Atlanta rapper Lil Baby emerged after of a series of mixtapes where he quickly developed from solid but somewhat generic material into a more engaging, highly melodic rap style. His charismatic delivery, unexpected hooks, and a versatile flow all came into their own on Drip Harder, a 2018 mixtape made in collaboration with fellow Atlanta artist Gunna. Lil Baby doubles down on all of the attributes that made him a star on second studio album My Turn and presents them all in songs marked by heightened production and a sound that inches ever so slightly closer to pop accessibility. Backed by clean, booming beats, Lil Baby oscillates between nearly manic bars and infectious choruses, switching up his cadence and delivery often enough to make every song feel like its own statement. "Woah" is a standout, with a piano-based beat that at first sounds like a standard ominous trap instrumental but opens up into more subtle textures as the song goes on. Lil Baby's lyrics stay at a rolling boil throughout the song, pausing for breath only for the sticky refrain that highlights just how frenzied the flow is. "Live Out My Closet" is similarly electric, with Future stopping by to trade high speed bars. Throughout My Turn, several high-profile guests make appearances, with Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, and even Young Thug contributing verses to various songs. As great as these contributions are, Lil Baby is still at his best when he's standing alone in the spotlight. The weird, synthy chirps of "Sum 2 Prove" or guitar samples of "Emotionally Scarred" can barely contain his energy, Lil Baby is overflowing with things to say, and masterfully arranges more ideas into the framework of his songs than should reasonably fit. My Turn runs about one hour and includes 20 tracks, most of them right around three-minutes long. In other hands, that much material could turn into a tedious slog, but Lil Baby manages to keep every moment fresh, finding a unique and unlikely midway between artistic inspiration and commercially viable entertainment.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas