The neo-realism of Baby Gang puts us at a crossroads

The neo-realism of Baby Gang puts us at a crossroads

At life's most difficult crossroads, and even at the most interesting ones, there is no signage. There are no instructions for use. Baby Gang is at a crossroads: get out of the murky and uncomfortable world from which he was spat out by definitively putting his great talent at the total service of musicor go back, in the hell of delinquency to which he already seemed predestined at a very young age.

A social elevator

It's not a question of “making money to put an end to the past”, there is something deeper that has to do with redeeming an existence. He says it openly even in his bars soaked in creative nitroglycerin: “I want to go to heaven. I don't need a Visa or a repentant face, this life, even as a rich person with money, will suck”. Rap, more than ever in the case of the rapper from Lecco, is a true social elevator capable of changing the coordinates of a path. But there is no confusion under his sky, anger yes, like the one he must have felt when at the last minute he was prevented by the judge from coming to tell his new music to journalists or from playing live at the Forum in Milan, but no confusion. “A pen can hurt more than a weapon,” she raps with a new awareness in “In Italia 2024”. And let it be clear, there is no victimization or justification for his mistakes, not even on the part of the writer.

“You are still involved”

Baby Gang, today under house arrestin reality he seems to have already made his choice: “The angel of evil”, his new album, is a great megaphone. It is the album by the most listened to Italian rapper in Europe, it is an album that, deliberately, to raise everyone's voice together, brings together the most important names on the Italian scene (Paky, Blanco, Marracash, Emis Killa, Jake La Furia, Geolier, Gemitaiz, MadMan, Lazza, Tedua, Sfera Ebbasta, Guè, Simba La Rue, Rocco Hunt, Niko Pandetta, Fabri Fibra, Ernia and Rkomi), and is therefore already destined for the triumph of numbers thanks to the push of the new generations. But it would be simplistic to address it “only” through the coldness of the data. “Even if you believe yourselves absolved, you are still involved”, sang De André. Yes why at that crossroads there are also all those who Paola Zukar, quoting Alberto Moravia, defined as “the indifferent”, called upon to make a choice when faced with an album of this type: listen to what Baby Gang has to say or reject it a priori? Make an effort, even by turning your values ​​upside down, on the other hand, art is wonderful for this too, or judge without appeal? To scratch the indifference and avoid reducing Baby Gang to just any rapper with multiple platinum records and that's it, understanding how his music is a true Bildungsroman in which one can move from darkness to lightwould be the true, liberating victory for his journey.

A sound from the street

On that labile border, on that mixture, between “good” and evil”as also demonstrated by the cover and the title of the project, Baby Gang has built a neo-realist album in which he spits out his life with the corrosive shot of rap. And he does it with a strength and flair that hasn't been seen in Italy for years because it forces us to confront our values ​​from an uncomfortable perspective. The initial bomb pieces as “Guerra”, “Bloods&Crips”, in which there seems to be no breathing space, and “Gangster”in which he confesses “money, weapons and drugs have gone to my head”, start the fire, but there's more: songs like “Adrenalina” with Blanco and Marracash or “Liberi”, one of the tracks that should be listened to by the “indifferent”, shows a Baby capable of ranging and not closing himself in just battle rap. And there is also “play” as a photographer, for example, “Italiano” with Niko Pandetta, and a dive into the clearest feelings, but not stripped by the pain of loneliness: “Sola” with Lazza and Tedua. “L'angelo del male” is a record that feeds on the street, in terms of story, but also of sound: there is rap, electronics, Latin, references to the melodies and words of migrants, or rather all the soundtracks that envelop the asphalt of our cities and provinces. Higashiwho oversaw most of the productions, proves himself to be very strong in sculpting the right sound for Baby's voice, a sound rich in culture and hip hop references.

A neo-realist album

Between fathers locked in penitentiaries, Christmas and birthday gifts never received, drug dealing, hunger, violence, invisibility, social envy, Baby Gang traces its history. The crossroads is always there, as he reminds us in “Social Worker” with Simba La Rue, between school desks and crimes. Baby Gang does not ape the American imagination, in “Millionaire” he raps “this is not Atlanta”, but he drags us into those degraded urban centers, ours, of which we often forget the most terrible aspects. Not everything is perfectly in focus, there are also clever attempts to create radio pieces such as “Gangster Serenade” with Rocco Hunt which, however, do not water down the project.

May this album not be like the others, an album worked with great difficulty due to the limitations to which the rapper is subject, the guests understood it toowho drop some of their best bars in recent years: listen up “Huracan” with Gemitaiz and Madman o “Do you see me” with Fibra, Ernia, Rkomi and Geolier. The guests, as happens less and less often in a rap album, really enrich the songs at this time. In “Venom,” the closing track, Baby Gang, is about darkness and the death of heroesin particular theSpidermanalmost recalling the hit of 883. In the world of ruins that he paints, with a dirty, painful and vivid poetics, contrary to all predictions, we save ourselves, perhaps, by ourselves.