Los Angeles-based rapper Baby Keem made it clear that he deserves to be in the conversation for best rapper of the year since the release of his debut studio album, “The Melodic Blue.”
Baby Keem isn’t brand new to the music scene. His 2019 song, “ORANGE SODA,” brought his first taste of virality and has more than 2 million plays on Spotify. Mostly known for making faster-tempo songs such as “STATS,” “MOSHPIT,” and the self-titled “BABY KEEM,” Keem expands his sound in “The Melodic Blue.”
The album was preceded by singles “hooligan,” “no sense,” “durag activity” and “family ties,” with the latter featuring 13-time Grammy Award winner Kendrick Lamar. Lamar, Keem’s cousin, also owns pgLang, the record label behind “The Melodic Blue.”
Some critics have suggested that nepotism is behind the emergence of Baby Keem’s stardom, but he ignored the critics and dropped one of the most popular singles of this year. “Family ties” has already accrued 71 million streams almost two months after it was released, with thanks to TikTok virality.
While “family ties” shares the upbeat sound Baby Keem has used so well, the complex instrumental and beat-switch are indictive of “The Melodic Blue’s” exploration of sound. From the first track, “trademark usa,” it is clear that “The Melodic Blue” is a new direction for Baby Keem. The samples in “pink panties” and “scapegoat” show a growth in beat production, which Keem was less involved in with his previous projects.
Baby Keem still keeps bangers as a corner piece of this project, but he also experiments with slower and more intimate selections. “Issues,” “south africa” and “gorgeous” all feature a new sound. Baby Keem gives the listener a new view into his personal life; the line, “I can’t go ghost, I face demons/Don’t let it defeat you, all in my hands/I know it’s hard for you to come out that trance/I look myself in the mirror when I can,” from “issues” shows a more intimate view of Baby Keem beyond his stage persona.
“The Melodic Blue” takes the audience for a ride unlike any other Baby Keem project. He supplies his iconic hard-hitting songs, but adds a new experience with his slow, introspective rap. Baby Keem will be performing in Boston on November 21 at the Paradise Rock Club.