After building up momentum by working with Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment on Surf, Chance the Rapper on Coloring Book, and dropping his hit single, “Broccoli” with Lil Yachty, D.R.A.M., whose name stands for for “Does Real Ass Music,” is ready to make a name for himself.
Hailing from Hampton, Virginia, which is part of the “7 Cities” area that birthed greats such as Pharrell, Missy Elliott and Timbaland, D.R.A.M. has some things to say. He’s already built a lot of momentum with his two most recent projects, #1 Epic and Gahdamn!. D.R.A.M. first caught our attention with, “Cha Cha,” a song with a nostalgic Mario Bros. sample. Unfortunately, Drake’s controversially similar “Hotline Bling” knocked the song’s momentum down a few pegs. That didn’t stop him from seeing even bigger success with “Broccoli,” despite the predictions of naysayers. Now we’re here with D.R.A.M.’s debut album, Big Baby D.R.A.M.
Though he’s not an elite singer, D.R.A.M. still sings pretty well in studio settings. Musically, the songs blend sounds of soul, gospel, trap, pop and a tinge of rock (the rock sound particularly on “Misunderstood).” It sound like a lot, but sonically the album is not all over the place. Gospel influences are heard all in the intro “Get It Myself,” and “Change My Number” with the way the vocals are layered. Then there’s the organ on “Dark Lavender Interlude.” It reminds you of that part of church where the pastor is giving a word and the band plays subtly in the background right before your favorite church auntie passes out in the choir stand.
Lyrically speaking, the average 20-something year old can relate heavily to what D.R.A.M. is saying. Take “Password” for example, which talks about knowing what lies beyond your lover’s lock screen. Then you have“Cute,” a song about finding someone you see attractive. With lyrics like, “even though it’s cliche I saw you on your Instagram and I think you’re cute” and “scrolling through my feed I saw you just had post a pic,” it doesn’t get more millennial than that. I also found out D.R.A.M. made this song on the spot, which is believable because the second half of the last verse sounds like he made it up as he went along. That being said, it totally works.
I appreciate an album that has equal parts “turn up” and “cool down.” You can hit an ill milly rock to “In a Minute” or kill ‘em with the shoulders to “Outta Sight.” You can kick back and chill to “WiFi,” a slow jam featuring Erykah Badu that’s also an ideal song to help set the mood.
All in all, Big Baby D.R.A.M. is a pretty solid debut. The album is fun, it’s groovy and soulful. He got off to a rough start by some accounts, but D.R.A.M. has found a lane. Will it be enough to keep him in the game? Though the songs are highly relatable as far as lyrics go, D.R.A.M.’s subject matter doesn’t offer much variation. However, good production paired with a unique voice and a good ear for music work in D.R.A.M.’s favor.
What this debut also shows is that D.R.A.M. can fit into different styles and genres easily. There’s a few different sounds on the album and for the most part he nailed them. The talent is definitely there, and there is room for growth. It seems people are finally starting to take notice and take D.R.A.M. seriously as an artist – hopefully one who’s here to stay.
Was D.R.A.M.’s debut enough to push him back into the spotlight? Has he made a name for himself? Check out Big Baby D.R.A.M. below and decide for yourself.