Thursday, June 10th, 2021

Lil Baby & Kirk Franklin – We Win

Who says Lil Baby can’t rhyme? You’re buggin’…


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Crystal Leww: This isn’t new ground for either Kirk Franklin or Just Blaze, who repeat the formula again, but it is for Lil Baby, who uses the opportunity here to do a nice bit about winning together as family. You can definitely hear the Space Jam 2 soundtrack vibes coming off this one though — this isn’t meant to be a song that exists beyond the context of the end credits of a movie made for children. 
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Oliver Maier: The original Space Jam theme is immortal because it brute forces its logic upon you. If you didn’t already know what the Space Jam was, tough shit, because it’s here now and it’s going down whether you like it or not, so you can either come on and SLAM or shut up. It’s more Calvinball than basketball, furiously meting out the parameters in real-time and daring you to keep up. It’s a thing of miraculous stupidity. “We Win,” by contrast, sounds at once exhaustively focus-grouped and devoid of care or thought. It’s Glorycore guff, designed to satisfy everyone and delight no-one. Kirk Franklin and Just Blaze’s beat is an ugly post-Kanye concoction, made sadder when you consider that the latter literally produced “Touch the Sky.” Lil Baby says some things. Bugs Bunny does a Fortnite dance, probably. Watcha gonna do?
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Natasha Genet Avery: For a song about “striving for greatness,” “We Win” is disappointingly sloppy; the fable is about the tortoise and the hare, for one. Laden with aphorisms, this written-for-the-credits track fails to elicit any emotions (other than a strong desire to listen to “Touch the Sky“).
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Alfred Soto: Just Blaze’s trick are so familiar that I didn’t glance at the credits before guessing. Baby sounds enthused, though, but the track has a mustiness: it could’ve appeared on Late Registration with the same guests.
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Thomas Inskeep: The combination of Just Blaze and Kirk Franklin makes so much sense, and is so obvious, that I’m a little gobsmacked it’s taken this long to get to it. (Franklin even, waggishly, tosses off a “Yo, Blaze, you crazy for this one!”) Lil Baby, however, makes little-to-no sense on “We Win,” clearly just brought in for the potential Spotify clicks. But the production on this is a delight to the ’90s head in me, and gets it over.
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Samson Savill de Jong: This is so much better than it has any right to be. Space Jam, and indeed its soundtrack, might be iconic, but I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for phoning it in when producing the sequel. But “We Win” sounds like it was made with genuine enthusiasm and effort. A lot of credit for that needs to go to Just Blaze, whose beat is great (I’m also a sucker for choir beats in songs). But Lil Baby goes hard too, and I think he really matches the track while still being himself. 
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Nortey Dowuona: It’s weird to come away from Lil Baby’s heel face turn from being a well-hated pop rapper to the hero of the Atlanta rap scene. It’s even weirder to see him riding a Just Blaze beat, with Kirk chanting and crowing as the actually talented choir swings underneath the swooping bass, boulder drums and chartered pianos. Besides, rapping over Just Blaze production is always a great thing. Just ask OnCue.
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Aaron Bergstrom: Come on guys, spoilers! Now that they’ve ruined the end of the movie for me, the only question left unanswered is how three unique talents came together to create something that sounds this much like a Coloring Book b-side.
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Andrew Karpan: Just Blaze speeds the gospel sample up just enough that it sounds like a joyous, communal drum, around which Lil Baby delivers a PG-13-friendly church-backyard empowerment speech, whose moments the Atlanta rapper nails so well that it makes you wonder how hard Chance the Rapper’s whole bit could have been in the first place.
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