SahBabii may be the future of hip-hop. The Atlanta based rapper has been making ethereal, dreamy music for a while now, but I’ve got the feeling his latest project Barnacles is his most complete one to date. For those who aren’t familiar with the talented artist, he rose to popularity in 2016/2017 with the release of the single “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick” featuring Loso Loaded, which was on his excellent 2017 mixtape “S.A.N.D.A.S.“. Since then, he has been refining his sound, blossoming beautifully as an artist. Sonically, Barnacles sounds dreamy, atmospheric and ethereal, bringing a colourful dynamism to the trap-influenced sound that has been dominating the genre for the last few years.
The title track kicks off the project with a bang. The way he is able to use his voice to create moody yet animated melodies reminds me of the sound Young Thug and Future have been able to pioneer, and add this to the incredible production from Whipgothesauce, it makes for a terrific track. Another quality he has is to write witty and memorable one liners. I wouldn’t characterize his rhymes as being particularly game-changing or phenomenal, but one of the things that I really love about him is his ability to come up with amazing one-liners that just stick and hit. On “Giraffes & Elephants,” which is an overtly sexual track, he states “Gave her both of these balls, LaMelo and Lonzo,” which, if you get the basketball reference, is kinda hilarious. His raps aren’t solely playful and hilarious though. Thematically, “Racist” might be my favourite track on the album. He spits “Ayy, my diamonds on Donald Trump / Your diamonds not white, they are Uncle Toms/ I cannot hang with no Disney n****s / Rats, goofies and Donald Ducks / These diamonds straight out of Africa / I look like a Zulu warrior.” He personifies his diamonds as being racist (white) and makes comparisons with racist folks like Trump and Ronald Reagan. The juxtaposition between racist diamonds and them coming straight from Africa, at least to me, showcases the complex and intertwined history between white, western countries who have colonized and enslaved, and Africa, a continent which has, as a whole suffered the most from slavery, colonialism and oppression. It’s a terrific track. On “Poppin Shit,” produced by Ran Beats & Palaze, he expresses his hatred for feds, as he says “You want smoke, I’ll get right with ya / All my guns filled with cop killers”. His ability to be socially conscious as well as bringing some humour is commendable, and this new project is a terrific representation of his growth and his identity as an artist.
Ultimately, Barnacles is an atmospheric, dreamy and ethereal album with wit and introspection that showcases SahBabii’s eclecticism as an artist. Go check this one out and go back to his previous work for more melodic, trap-influenced music because it’s genuinely great!