2KBABY – Pregame Rituals (Review)

New artists seem to pop regularly now, and 2KBABY is someone that I had practically no knowledge of. Reading a few interviews before I put on the EP/album, he spoke on his ability to sing and show emotion and passion in his vocals. 2KBABY even spoke on making his music sound like he let go of some sort of pain. That has been a “trend” lately, guys wearing their emotions on their sleeves while simultaneously speaking on the biggest struggle of their life. Plenty of artists have done it, look at Rod Wave as the latest example. But what made this guy so different? He has been one of the guys in the 2020 XXL Freshman list, voted 10th, so his success has been recognized. However, I was still curious about his story on Pregame Rituals.

When 2KBABY said he sings with emotion and pain, he meant that. This project proves his ability as a singer, as he shows off a powerful and passionate voice about dealing with the streets. “DROWNING” is giving you two meanings of drowning. On one end, he is drowning because of the surroundings he can’t escape from. But he’s also he drowning in his success from the water on his neck and wrist. “OLD SOUL” is a great contrast of 2KBABY’s light, passionate voice and G-Herbo’s lower, rugged voice. It’s on of multiple tracks here where 2K shows off his expressive voice.

On “20K” he plays with multiple flows, all while serenading the listener on being thankful he is able to shop at Melrose. “NEW SHOES” is his most impressive track as he expresses his joy at getting out and keeping his brothers safe. The most impressive thing about 2K’s success is he never really knew he could sing until making the move to Atlanta. In an interview with FreshestWear and Complex, he speaks on the six-hour drive where he sang his song “Dirty 30’s” the whole way and that is when he realized he can sing. From there he has made tracks like “DREAMING” where he is passionately singing on his old ways being behind him. There is a lighter trap-sound that is found throughout the EP, which can be a good and bad thing.

While the pain in his voice is absolutely real, it can blend a bit too much. 2K can be a victim of making a one-dimensional sound, no matter how good it sounds. At some point when a bigger release drops, you hope he can find another sound or talking point to create versatility. The talent is clearly there, and as his resume grows he will surely be able to work with more artists. Lil Durk on “OLD STREETS Remix” is the perfect example of guys that he would fit in well with. His very high singing voice can mesh with anybody who doesn’t sound the same. Once he gets more time under his belt, he could master his craft. There is real pain in his voice that separates him from the rest, but allows him to make great music.

Score: 7.6/10