In Da Baby’s Billboard charting single “ BOP” he asks rhetorically “Ayy, when you gon’ switch the flow?” and finishes off with a sturdy remark “I thought you’d never ask”.
Dababy- standing at the height of 5 foot 7- came in like the giant of mainstream music early 2019. After dropping the hit single “Suge” and it made its way to number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 he really became the talk of hip-hop music nationwide. He was releasing music back to back, and in a 13-month span he had released three albums. As his stardom was on the continuous uprise, fans and listeners began to question his ability to switch his flow up. The songs weren’t titled this but they began to sound like Bop 1, Bop 2, and Bop 3. It got to a point you could see a video snippet of him previewing a new song, and already know what it would sound like. Thats mainly because of the production of his music. The thumping beat of a drum sound and his deep voice with fast words. This even became a running joke for social media. Just for the heck of it, I typed in two words in the twitter search bar: Da baby’s Songs, over fifty percent of all the results said “the same.” I do mean that as in over half out of hundreds of the results said the same thing , in 280 characters or less, that his songs sound the same.
I would recommend his EP, My Brothers Keeper released back in 2020, to challenge that statement. While this body of work does channel sadness, it pushes Da Baby to new limits with his sound giving a bit of joy to his listeners that had been yearning for something different. The writing, the flow, and the overall piece are almost a complete opposite to his former pieces of work. Both making it clear that it is Da Baby, but meeting an intersection and going two different ways depicts a different sound of music.
Da Baby’s release of his album entitled KIRK, his last name -”last name, you know it holds big weight”- embraced the cover of him and his father who had just passed 6 months before this album released in 2019.
With this we’ve had a chance to experience how Da Baby shares his grief in music with this album but with the project he released in response to his brother’s death, it just was not the same.
“I found out my pops passed the same day my song went number one.”
Da Baby speaks of not having a chance to grieve, and then finding out that his Single “Suge” was at the top of the charts while he simultaneously got the call that his dad had passed away. In this body of work to memorialize his father and really honed on the “now”. In comparison with the EP for his brother, it told us a story, it shared grief, we felt pain. It took us down memory lane of him and his brother’s life, something he couldn’t do with the former project on the subject of his dad.
“When it happened, I didn’t really have time to grieve. I was getting on the bus to start the tour, and the very next day I found out he had passed. So I went straight from seeing him at the damn mortuary to the show — not knowing what the fuck happened, because it wasn’t like he was sick that I knew of.”
In the midst of two tragic incidents, he was able to share his pain into an enjoyable body of work.
As both of these projects immortalized his loved ones, this body of work was different. Just after his fathers death Dababy’s brother died of a self inflicted gunshot and that’s when Da Baby released “My Brothers Keeper”.
My brother’s keeper was that different sound that listeners and fans had been hoping for throughout his whole discography.
This is not that invasive all in your face sound he usually goes for as he raps hard on the beat as soon as it comes in. This is a different side of him. The EP was melodic and soothing.
The term my brother’s keeper comes from the story of Cain and Abel, in the Bible in Genesis 4:1–16. Basically, it goes like this: Da Baby labeled himself as such he was responsible for his brother’s life. And he also felt that he was responsible for his brother’s death. This is another reason why this grief piece was so much more powerful than his first piece to his father. He created the EP for his brother out of immortality, to show praise and to somehow let him live on forever.
The EP consisted of 7 songs placed in a strategic order that almost made it seem like we grew up with him and his brother as each song went along.
The opening song is entitled Brothers Keeper, a synopsis of the whole EP: him honoring and showing respect to his brother. The emotional lyrics and the guitar plucking- like beat comes together in startling harmony to almost make you think it’s going to be Da Baby’s usual hardcore, in your face flow, but its not that. It’s comforting and sends you on a journey of their brotherhood.
Dababy who has called himself : “The prettiest chocolate in — a alive” on several occasions never fails to remind us of his cockiness. As he takes us through this story and song two comes in “ 8 figures” it snaps out of the heavy pain that he was pouring out in “ Brothers Keeper” to remind us, yes he has money and yes he can get the girls. He delivers the line “Its Kirk”, like a motto, or a way of life.
Throughout the course of the album, Dababy continuously asks “ how’d you mean to do this, how could he do this..” which is often a question asked by someone who has personally known someone to induce self harm.
Next on the track list, is Shanyah.This song is down the track list but if this was a book it would definitely serve as the acknowledgement page way in the beginning. Dababy is singing more than rapping on this track. The singing is almost painful to hear. Not in a way that it’s horrible, but in a way that again, you feel that pain he is trying to exude from his words. This song stands as a place holder of acknowledgement before he reminds us about him again. Which seems like this underlying focus of him focusing back on himself could’ve been a struggle within their relationship.
“Though you were the oldest so you got it worse/You were the oldest so you got it first,” DaBaby raps. “I was the baby so I got it easy …”
He even acknowledges that he knows the older brother had it harder and that he grew up having it easy and now here he was basically a superstar, number one on the charts. The EP continues with a different, but pleasant sound that wasn’t usual for Da Baby. he continues to grieve for his brother, remind us of who Da Baby is, and also shares a tweet surrounding mental illness like a campaign kickoff for the EP.
If you can’t get over depression GET HELP, you see a loved one struggling to get them help, they refuse the help, MAKE ’em get treated anyway.
You suffer from PTSD, take that shit serious & get help!
I’m bouta get a therapist myself! #LongLiveG🖤🕊
— DaBaby (@DaBabyDaBaby) November 6, 2020
While the EP is very somber, he delivers this body of work successfully in a way that he shows his pain, he shares a message, all while remaining his essence as an artist.