When I was a kid my mom would take me to Wendy’s and I’d always order a chocolate milkshake...
DJBooth Album Review
When I was eight it was Wendy’s, right now it’s Baby Bash. My b-boy friends would smack me as hard as mom back in the day if they caught me enjoying the impossibly pretty rapper/crooner/booty-lover, but whenever Mr. Bash’s melodies come over the radio I can’t stop nodding my head. So imagine my struggle as I listened to his new album Cyclone this week, desperately trying not to enjoy myself but unable to stop. Bash can’t sing, his rhyme-style is basic, and he has the lyrical depth of Dora the Explorer (a very freaky Dora the Explorer…I probably shouldn’t have written that). So why can’t I stop singing along?
Distinctively crunk production from Lil’ Jon, a T-Pain cameo and Baby Bash’s hypnotic melodies all add up to Cyclone, a single that’s become a radio programmers wet dream. Personally I’d stay away from a girl moving like a cyclone on the dance floor, but if you’ve been in a club in the last month you know how much the ladies love Cyclone. That’s got to count for something right? On a similar tip let me explain why songs like Na Na (the Yummy Song) are so dangerous. The lyrics are so painfully terrible you start singing along as a joke, “I guess it was my destiny/to hit that juicy recipe,” then an hour later Na Na’s acoustic guitar backdrop and addictive chorus are playing on repeat in your head. My advice is not to fight it. Just admit Baby Bash makes fun pop songs, sing your heart out in the car, and move on with your life.
During interviews Baby Bash likes to say that he’s above labels, a respectable claim for a white and Mexican man who’s lived in the Bay Area and Texas, but what if I were to call him a man only capable of writing songs about booty? Now there’s a label that might fit. What Is It features the tried and true combination of a electronically stylized J.R. Rotem beat and quasi-Jamaican singing from Sean Kingston, and while Baby Bash delivers a danceably bouncing track, you can only listen to a grown man sing “I see that dunk-da-dunk-dunk I want all of that” so many times. Baby Bash is so focused on the ladies he even manages to work some backside-related material into a song entirely about rims. Spreewell’s Spinnin’ is a screwed n’chopped banger (kind of) that serves as evidence of Bash’s Houston ties. Latin-artists Chingo Bling, Lucky and Queenie drop some impressively original flows, it’s just a shame Baby Bash was invited along for the ride.
I’m honestly a little torn here. Bash admits he’s only interested in making enjoyable music and I appreciate the honesty, but at what point does a desire to cross boundaries become a willingness to put out anything that will sell? Baby Bash has some definite Northern California roots (Vallejo for all my Bay Area people), but Mean Mug is an embarrassing attempt at hyphy. Five seconds of this limp beat would have hyphy-godfather Mac Dre rolling over in his grave, even Pimp C sounds like he can’t wait to get off the track. Then again, just a few tracks earlier Baby Bash did pen As Days Go By, a song about the war in Iraq featuring the hate-proof Paula DeAnda. Since most R&B artists are black and latino (sit down Robin Thicke) and so many soldiers are black and latino, you’d think Iraq would get more musical mention, but so far Bash is the only mainstream singer I can think of who’s addressed the war’s tolls on relationships.
So is Cyclone an album full of enjoyable pop tunes or easily disposable trash? The truth is a little bit of both. You’d be perfectly justified writing Baby Bash off as shallow, but if you’re gonna dip your fries in a chocolate shake don’t be ashamed. After all, it’s delicious, and you know I got your back.
DJBooth Rating - 2.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 10/31/07
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