DaBaby packs a punch on ‘KIRK’

Dom Brazeau

Not even a year ago, North Carolina rapper DaBaby released his first studio album; just seven months later, the artist dropped his latest project “KIRK.” At 13 tracks and a 35-minute run time, “KIRK” boasts features from Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj and the Migos, all of which prove the artist isn’t leaving the rap scene any time soon. 

From his 2019 record, DaBaby made his style clear with his aggressive delivery and short hard-hitting songs. Some of his more popular tracks, namely “Suge,” “Baby Sitter” and “Walker Texas Ranger,” also earned the artist a spot on the XXL Freshmen list, as well as features with well-known rappers Post Malone and J. Cole. 

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The only single off of “KIRK” is the meaningful track “INTRO,” a track that shows DaBaby’s struggle before fame and the loss of his father. “INTRO” explores a different theme than DaBaby’s usual style, as well as a deeper, more vulnerable perspective on the artist’s humble beginnings.

On the second track, “OFF THE RIP,” DaBaby returns to his classic style, gloating to his haters about gaining success over a simple bass-heavy instrumental.

Unfortunately, DaBaby can slip into using the same formula for too many tracks, making them sound indistinguishable from one another. On “KIRK,” these tracks are “BOP,” “VIBEZ,” “PROLLY HEARD” and “THERE HE GO.” 

The song “POP STAR” features Kevin Gates, and for the most part it is similar to the rest of the album. However, Gates outshines DaBaby and has one of the best features and verses on the whole album. 

“KIRK” can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify. 

“GOSPEL” is an interesting mix of styles and artists. Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane and YK Osiris all come together to add a bit of style and emphasis to the track. DaBaby’s delivery is particularly special on this track, even though he is invoking similar (and often overused) themes of success that he used on the rest of the album.

“GOSPEL” is also a good reminder of DaBaby’s undeniable talent as a rapper, showcasing an insanely fast flow that makes you stop what you are doing to listen. Chance the Rapper’s verse is simply bad and has a couple of lyrics that are unnecessary and cringe-worthy. Gucci Mane’s verse is nothing special, but it still outshines Chance’s unfortunate attempt to add flare to the song. 

“iPHONE” with Nicki Minaj is very bad. The entire song is weak and doesn’t need to be on the album. It seems like the only reason the track is on “KIRK” is because of Nicki Minaj’s feature, although at this point in DaBaby’s career it’s just cheap to create a song based only on name recognition. 

Toward the end of the album, DaBaby wraps it all up with some of his better songs. “TOES” features rappers Lil Baby and Moneybagg Yo, who add palpable chemistry to the catchy track. 

The song “REALLY,” with DaBaby’s long-time collaborator Stunna 4 Vegas, delivers some of the best verses on the entire album. Stunna 4 Vegas’ verse fits perfectly with the style of DaBaby, and they feed off of each other. 

Closing out the album is “XXL,” a song that features DaBaby’s XXL Freshmen list freestyle. “XXL” has a bell sound that leads the beat, and the overall energy of the track is a great way to end the album. 

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“KIRK” demonstrates DaBaby’s natural talent and synergy when collaborating with other artists. Though he doesn’t step outside of his classic style too much on this album, it’s clear that the rapper has a promising future.

  • Score: 6.5/10
  • Favorite Tracks: “TOES,” “REALLY,” “XXL”
  • Least Favorite: “iPHONE,” “OFF THE RIP”
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Dominic Brazeau can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @DomBrazeau.