D.R.A.M. just dropped an album. It has an odd cover. Ok, glad we got that out of the way. I’ve heard all the singles and I’ve enjoyed them all. I’ll be honest, I had no idea a full length was in the works. I don’t follow him on any social media platform; thank god for Apple Music. *Apple Music doesn’t have a sharing button, at least one I can figure out, so all I could provide was a Spotify player.
In 2014 he released Cha Cha which didn’t draw much attention until 2015. It was, arguably, the biggest SoundCloud viral hit of 2015. It went 2x Platinum just based off sharing platforms. It was also featured on his indie album #1EPIC EP, which also did very well. About 7 months later he dropped his mixtape Gahdamn via Atlantic records. I didn’t get a chance to listen to it, but I know it also drew some buzz.
After doing some research I found out that DRAM announced his debut album titled Big Baby DRAM in early October. He shared the cover and it wasn’t received very well (how could it.)
I’ve never done a initial thought album review. I’ve read DJ BOOTH’s religiously (shout out to Yoh) and decided to try my hand at it. I wrote these words while I listened to them for the first time. I played it all the way through and wrote it as a stream of consciousness (hence the titled of this post.)
1. Get It Myself
Finally an intro I can relate to. There hasn’t been many of these in the newer hip hop releases. Not sure who the producer is on this one, (only did a Wiki check…call me lazy) but it is a perfect meld of all the genres DRAM has continued to prove he can just beast on. There’s a bit of a gospel sound on here. I love the message; it’s a great way to start an album.
I had to tell myself I had to go get it myself
In DRAM’s career he has had to “go get it himself,” as he has constantly worked to get his name out there. After Cha Cha he pushed an impressive hit with Lil Yachty, but most of his popular singles were just him on the mic.
2. Misunderstood (feat. Young Thug)
Piano keys. Lots of them. Sounds like the beginning of something beautiful. DRAM comes in and it sounds epic. Just saw Young Thug is featured on this. Holy shit. Now some guitars are coming in, some actual live bass. This is more rock than hip hop. So many elements production wise. DRAM continues to distort his voice. Thug comes in and matches DRAM. I’ve never heard Thug on some heavy rock shit, but it sounds amazing. Of course he is speaking on girls calling him. No way is he picking up, as usual. These two are the best at using their voice as instruments. It’s a bit of a stream of conscious track, a little weird. The beat sometimes overpowers their vocals, but it sounds good. As for the lyrical content; it’s pretty good. It tells the story of DRAM and the beginnings of his career and the fact that people have “misunderstood” him.
3. In a Minute/In House
In a Minute
we aint x and o in a minute. you said you are celibate.
First 15 seconds and I am amazed. No one is saying shit like this. Its creative…and all he is speaking on is having intense sex with a girl. It’s a little vulgar, I’ll have to admit. Once again DRAM uses his vocals to his advantage. I’m starting to hear how similar he sounds to Young Thug on these tracks, but he isn’t biting. The first part “In a Minute” is almost over and “In House” is coming up next. I wonder what direction it’ll go in.
Damn this sounds like some Drizzy Take Care shit. Of course Drake can’t hit the high notes like that. In House is more of a slow jam; something you can actually have sex to unlike In a Minute. Much less vulgar, more into the emotional side of why he wants to be with this girl. It sounds like he actually cares about her, which is very different from the first part of the song. A lot of two part songs bore me, but this one is different. Although In House is a little repetitive, I enjoyed how he has showed a different side of himself.
4. Monticello Ave.
DRAM is straight up rapping on this. Damn, he can do it all. He has a problem with too many girls trying to get with him at shows. What a travesty. It does show his softer side; the problems he has in this relationship where they are definitely “more than friends.” I definitely understand how tempting it would be to cheat if you and your girl at home aren’t doing well. The middle gets a little boring; that high note has nothing on In a Minute. The chorus is delicious though, very soothing and serene.
5. Wifi (feat. Erykah Badu)
Damn he got Erykah on the album. I’m writing this as Monticello is ending and I’m tempted to skip just to hear how this sounds. 30 seconds left…yeah I’m gonna skip. I would like to note, on Apple Music, this is the only track that is labeled as R&B/Soul. I hate to label this song as a “slow jam” like In House. It sounds more heavenly. The fact that he can talk about wifi and make it sound good is amazing. Oh shit Erykah…holy fuck. Not only does she sound miles above any vocalist currently making tracks, the lyrics are so beautiful. It’s a bit of a duet between DRAM and Badu. It’s kinda haunting. They do extremely well together. “No strings attached, still connected” is poetic, definitely the best line of the track.
