On "My Turn", Lil Baby is an expert shit-talker and drip-walker.
Lil Baby has the kind of vocal dexterity that would allow him to slide by without putting much substance into his lyrics. Not every rapper has to be a wordsmith to be worth your time. Sometimes Lil Baby slithers around in pockets so nimbly that you might question whether he's really spitting or is just creating an illusion through catchy cadences. The distinct tone of his scratchy voice could also be sufficient to keep things interesting, but rest assured, Lil Baby is really spitting. A breakdown of the bars on his newly-released sophomore album, My Turn, will prove that.
Right on the first track, "Get Ugly", Lil Baby sets up the outline for the character profile that will be sketched in for the duration of project. He's egotistical, yet paranoid - a dynamic that many rappers play with nowadays. Rather than choosing between starting out his project in an arrogant tone or a vulnerable one, he created a blend that adds some complexity to his character. At the end of his first verse, he raps:
"Why the fuck everybody callin' me?
Everybody who left took a part of me
Excuse my drip, yeah, pardon me
Show me a list of who hard as me"
It's the kind of oscillation from painful confession to defensive flex that has been popularized by the likes of Future. On this same song, Lil Baby also drops the Future-esque line, "Sippin' syrup 'til my body numb, I ain't tryna catch no feelings." He wonders, "Would you leave or stay like you love me?" Despite the paranoia and pain that Lil Baby indulges in, "Get Ugly" is still meant to be a banging album opener, which it is. For every bar where Baby sounds bummed, there's an opposing one to celebrate his success.
"Need my rims offset like Cardi B
This might be my hardest beat
Put the blame on Pee, he started me
Got the game from Big, he guarded me"
We already know how feverishly Lil Baby and Gunna feed off each other's energy, so "Heatin Up" being a standout (and potential hit) comes as no surprise. The Atlanta rappers sound like they're in friendly competition on this track, pushing them both to reach deep in their bags for their most creative flexes. Since we're not focusing on Gunna here, I'll provide some highlights from Baby's verses:
"Really get a pack and keep the over
Big dripper, stand up in the ocean"
"Ridin round with Dracs like we OVO
I got some racks and I want some more"
"I spent five hundred racks on a Lambo'
And didn't even know how to make that motherfucker go"
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My Turn provides mixed signals regarding whether Lil Baby is in a committed relationship or not. He's often seen stunting on social media with the mother of his child, Jayda Cheaves, he confused followers in a recent interview by claiming that he's not in love. His album doesn't provide a clear answer. At several points he mentions his willingness to entrust his partner with the fruits of his labour ("Still give her couple thousand, even though she would of did it free"), but he also seems too preoccupied with chasing success to be tied down. His indifference to romance is seen on "How":
"She done fell in love, I'm sellin' dreams
I done fell in love with buyin’ jeans
Hate I found a love for sippin' lean"
"All I know is put it up and keep on workin'
I can't even hold you, I been gettin' loaded"
Putting relationship drama aside, at the end of the day, we turn to Lil Baby for high-energy anthems that inundate us with his designer drip and update us on his car collection. He does that on "Grace":
"Go crazy for white Air Force One, maybe 'cause I'm a dope boy
He be live but he ain't makin' no noise
'Ventador on the ground like a skateboard"
He satisfies our hedonistic interests on the Future collaboration, "Live Off My Closet", while giving a nod to Megan Thee Stallion's partying habits:
"Too many chains, go to sleep, I might choke
I be sippin on syrup, I ain't drivin no boat"
Then again on "Consistent":
"My cars come with stars and kits
None of my kids gon' starve for shit"
He talks some of his best shit when teaming up with Lil Uzi Vert on "Commercial":
"I'm runnin' shit, I can do what I want
And it's really a limit, you do what you can
I found the booth and I put that shit up
'Fore I run out of cash, they gonna run out of land"
However, Lil Baby hasn't fully transitioned to living in the luxurious bubble of fame. He constantly reminds you that he's a man of the streets first. On "Hurtin", he concedes that the haunting of his hustling days fuels his music:
"Made me who I am, I'm gettin' bands, I'm breakin' curses
Trap spot do six figures, still got sheets, fuck curtains
Excuse me as I go off, have flashbacks in my verses, I'm tellin' you
I done put my heart inside a box and tried to sell it to 'em"
On the closing track, "Solid", he sums up the complex and inextricable ties between his old life and his current one in a single line.
"And I just left the hood to catch a vibe and that shit give me chills"