D.R.A.M. Proves His Staying Power on ‘Big Baby D.R.A.M.’
If there was an award for best album cover, D.R.A.M. would win hands down this year for his newly released studio debut, Big Baby D.R.A.M. The closeup image of the smiling artist holding what could be the cutest dog on the planet is enough to draw anyone in to the project but it’s D.R.A.M.’s mellifluous voice and memorable melodies that keep listeners tuned in all the way through -- maybe even a few times over.
D.R.A.M.’s biggest accomplishment thus far has been making it past the “Cha Cha guy” label and one-hit wonder status. The 2015 smash blew up faster than the singing-rapping talent probably could have ever imagined, therefore propelling him into the possibility of landing in the latter category forever. Luckily, the hits keep on coming and “Broccoli” featuring Lil Yachty has risen from the depths of SoundCloud into the peaks of the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately giving his songwriting abilities due respect.
"Broccoli" really holds together the entirety of Big Baby D.R.A.M., falling smack dab in the middle of the 14 tracks. It’s also sandwiched in between the album’s two other slow-burning hits: “Cash Machine” and “Cute.” This specific three-track block is the best part of the album for the obvious reason that they're all hits. “Cash Machine,” produced by Ricky Reed and Wallpaper, samples D.R.A.M.’s packed money counter with bouncy keys leading the way.
On the other hand, “Cute” is much more simplistic with D.R.A.M.’s cascading vocals coming out front and center. Usually, simple writing could hinder an album, but with D.R.A.M., less seems to be more and it works in his favor. “I choose you like a Pokémon/I choose you, you're selection one” is the most intricate the bars get on this track but since the Virginia native's voice is just so charmingly smooth, the sing-along factor is automatic.
The remaining 11 tracks take a leap a little further off the beaten path, which bodes well for D.R.A.M., who clearly has no issues with experimenting. Most artists who blow up off one song before their debut album drops usually tend to make the remaining tracks similar to what got their name in the spotlight. D.R.A.M. goes in the opposite direction here, which he definitely gets artistic props for. “Outta Sight / Dark Lavender Interlude” is a pulsating dance-infused rap cut produced by Chahayed (who crafts beats for a majority of the album’s songs). The track itself is basically a loop of the rapper dropping the line, “Out of sight, out of mind” to the point where the end of the song sounds like a sample from Seal.
On the Young Thug-assisted "Misunderstood," D.R.A.M. dips into rock territory while “Password” finds him articulating one of life’s most mundanely high-stakes problems -- a significant other scrolling through your phone. “Why did I leave my phone out? That's a rookie mistake/She love crackin' codes like a kid loves cake/Infiltration in 15 minutes, I wish my password wasn't my name” is a line most millennials will love.
Big Baby D.R.A.M. does have moments where tracks like “Sweet VA Breeze” and “WiFi" easily blend into each other, sounding a bit too similar. But those middling songs don't really hinder the overall replay value of the album. While D.R.A.M. makes the perfect music to catch a vibe and roll up some broccoli, Big Baby D.R.A.M. proves he's got soul -- the kind that lasts.
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