Is it rash to already call this album overhated?
Baby Keem's long-awaited debut LP "The Melodic Blue" is a very promising display of one of the rap game's most exciting prospects. Chock-filled with dynamic verses, production that, although fairly inconsistent, goes pretty hard at its peaks and fantastic features that always add more meat to the bones. But, at the end of the day, the defining feature of the record is just how great a time it is. Save for a couple of outliers, the presence that Baby Keem brings to the table is constantly inviting, welcoming its listener to an experience that you can just sit back and vibe to. I mean, right from the opening track, all the qualities of this record lay themselves down. Atmospherically, the track centralises Keem's presence, which gives the beats such a dynamic feel to them. He ranges from more sombre at the start into a much harder flow, and the transitions feel seamless. Keem's versatility over this project as a whole also hits quite hard. Tackling a wide array of different moods and cadences, he may not always sound incredibly unique, but he always sounds confident, which gives so many tracks that extra reassurance that gets it across the line. He always seems to know what he wants to do with the beat, where he wants to take it, how he wants to use it to strengthen his sound, which is quite nice. The features, too, also are very well utilised; their chemistry with both the beat and Keem add that extra layer to the record's sound. However, despite Keem sounding confident over the record's sound, if you actually dig into said sound, there are paths that lead to an underwhelming conclusion. First off, the production is pretty damn inconsistent on this thing. On bangers such as "family ties", it's fantastic, creating such a compelling and enjoyable aura that you can't help fall right into it. But then, in other areas, particularly around the early-middle section, it just sounds bare and uninspired. Without the solid backbone of the highlights, some of the more underwhelming cuts on this thing just give Keem far too much to do and, despite his vision, he doesn't really fill the gaps, leaving the tracks bland and forgettable. The beat switches painted across this project, too, also grow tedious after a while; if you constantly pull the same trick, it'll lose its sense of surprise. I reckon, though, if some of the fat was trimmed or the production was levelled out a bit more, this project could've been up there with the best rap projects of the year. "The Melodic Blue" is a fantastic display of Baby Keem's talents, particularly when it comes to his dynamic and charismatic verses, even if it does suffer from sonic inconsistencies.
Best Tracks: cocoa, family ties, 16
Worst Tracks: issues, south africa, lost souls