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Sada Baby - Bartier Bounty Music Album Reviews

Already an all-time-great shit talker, the Detroit rapper reaffirms his reputation as a fun-loving rapper who repurposes familiar topics in new forms.

Sada Baby will pull his gun and get ignorant, and he will fuck the party up with his dance moves. He gyrates exuberantly in every music video he’s ever done, and even if he’s never bearing firearms in them, his bars at least suggest there’s always one within reach. The Detroit rapper has an affinity for bringing flair to his strong-arm tactics with absurd turns of phrase. “I will do a Harlem Shake with the Draco,” he raps in the waning moments of his thrilling new mixtape, Bartier Bounty. “I will shoot the investigator/Get the case closed.” By that point, he’s left a rampaged city in his wake.

Sada Baby is already an all-time-great shit talker, a charming scoundrel who makes the most debased jeers seem delightful, channeling a Bay Area bounce through Cash Money-era flamboyance. Bartier Bounty doubles down on fun-loving gangsta shit, at times problematic but perpetually irresistible. In the tape’s thumpers, accented by key-laced beats that are quintessential Detroit, he browbeats every single person that steps into his orbit. It’s substantial bully rap.

At just under an hour, Bartier Bounty is nearly seamless. There are 20 songs, though many are a single verse bookended by hooks. Still, Sada has a way of making one verse feel like an event. He seems under the thrall of his own mythology and entirely facetious at the same time. He raps about his .40 making someone do the Carlton Dance in a voice that is equal parts cartoonish and menacing, intentionally obscuring his exact mix of glibness and outrage. “Got my smart nigga with me, he aware of all apps/Pull up to a nigga crib fuckin’ with the Google Maps,” he quips on “Lunch Room,” casting an iPhone-using wingman as some black-hatted hacker in “CSI:Cyber.” The scenarios he presents and the ways he presents them become caricature.

Sada turns references about off-brand NBA players like DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Lauri Markkanen into gun punches. He’s masterful at flipping obscure similes into wisecracks (“Big brick of white look like Brock Lesnar/Got tester sliding everywhere ’cause I’m off-tether”), but he’s even better at presenting well-worn rap ideas in new forms. Doing Percocet and Actavis, wielding semi-auto pistols, and pinning the locations of crosstown rivals for future bad intentions: These are things you can hear in any Future song or Quavo verse, but Sada is constantly rearranging the context to euphoric ends. His sequences are simple but vivid: “FN turn the bar into a block party,” or “Got that chopper with the straps, look like I’m parachutin’.”

Keeping a relentless pace through Bartier Bounty, Sada slingshots through verses like the boys of SOB X RBE but syntactically follows Rakim’s grid philosophy, measuring each phrase perfectly to fit inside a given meter. His performances imply a measure of control that makes his writing that much more emphatic. The versatility is dizzying: His howled chants damn near jump out of the mix on “Mutombo,” yet he coos like a bare-chested R&B bad boy for “Aunty Melody.” He raps “Unkle Drew” with a gruff murmur that’s like an angry whisper: “Control the stage so good they comparin’ me to Elvis/But I ain’t like that nigga ’cause that nigga ain’t never sell shit,” he snarls with such insistence it seems plausible. Elvis, a hip-thrusting icon in his own right, was, of course, a great seller. But as with the rest of Bartier Bounty, it’s telling that Sada Baby can even make the joke, let alone sell it. In his songs, on his terms, on his turf, even a King can barely measure up against this gusto.


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