Every Song Ranked on Lil Baby’s ‘It’s Only Me’ Album: Critic’s Picks

Two years after releasing his chart topping, four-times RIAA platinum-certified album My Turn and a year after his The Voice of the Heroes joint album with Lil Durk, Atlanta rapper Lil Baby returns this Friday with his follow-up studio LP, It’s Only Me.

The 23-track set, released on October 14 under Quality Control Music and Motown Records, runs about 65 minutes and boasts guest appearances from Future, EST Gee, Young Thug, Jeremih, Nardo Wick, Pooh Shiesty, Friday and Rylo Rodriguez. It’s Only Me’s cover art resembles a landscape painting that depicts a Mount Rushmore of Lil Baby, hovering over an image of the woozy-sounding rapper in nature, seated on a large rock.

It’s Only Me’s release comes as the 27-year-old born Dominique Jones continues to soar. His smash single with rapper Gunna, “Drip Too Hard,” was recently certified Diamond with sales of over 10 million copies. The “Yes Indeed,” “We Paid” and “The Bigger Picture” recording artist just closed out this year’s One Musicfest and released the FIFA World Cup’s official 2022 theme song, “The World is Yours to Take.”

The Grammy winner and co-headliner of the One of Them Ones tour with Chris Brown is the subject of a feature documentary, Untrapped, now streaming on Prime Video. Lil Baby is also co-producing the new BET+ unscripted series, The Impact Atlanta, and is featured in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II “Squad Up’ commercial.

The founder of the 4PF record label — who recently took home an MTV VMA for best hip-hop video alongside Nicki Minaj for “Do We Have a Problem” — Lil Baby utilizes the majority of It’s Only Me to shine light on his success, influence, family and intentions to not backtrack to his humble beginnings, growing up in Atlanta’s Oakland City area or doing prison time for drug charges. Fans can expect a more lyrically astute, confident rapper who knows his value and reminds the listener throughout his new project that with great power comes great responsibility.

Check out Billboard’s track ranking for It’s Only Me below.

23. “Danger”

It’s one of the few times on the album that Lil Baby’s pitch isn’t altered. The song has playful keyboards, a bouncing bass line and clucking beat to carry it. Its simplicity isn’t enough to carry the weight of this project, though.

22. “Stop Playin” (feat. Jeremih)

Its airy opening crawls into a melody and track that resembles a ticking clock. This time, Lil Baby abandons his flows for a more industrial R&B sound in conjunction with guest vocalist Jeremih. It’s always great to balance hard sounds with romantic material to capture the female fans. This, however, isn’t it.

21. “Everything”

Lil Baby laments over some ticking, hollow snares and a classical piano arrangement. He’s a hopeless romantic that gets into regular arguments with his love interest and has fallen out with envious friends. Despite it all, Lil Baby insists that he’ll press on, even with all he’s done for his failed relationships.

20. “Cost to Be Alive” (feat. Rylo Rodriguez)

Opening with jazzy piano chords, Baby is joined by his husky-voiced 4PF artist Rylo Rodriguez over a sparse drum pattern, to rejoice over where the duo are now. They’ve defied the odds in the streets and prison stints to live in affluent communities and live out their dreams as rap stars. It’s one of the weaker cuts on the set, though, falling somewhat flat beyond their self-awareness.

19. “FR”

After a while, the production starts to repeat itself, but this track is what anyone would expect from Lil Baby. It has all of the elements: the basic trap loop under a drowsy vocal. It’s nothing to truly write home about but does repeat how popular Baby is throughout music.

18. “Waterfall Flow”

Lil Baby enlists ATL Jacob and Ayo Slim to help him deliver a message to the ones that doubted him. Its bright and lush melody lets Lil Baby live in his glory: He’s a viral sensation and hitmaker that foots the bill for his friends. The rapper also recognizes his true calling and the responsibility he carries as a high-profile talent.

17. “Heyy”

Coming in with chopper-style drums courtesy of producers King LeeBoy, Harto Beats and Hoops, Lil Baby’s signature teeter-totter cadence is all for not letting the small things kill his mood. Whether it’s haters or his harshest critics, Lil Baby got his eyes on the prize and celebrating the fruits of his labor. The hook should definitely win him over a new legion of fans once he performs it live.

16. “Perfect Timing”

Lil Baby’s robotic croons smother acoustic guitar plucks, before the song sets into a groove of rock guitar, glowing keys and kick snares. Episodes like experiencing a close friend’s death or failed relationships because of drug abuse prompt Lil Baby to recalibrate his life on this track. It’s a wake-up call to know when exactly to make life changes and take a new direction down a new path.

