Da Baby released KIRK on Friday to a loyal fan-base that has watched the rapper grow from hit single, “Suge”, to a more versatile lyricist and trendsetter.
Da Baby starts the KIRK album off with “Intro”, a visual that sees a thankful and matured Jonathan as he mourns the loss of his father and celebrates the loyalty of those who surround him. The entertainer jogs in front of his boys on four-wheelers as if in triumphant claim that he has made it but remembers those from which he came.
“Off the Rip” is more self-representative of the emcee than anything. “Straight off the rip you know I don’t wait for no drop” rings out before you can take your finger off play. Produced by Sean da Firzt, Da Baby uses the track to emphasize his flow and teach of his affinity of getting money, women and respect.
It’s the kind of boisterous and chaotic atmosphere that Jonathan Kirk thrives in and both producers Sean da Firzt and Jetsonmade – each of North Carolina – echo in the studio. The result is a sound coming out of Charlotte reminiscent of overwhelmed speakers. Yeah, the beats hit that hard.
As the listener eases down the tracklist, Da Baby teams up with producer Kenny Beats, along with Beats’ signature 808s sound, and sample group Queen Sixties – which includes producer, writer and guitarist Jared Scharff – in “Toes”, featuring Lil Baby and Moneybagg Yo. Songs like “Toes”, “Prolly Heard” feel like Da Baby at a peak of lyrical comfort. Like his words will soon run out with his breath, the Charlotte-bred rapper stuffs his words onto the beat, rarely straying from the flow that thrusted him into a position of young and in charge for 2019.
The album, racked with solid product, has a couple of “meh” moments with “Vibez” and “There He Go”. Not to say that the songs don’t give off a toe-tap, but every record is not a masterpiece. In equal lighting, iPHONE – which features Nicki Minaj and a handful of her best bars – showcases Da Baby’s ability to carry a tune, one of the few times on the album he changes his vocal rhythm, before he puts a brick on the gas and peels off.
“Pop Star” is one of those head-bobbers and it’s a breath of fresh air from the usual cadence Da Baby entertains the audience with. He matches Kevin Gates’ gruff, yet silky delivery amongst the chance of pace and I welcome every moment of it. Da Baby unleashes his versatility similarly on “Gospel” which features Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane and YK Osiris as he raps, “This s&^% sound like some ghetto gospel / I lost my daddy the same week that they lost Nipsey / Ain’t no more love left in my heart that s*&* be empty.”
Da Baby created several solid hits with this project and will undoubtedly enjoy at least two charted singles from the album named in memoriam of his father, who passed this spring.
Critics may site an air of familiarity in his rhymes, yet there are several versions of Da Baby in this album. Jonathan Kirk has space to evolve, but his second album of 2019 shows him ready to keep a steady sprint.