Album Review: Lil Baby is back but I wanted more

The return of the “Hero” came this past week when the ATL rapper released his third solo studio album, “It’s Only Me.” 

It has been over two years since the Quality Control rapper released his first number one album, “My Turn” back in February of 2020. 

The album cover, created by artist Mihailoandic, shows Baby’s four different phases of himself throughout his career on Mt. Rushmore. A play on Drake’s lyric, his close friend, “My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions” from “Survival” talking about who sits on the famous mountain of all-time rappers. 

Lil Baby is one of the biggest artists in the world at the moment. From releasing a documentary in the summer, to announcing his World Cup theme song with Budweiser, the rapper seems to be showing up everywhere. It was only a matter of time that he had to follow up his hot 2020 album. 

The album features expected collaborators Rylo Rodriguez, Young Thug and Future, while also containing cameos from EST Gee, Fridayy, Jeremih, Pooh Shiesty and Nardo Wick. 

Taking a different approach to an album review, I will be taking this album through a couple tests: Car Test, Headphone Test, Group Test and Workout Test. By Detailing which songs fall within each category, listeners will have a curated list on which songs they can count on. 

Car Test: Right off the bat, the opening “Real Spill” passed the test. It’s one of those songs that hits differently when riding in the car, whether you are lane switching on the freeway or simply cruising the streets enjoying a quality song. Another song that passed with flying colors and potentially my favorite on the album, “California Breeze.” Producers MARS and Murda Beatz did their thing on track #5 and this one felt like classic Baby. 

Headphone Test: I, for one, have to listen to an album in order with headphones nearly maxed out. These are the songs that sound the best when you have your favorite headphones in heading to class, hanging out in your room or running through an album for the first time. “Forever” is one that I played back-to-back after listening to it. Fridayy provides the melody, while Baby delivers a cadence that locks you in. “Waterfall Flow” excels in the headphone test. This is another track that stood out, as it is one of the handful of tracks in this album that shows Baby’s ability at flowing through his words like a waterfall. 

Group Test: I played this album over the weekend with friends as we hung out and transitioned into some poker. Perhaps this wasn’t the most ideal setting, but with us all being fans of the QC rapper, we committed to listening. Finding ourselves drifting in and out, there were times when songs seemed too repetitive. The ones that did stand out were: “From Now On”, “Pop Out” and “Shiest Talk.” These songs are ones you can run through your weekend playlist and turn up to with the group. There are club ready songs and these three can be played in a party setting. 

Workout Test: From going on a run, lifting weights at the gym or putting shots up in the gym, This album passed the test. There are multiple songs that are ready for your workout playlist, Most notably was one that most listeners may have heard, “In A Minute” produced by Haze and Kaigoinkrazy. This song features the sample from Drake and 40’s “Pound Cake” instrumental. Another one that will help you push to another level will be “Cost To Be Alive” with Rylo Rodriguez. Finally, “Back and Forth” with the vicious rapper, EST Gee, goes off. These tracks are highlights in the album and give the type of energy that Lil Baby fans love. 

Ultimately, it appears that this album felt almost too comfortable. Baby did not have the fierceness in his voice like he did in his previous albums. In a sense, it is understandable. Now that he’s 27, Baby has potentially accomplished more than most rappers in the last two years. 

The 22-track album ultimately felt extensive. Although there are big time producers like Murda Beatz, ATL Jacob and Kaigoinkrazy, the beat selections sounded very similar throughout. A feature from Gunna and Drake definitely missed and although there were some heavy hitters, this album does not surpass “My Turn” by any means. I give this album an underwhelming 6.5/10.