15. “Forever”

Produced by Bizness Boi and Fortune Beats, a slurred and eerie vocal sample sets the mood for a broken-hearted Lil Baby. He’s part of a love triangle on the low, wining and dining his intended, and using a slightly lower vocal register to express his heartbreak. It gives Lil Baby one of his more sincere, softer moments on the entire set.

14. “Shiest Talk” (feat. Pooh Shiesty)

Lil Baby is joined by rapper Pooh Shiesty over a piano-driven simple drum track to emphasize that there’s nothing in the streets but trouble. They’ve seen their friends get killed, dealt with the cops and know the only way to escape is to take their rap careers seriously. It’s a basic continuum of Lil Baby’s evolution.

13. “Russian Roulette”

Lil Baby is confident that his best days lie ahead over the bluesy closing track. He’s survived numerous deaths of friends and family, but appreciates owning real estate, coming up in the game alongside his friends like Gunna, and making his grandma proud. It’s not over-the-top production-wise, but sets the perfect mood for redemption.

12. “No Fly Zone”

Now a father of two, Lil Baby knows the future looks bright for his immediate family. His life comes full circle from his roots in Atlanta to now being one of the biggest recording artists in the world. Lil Baby is concentrating on keeping it that way. At the same time, over the song’s driving handclaps, he expresses his determination to bless his queen with the finer things in life, now that he has the means to do so.

11. “Top Priority”

Lil Baby once again reiterates how his stardom has shifted his focus. He’s the breadwinner in his family, so he doesn’t partake in living on the internet or concerning himself with petty gossip. He’s making investments, winning music’s highest accolades and determined to not let anything or anyone interfere with his success.

10. “In a Minute”

Produced by Kaigoncrazy and Haze, Lil Baby has the luxury on this track of being on top of his game and sharing stages with other musical heavyweights but isn’t a stranger to the price of fame and what he’s sacrificed for superstardom. Over some breezy snare cracks, he acknowledges his incarcerated homies and recognizes that he’s a chosen one that’s changing the narrative.

9. “Never Hating” (feat. Young Thug)

The Young Thug-featured joint produced by Wheezy has Lil Baby borrowing some of Thugger’s rhythmic thunder for a little over two-and-a-half minutes. Lil Baby makes it clear that he’s keeping a close eye on leeches and sketchy folks in his space. Thugger, on the other hand, addresses the pocket-watchers that got something to say about his ostentatious taste.

8. “Not Finished”

The song’s opening prog-rock-inspired piano loops gives Lil Baby the space to combust on the hard track like a climax. Success has brought Lil Baby more than his fair share of thirst traps and pick-mes to exploit him, but he reiterates how committed he is to building his empire, despite all of the distractions. It’s arguably one of this album’s hardest cuts.

7. “From Now On” (feat. Future)

Tay Keith’s and Murda Beatz’s ears are the masterminds behind this haunted track. Lil Baby and Future, whose voice here resembles a broken speakerphone connection, tag team to make some plays, but also to give hustlers a cautionary tale on how to move in silence. Lil Baby even whispers discreetly as the song fades out.

6. “Double Down”

It’s clear from the beginning that Lil Baby is in a much better place financially and spiritually. The misty, island-inspired melody under Baby’s crisp voice assures he’s going after longevity as an artist and keeping a positive outlook on life. It could very well work as a great radio single.

5. “Back and Forth” (feat. EST Gee)

Lil Baby, Louisville rapper EST Gee and producer Tay Keith join forces on this banger. For two minutes, the rappers go bar for bar about their rise to the top, and how they respect each other’s status and hoods well before the rap game. The collaboration will end up on repeat.

4. “Stand on It”

The rapper that “got his name from shootin’ dice and sellin’ n—as weed” is determined to not be flash in a pan. He doesn’t forget where he comes from, but allows his disorienting tone to blur and periodically obscure his message. One thing for certain is that Lil Baby is a man of integrity.

3. “Pop Out”

Lil Baby spits one of his clearest verses over one of the entire project’s hardest tracks. The production shifts a minute and twenty seconds in with an adrenaline-raising switch-up to accompany Nardo Wick’s grimy, sinister delivery. Lil Baby then circles back over that same menacing beat, and hits the hook with a breathy pace similar to Nardo’s.

2. “Real Spill”

A sample of Sade’s somber “The Big Unknown” sets the mood before Lil Baby kicks game over booming handclaps about where his massive success has changed his life for the better. He comes off self-aware and determined to turn all of his morbid past into positives to improve life for his family and intimate circle. The album opener kicks off the 23-track collection with a great start.

1. “California Breeze”

Lil Baby’s life turning over a new leaf means relocating from Atlanta to the West Coast. Fame has afforded Lil Baby a taste of the good life, warm weather, and the disbelief that his life has taken a complete 180. It’s the perfect song to throw on in the whip for a nighttime cruise.

Sierra Porter