Music Review: Rising artist Baby Keem releases most popular album, The Melodic Blue


Eric Simonson

Baby Keem rides a bike in the middle of a desert during the Issues music video.

by Eric Simonson, Reporter

The California hip hop artist Baby Keem dropped his first studio album The Melodic Blue, using plenty of beat switches and flow changes mixed with creative lyrics to make a unique album.

Hykeem Jamaal Carter, Jr, also known as Baby Keem, started as a songwriter and producer. He has both songwriting and producing credit on Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther soundtrack, Beyonce’s song “Nile,” and on Disney’s The Lion King. However his big break was his hit song “Orange Soda” released in 2019. All of this led up to the release of The Melodic Blue.

The Melodic Blue album cover of Baby Keem sitting on a rainbow pier.

The inclusion of cousin Kendrick Lamar proved to be a great move, propelling him and the album into massive popularity. The two most popular songs on the album included Kendrick Lamar.

The 16-song album has features from Lamar, Travis Scott, and Don Toliver. The project includes more chill and emotional songs mixed in with a couple of faster paced songs.

“Rising rapper Baby Keem achieves his first top five effort on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart as his debut set, The Melodic Blue…” wrote Trevor Anderson at Billboard. The album peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200 for albums in the US and in Canada. His song “Family Ties” peaked at #18 on the Billboard hot 100 in the US. The other two songs that charted on the album were “Range brothers” and “Durag Activity” charting at 53 and 85 respectively. This success has pushed Keem to have over 15 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

I was seein’ double in the projects Mad at myself when I put it to the side Mama had to cater for the coupe That we rode after school on the way to Popeyes

— Baby Keem

A popular song on the album is “Range Brothers” (with Kendrick Lamar). Even though not the most popular song, this song still produced many moments that creators on social media took interest in. From ad libs by Lamar to sound like a brother forced to play with his younger sibling to references to TikTok, this song has it all. One trend that was created from this song is someone would tip a hat during a section of Lamar’s verse.

The most popular song on the album with over 85 million streams on Spotify is “Family Ties” (with Kendrick Lamar). The “Family Ties” music video was originally released before the album dropped and interned created the initial buzz for his album.

The majority of the album is very enjoyable to listen to with the sheer amount of beat switches and creative elements throughout the album. The mixture of upbeat songs including Range Brothers, South Africa, and family ties with more laid back chill songs like “Issues,” “Scars,” and “16” create an interesting emotional train ride. The songs are great, but in the future I would like to see Keem get more recognition for songs without the more famous Lamar.

The lyrics are no J.Cole or Eminem rhythm and flow, but they are still pretty solid. 

I score this album 7 out of 10.