Big Baby D.R.A.M.

Music Review

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Big Baby D.R.A.M.

Big Baby D.R.A.M.-D.R.A.M.

Big Baby D.R.A.M.-D.R.A.M.

Photo by: Rolling Stone

Big Baby D.R.A.M.-D.R.A.M.

Photo by: Rolling Stone

Photo by: Rolling Stone

Big Baby D.R.A.M.-D.R.A.M.

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Shelley Marshaun Massenburg-Smith, D.R.A.M., is a Richmond native with many successful singles under his belt, such as Cha Cha, and more recently, Broccoli. His inspirations lie in nineties R&B and Pop music, such as Erykah Badu and Beyonce. Massenburg-Smith’s first EP, #1Epic, gained traction in 2015 after single, Cha Cha, quickly gained success on music blogs and radios across the nation. This popularity later earned him a spot on Chance the Rapper’s most recent project, Chance 3, to solidify his spot even more among the mainstream artists of today.

Now, D.R.A.M. has released his debut studio album, Big Baby D.R.A.M.. Anticipation grew for an upcoming project from Massenburg-Smith after he released his single, Broccoli. The song’s popularity grew quickly as it climbed the charts to number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately, Big Baby D.R.A.M. attempts to make every song on this album break that same list eventually falls short of reaching all of these large aspirations.   

The album opens with Get It Myself, setting the tone for the album as a platform for him to showcase the success he has found through hard work and perseverance. Sadly, that message is sometimes lost through a cluster of cliche pop tracks with little flow nor lyric value. At first, it seems apparent that D.R.A.M. may be trying to step out of his comfort zone and experiment with some more romantic themes. However, rather than having these songs build on his theme, they seem to cripple it, making all of his feelings for his romantic interest seem like a guise for a cookie cutter radio hit. Finally, a breather appears as Erykah Badu’s feature brings the otherwise dull track, WiFi,  to life with a more convincing tone and flow, nearly absent until this point. The single Cash Machine serves as an ode to Massenburg-Smith’s relationship between his money counter and himself. Interestingly enough, this piano-backed volley of praise convincingly expresses his emotions better than his other attempts. The last bit of this breather from the otherwise poorly mixed 808 and playful synth-heavy tracks is Broccoli. The playful flute and piano in the track match the outlandish lyrics that Massenburg-Smith’s feature, Lil Yachty, delivers with ease.

The interlude serves as the next enjoyable moment in the album, beginning with a synth bearing a striking resemblance to one in a Nintendo game’s soundtrack. Finishing the interlude is a nice organ to back what sounds like a long overdone moment of introspectiveness, but appears cheap due to the lack of personality in the album. Another series of painstaking songs follow only to bring the listener to the grand finale, Sweet VA Breeze. The Ode to Richmond contains a church organ behind D.R.A.M.’s well flowing, polysyndeton delivery, painting a perfect picture of his home town on a beautiful fall day. Unfortunately, the album ends there, leaving the listener with only scraps of emotion.

Big Baby D.R.A.M. finds the transition difficult from his debut album.  I give this effort of would-be radio hits a solid four or a light five out of ten.