Published Apr 19, 2018The sentence "Diddy's son grew up to become a Soundcloud rapper" sounds like a setup for a joke, but Christian "King Combs" Combs isn't playing around at all on his debut mixtape, 90's Baby. Blending the best beats of the '90s with his father's shiny suit swag and a contemporary charm that's all his own, Combs expertly revives the lavish, opulent sound that marked the tail end of East coast golden-era rap.
It would have been easy to rest on his laurels, release a handful of lazy rhymes and use his family name to attract flashy, big-time collaborators, but thankfully, Combs seems intent on developing his own voice. Through his beat selection and his braggadocios rhymes, Combs proves himself to be both an astute student of '90s hip-hop and a budding talent in his own right.
Songs like "Eyez on C," "No Way Out" and "Bad Girl" strike the perfect balance between delightful nostalgia and forward-facing modernity. Combs and his CYN collective exhibit perfect chemistry on the crew cut "Smoove Shit" (what's a '90s mixtape without a crew track?), and he even manages to make Diddy's "Senorita" less terrible than the '97 original, with a more emphasized bass line and a cadence much smoother than his dad could ever hope to deliver.
Overall, 90's Baby is vintage enough to delight those who grew up with Bad Boy Records, but fresh enough to keep from sounding dated. A great warmup from a promising talent. (Bad Boy)