BIG BABY D.R.A.M. by D.R.A.M.
Genre: Bubblegum Rap
Favorite Tracks: “Cash Machine,” “Cute”
I would be content in life if I exuded an ounce of the self-confidence that Hampton, VA. native D.R.A.M. shares with his audience on his first full-length album, BIG BABY D.R.A.M. As if the heartwarming cover doesn’t already bring you enough joy, catchier tracks like “Cute” and “Cash Machine” emulate the jolly sound of the viral hit “Cha Cha,” which according to some Twitter beef, heavily influenced Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” Even Erykah Badu supported the Big Baby when he confronted the rumors about Drake, ultimately brushing them off while confirming their truth. He’s received some notable endorsements, which may help ease the Drake burn; everyone from Beyonce and Chance the Rapper, to Columbia Records music guru Rick Rubin is feeling his positivity. D.R.A.M. throws some shade, however, in the track “Misunderstood (featuring Young Thug),” with the lyrics, “N****s tried to appropriate me, I could not go for it,” balancing the bubbly, humorous songs on the album. The sing-along quality of his most commercially successful Top 40 hit, “Broccoli (featuring Lil Yachty),” proves that success is the sweetest revenge. D.R.A.M. suggests that he isn’t defined by his misunderstanding with Drake and can still go double platinum despite all of the drama.
D.R.A.M. (or Does Real Ass Music), Lil Yachty, and Lil Uzi Vert signify a new wave of unassuming rap that plays with different elements of R&B, funk, and soul on the selling points of positivity and having fun. Although D.R.A.M. sets himself apart from Yachty or Uzi with his refined references to pop culture as soulful ballads, the historical relevance of tracks like “Sweet VA Breeze” and “Outta Sight” ultimately get lost in between the childlike wonder of his most successful singles.
The soothing organ in “Sweet VA Breeze” is like a nostalgic ‘70s lullaby, revealing the gospel influence D.R.A.M. gets from his mother, who was one of the first people to encourage him to pursue singing. Although “Sweet VA Breeze” and “100%” are executed soulfully on their own, the fact that they’re squished on the bottom of the album as the last few tracks undermine the album’s cohesiveness. BIG BABY D.R.A.M. is a bit confusing when listened to from start to finish, and seems more like a collection of singles that nod to the artist’s potential.
Despite D.R.A.M.’s varying influences, he gives listeners a much needed ego boost in the midst of a dark political climate. D.R.A.M. is like a new age Biz Markie in that his self proclaimed “Trappy-Go-Lucky” sound proliferates friendship and communication, seen most effectively on the tracks “WiFi (featuring Erykah Badu),” “Change My #,” and “Password.” In contrast to his timely references, D.R.A.M.’s cheeky personality is what’s going to make him stick around. With adorably corny lyrics like, “Baby we can go out to the movies / I know that there’s something you want to see / Wondering about me, I am a foodie / So you know I’ll take you for a bite to eat,” D.R.A.M. rides the bubblegum rap wave to success.