Friday, February 7th, 2020

Lil Baby – Woah



Julian Axelrod: Lil Baby has always held the contradictory titles of Most Successful and Least Interesting Young Thug Protege, and the most rewarding part of “Woah” is imagining his YSL compatriots’ spins on the title phrase: an awed huff from Gunna, a neon shriek from Lil Keed, a guttural trill from Thug. Baby tosses it off like a barely concealed cough, and the rest of the song maintains that level of energy. There’s a very specific running brag about the volume of Lil Baby’s cars, but he’s created the rap equivalent of a Prius: low-energy, low-impact, and so quiet you almost forget it’s there.

Will Rivitz: Count me among those surprised that Lil Baby can carry a single by himself; then again, cribbing Young Thug’s flow is basically a cheat code. There’s a reason that the cadence still hits half a decade after Thugger’s come-up, though, and Baby’s treble flutter over the 808s’ perfectly-shaped elastic thrum should suffice as explanation.

Brad Shoup: A beautiful-sounding hook, sabotaged by a plan-C rhyme scheme. 

Thomas Inskeep: The beat is clean and simple, Lil Baby’s delivery straightforward — both of these are things I like in my hip hop. But there’s so much goddamn Auto-Tune on his vocal that it’s beyond distracting; it makes this almost unlistenable.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Lil Baby’s never had much in the way of a personality, but this is a rare moment in which the lack of one is unimportant. The way he consistently keeps up his flow to let out only a bored “woah” is an expert bit of flaunting to prove his lyrics about success. In that moment it feels like he’s showing off: he may not have any particular exciting features, but he’s a star, and he’ll show off that truth in the most banal way possible.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: A thoroughly uninteresting MOR track, made slightly more interesting by the fact that “Woah by Lil Baby” is an anagram of “Why, baby Billo?”

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