a Section 8 apartment into a condo” that is now rife with girls and cash. As any betting man would have predicted, Gunna makes an appearance on Street Gossip as well, another highlight of the album. On this track, the power duo continues to do what it has done so well together in the last two years as it melodically floats over a Metro Boomin beat. With Gunna talking about “drippin’ sauce like I’m chili” and Baby rapping about how far he’s come financially in such a short period of time, it is more of the same from these two, and they should keep up what they’re doing with their chemistry at such a peak.

Baby also gets some interesting features from artists that he has not collaborated with before. Meek Mill appears on “Time” and 2 Chainz appears on “Anyway.” These tracks are interesting in the context of this album, considering that Baby has such few features with other artists, relative to how many he has with the aforementioned Gunna and Young Thug. Yet, sonically, they provide nothing new and, quite frankly, are forgettable.

The fact of the matter is that most of this album isn’t memorable, but showcases that Baby certainly works better with a select group of artists. This album will certainly not hurt Baby in the eyes of rap fans. The project yields the same sound we’ve heard from Baby, which, again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

With the commercial success of everything that he has done so far this year, it may be best for him to take a pause and put in more effort on his individual full-length projects. He has certainly laid a nice foundation to become a superstar with all of the mixtapes and albums that all have at least one or two standout tracks. But, given what he gave listeners with Street Gossip, it may be helpful for Baby to take a break and put out a full-length album of his best quality and creativity.

In the same way that Migos released an extended discography of mixtapes and albums before Culture and really amped up the quality on all fronts with that album, Baby should take the time to make an essential breakout album in his own right.

Featured Image by Quality Control Music

December 2, 2018