Review: D.R.A.M, “Big Baby D.R.A.M”

Virginian singer and rapper D.R.A.M. has finally unleashed his highly anticipated debut album Big Baby D.R.A.M, and it was absolutely worth the wait.

D.R.A.M. has been steadily gaining attention, dropping back-to-back projects last year, #1EPICsummer and GAHDAMN! His track Cha Cha from #1EPICsummer catapulted him into the spotlight with over 15 million YouTube views. In April he released the just as catchy, amazingly fun track Broccoli feat. Lil Yachty, which has already gone double platinum. As the lead single for his debut album, you can get a pretty good idea of what the full body of work sounds like.

Big Baby D.R.A.M. comes just under one exact year since GAHDAMN! And features my favourite cover art of all time (above). Having a poodle of my own, I can appreciate the hell outta this cover, and the desire to have your dog on the album cover and in the film clips. I spent the first listen through of this album looking through my photos, to find one similar, and found many. Must be a poodle owner thing.

The cover art is a dead giveaway to the vibe of the album. It’s fun, lively, smooth, soulful, and funky, with hip-hop elements. Think Nate Dogg x Anderson .Paak x ILoveMakonnen. The whole album brings together the best and brightest parts of hip-hop and R&B’s current trends (think Chance the Rapper) and provokes that happy feeling you get from coming home and playing with your dog.

The essential tracks on this album happen to be the middle five tracks Monticello Ave, WIFI with Ms. Erykah Badu, Cash Machine, Broccoli and Cute. They could easily be plucked from the album and released as an EP in their own right.

D.R.A.M. has a malleable and multi-purpose tone, able to easily adapt to club tracks like Broccoli, to the organ-laden Sweet VA Breeze, which invokes more of a classic singer style, and to the heavy bass track about ‘getting some’ in In a Minute/ In House.

Outta Sight/ Dark Lavender Interlude has a very Anderson .Paak vibe to it, with a wonderful bounciness to the beat. It is very much a get up and dance track; regardless of your mood, you’ll want to get up and move. That said, second half of the track Dark Lavender Interlude is kind of weird and a little out of place, with D.R.A.M.’s singing briefly interrupted by a seemingly arbitrary phone call. It almost serves as an introduction to the next song Change My # but the girl on the phone he seemed to like, inviting her to the studio.

Change My # is incredible, the kind of rack we can all appreciate. The chorus, “I’m about to change my number on you, all 10 digits,” is a classic diss track, aimed at girls who only want him now that he’s in the spotlight. It also features perhaps one of the more obvious rapped verses – it’s hard to consider D.R.A.M. a traditional rapper, as even the ‘rapped’ verses are melodic and more sung than spoken, an increasingly common trend in hip-hop today. Nevertheless, he has impeccable rhyming skills, further backed up in the rap-heavy Password. 

The album round out with the bonus track Workaholic, which could be the hardest hitting track from a hip-hop stand point. It very much emulates rappers like Future, but with enough of his own flair to make it completely his own.

Big Baby D.R.A.M. is absolutely one of this year’s brightest debuts. Building on his already growing reputation, this will hopefully bring him right up to the bright, and permanent spotlight he deserves.