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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Criticism: ‘It’s Only Me’ showcases Lil Baby at his least interesting

Lil+Baby
Via Instagram
Lil Baby

Rating: 4/10
The third studio album of Atlanta rapper Lil Baby “It’s Only Me” debuted on Oct. 14, and it has seen major commercial success. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold well over 200,000 units in its first week. This isn’t the first big hit for Lil Baby, as his 2021 collaborative album “The Voices of the Heroes” and 2020 solo album “My Turn” earned the top spot as well.
But artistically, Lil Baby’s music has lost a lot of what made him a star back when he released his debut album “Harder than Ever” in 2018.
Lil Baby earned his fame amid an explosion of Atlanta rappers, most of which took heavy inspiration from slightly older pioneers such as Young Thug and Future. However, Lil Baby was able to distinguish himself from crowds of copycats through his trademark emotional delivery.
His approach on this album, as implied by the title and cover, which depicts a Mount Rushmore of four versions of himself, is one of independence. The 23 songs only contain eight features, and the production of the beats stays as minimal as possible throughout the release. Therefore, the utmost emphasis is placed on Lil Baby’s standalone talent and his ability to carry a song.
However, this daring move didn’t really pull through, since a great deal of the album is devoid of substance. Lil Baby seems unable to conjure the passion that previously enabled him to deliver his heartbroken flows. Also, the production comes across as boring and incredibly repetitive. “It’s Only Me” isn’t worth the 65 minutes it takes to listen through it.
There are still some highlights on the album, though. The few features that appear, including the previously mentioned pioneers Young Thug and Future as well as pop/rhythm and blues singer Jeremih, manage to leave a positive impression, and songs like “Russian Roulette” and “FR” see a rare return of a Lil Baby that cares about what he’s rapping about.
These moments could’ve been condensed into something a lot shorter for a memorable mixtape or EP, but instead, each good moment on “It’s Only Me” is separated by handfuls of lackluster tracks. The album is as engaging as background music you might hear in a mall outlet.
Critically, the reviews of “It’s Only Me” aren’t as positive as his sales. Pitchfork gave the album a 5.5 out of 10 and said the album was “a missed opportunity to flaunt his talent for vocal manipulation and emotional delivery.”
Lil Baby can be a good rapper. “Harder than Ever” is a classic of its era, and he’s delivered impactful and passionate flows, including his verse on Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and The Weeknd’s “Hurricane,” which earned him a Grammy for “Best Melodic Rap Performance” this year.
All this makes it even more disappointing to see a Lil Baby album as forgettable as “It’s Only Me” be released. Here, Lil Baby is mostly indistinguishable from any other rapper with autotune.
Does this mean his career is dying out or his subgenre of Atlanta rap is just a fad coming to an end? Hopefully, this will end up being just a misstep in the otherwise prolific career of Lil Baby.
“It’s Only Me” could’ve been a lot better if there were more people involved.

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