6. Cash Machine
I heard Cash Machine when it was released as a single and I fell in love with it right away. This was added to all of my favorite playlists. I liked this one more than Broccoli if you can believe it. WAAAY more than Cute. Yes, its 100% about being rich and bashing women who don’t have money, but come on. Listen. Tell me you aren’t hooked. The producer, Ricky Reed, killed it. He knows how to craft a hit.
7. Broccoli (feat. Lil Yachty)
The famous hit with Lil Yachty. This shit blew up in the summer. When the video was released it blew up even more. This is Yachty at his best. Combine that with the simple whistle and piano riff beat and you’ve got a hit. Oh and DRAM’s chorus does no harm. The song structure was brilliant. A Yachty verse, the two part chorus, then DRAM’s rapping/singing. The lyrics are silly. But these two are exactly that, so it works well.
This was my least favorite single. Let me be clear: this is still a dope track. I just realized I loved all the promo tracks put out before the album. How was I not hype for this album? It slipped by me I guess. Cute is sung in a different pitch than we are used to with DRAM. It reminds me of early 2000’s r&b, specifically Omarion + Marques Houston (which, in my opinion, were the golden years of the genre.)
9. Outta Sight/Dark Lavender
Another double song. I don’t know if I like this. Two of them in one album? It’s a little much. As I mentioned before, sometimes evne one of these is too much. I’m not feeling this one. The beat is pretty disco like which I enjoy, but DRAM sounds uninspired and pretty emotionless. This shit is almost 6 minutes. The drop is pretty nice at around the 1:20 mark, but it’s still a bit lifeless. I don’t see how this is an interlude when its the longest track on the album. The phone call with whomever that girl is is a bit pointless.
10. Change My #
Ok, so I’n realizing most of these songs have depth except the singles. That’s probably not on purpose, huh? This song doesn’t do anything for me. He’s basically just singing about nothing. Nothing sounds important. It doesn’t add much to the story. Changing your number because a girl is bothering you, or for whatever reason is pretty intense. But he doesn’t sound sincere, at least in my opinion. It’s another slow tempo r&b track. A lot of songs on the album sound like this.
Hmm…I wonder what this one will be about. I think I have an idea. The “cell phone suspicion” lyric just came in. Yup, I was right. If you listen to BBD in order and in full there’s no way you won’t know what will be about. Most people in relationships can relate to this, but damn this is boring. Do we really need a whole song on this? I guess he’s speaking on trust, but this is not the way to do it. Good thing it’s short. He does say “It ain’t worth it if I got you” which adds some depth. The beat hits hard at the end, which I appreciate.
“I think I might get dirt on my jeans for you” Hmm…I like this. Reminds me of the line in In a Minute “we aint x and o in a minute. you said you are celibate.” This sounds great. He’s reassuring his girl that no one will touch his love for her. This seems to be a bit of a story. He’s finally realizing how much his girl holds him down. I loved the background vocals. It’s a bit of a vibrating track, but there is tons of hard hitting elements.
13. Sweet VA Breeze
Another gospel intro. These are usually great. Some jazz elements. Another different sounding DRAM. This reminds me of a jazz vocalist from the 40’s. Like I said earlier, he can do it all. Damn, he’s going to have a lasting career. Breeziy is a perfect way to describe this. We get a sample vocal here. I’m going to die if it’s actually a jazz vocalist from the 40’s. DRAM sounds effortless. Definitely a nice one.
14. Workaholic (Bonus Track)
I love how I can completely relate to the first and last track. Holy shit this beat. No producer listed on Wiki. This knocks so hard. DRAM has never sounded more confident. If you are feeling burnt out from working non-stop listen to this. I know I’ll do the same. THIS is the one to listen to on your car speakers. Or if you have over ear heavy bass Sony headphones (which is what I’m using to listen to this album). I wish this was longer.
After my first listen to Big Baby D.R.A.M I have come to the conclusion that DRAM can definitely make a great, full album. You can tell he worked hard on this. The 3 features were exactly the right amount. The over saturation of features in any hip hop album usually backfire. Not only that, they aren’t necessarily and/or they don’t add anything to the album. On DRAM’s official debut he got Young Thug , Lil Yachty and Erykah Badu. This is incredible. DRAM has a new fan.
My favorite tracks are: Get It Myself, Misunderstood, WiFI, Cash Machine, Broccoli and Workaholic. Those are the cuts you should definitely check out.