Album Review: Baby Keem—The Melodic Blue

8.0
Album Review: Baby Keem—The Melodic Blue
Artist Name:
Baby Keem
Album Name:
the melodic blue
Release Type:
Album
Release Date:
Record Label: Label Location:
Los Angeles
Review Author: Review Date:
EM Review Rating:
8.0

Baby Keem has finally made his arrival to mainstream with the release of his new LP, The Melodic Blue. His journey up to now has been unorthodox but nothing short of being fun to watch. The rapper has been keeping a low profile and a musical track record that's been speaking for him. Since he first caught eyes with his 2019 single "Orange Soda", Keem has been grabbing production credits on projects from A-list artists like Beyonce and most recently, Kanye West. But a lot of the anticipation for a new Keem project stems from his signing to his cousin Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free's new label, pgLang. Everybody has become anxious to see what he has to offer as the label's first signee and first official release.

Clocking in at 54 minutes, ambitious soundscaping serves as the nucleus for what drives The Melodic Blue. What immediately shines on here is Keem displaying his vast musical color palette on the production side. A bulk of this project revolves around the rapper striking for new territory in terms of sound and voice tones, mostly midway through songs. The jet-fueled intro "trademark usa" is an early indication of how unpredictable the album is. What begins as a sedative Keem switches into multiple flows that punch harder every time the beat changes. 

The same can be said for the high-energy collaboration with pgLang general Kendrick Lamar on "range brothers". The two already showed off their effortless chemistry on the explosive album single "family ties". While the high energy levels are still present, the track ventures into both artists' odder musical personalities. Baby Keem starts off singing in an eerie alien voice before coming in rapping like he has too much to prove. The highlight comes after both rappers start trading bars and spontaneously cuts into the song's outro. Once the bass stomps in, the track enters a new dimension that features Kendrick hilariously waking listeners up. K Dot repeating "Top of the morning" and his ad-libs for Keem's closing verse is easily one of rap's most entertaining moments this year.

The intense electricity between the two returns later on the album's moshpit monster jam "vent". Keem and Kendrick come on with black Air Force energy and ready to beat the gritty electric guitar strings unconscious. This one is easily a track that will possess crowds to cause chaos at live shows the moment it rings off.

Another strong collaboration is the exotic album cut "cocoa" with rising Texas star Don Toliver. Everything about the untamable flute riffs is well-fitting for Keem and Don's stripper and drug-filled tales. The song contains a vacation vibe really brings the fun out of it.

On pensive tracks like "first order of business", the moods become more focused as he raps of his declaration to keep care of his close ones as makes it in the industry. The same goes for "scars", a confessional piece that leaves Keem asking Heavenly Father why he's left at a crossroads in life. The 808s and Heartbreak influence comes in heavy with the heart-filled lyrics and autotune atop tribal drums.

The standout of the project by far is the anthemic banger "booman". It's one of the few tracks that Baby Keem solely creates and he doesn't disappoint at all. Triumphant brass horns and heavy 808s play like an old western movie as the rapper sounds like a lone cowboy riding off into the sunset. It's a beautifully orchestrated track that's contagiously catchy and meant to be heard with your chest out. Baby Keem finds a pocket amongst the beat and background choir to proclaim his newfound blessings in impressive fashion. 

Yesterday, I was just broke, today I look sexy and blessed,

Every time I come back home, baby girl kiss on my neck

The album's only cons lie on the other side of the coin that makes it such a strong, replayable project. Where there is ambition is also room for a miss in execution to bring it together. The various voice patterns and sound themes are experimentally but they're not always complimenting each other as planned. Baby Keem is sometimes able to rebound from falling short in these moments with his lyrics, but they're still noticeable. 

While there's room for growth, the gamble on the album's versatility is worth it and pays off. The various influences he pulls from really showcases how multifaceted of an artist he is. Keem's The Melodic Blue is an impressive effort that proves his bag of tricks isn't running out anytime soon. The limitless musical colors on here sometimes bleed together but still create a captivating picture for this LP. The album also builds into the excitement of seeing his progression. After being able to see him deliver on this project, it'll be interesting to see where will take it next.

Connect more with Baby Keem: Twitter | Instagram | Spotify

Categories:
Album · Hip-Hop · Main Stage · Rap · Reviews

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