Aitch returns with ‘Baby’: a throwback to hip hop’s golden era

Sampling Ashanti’s early 2000s R&B track Rock Wit U (Awww Baby), Aitch’s new single Baby has the feel of a 90s West Coast classic.

In the sun-soaked video clip, Aitch sports a new uniform. In a gold watch, sunnies and colourful short-sleeved shirts, the artist lives it up in a seaside mansion, complete with a red leather 70s Cadillac. It’s a long way from the grey monotony of Manchester’s industrial ruins where Aitch hails from.

This music is destined for the club. The hip-swinging groove of the production and Aitch’s smooth flow will be irresistible to any dancefloor. Imagine the ocean of moving bodies enjoying Baby, which is an ode to relationships, we can assume that Aitch will have some seriously star-struck fans.

Aitch Baby single cover
Aitch ‘Baby’ single cover

Wake up lookin’ sexy and she stunning when she pose/Close to perfect when she naked and she curvy in the clothes”, Aitch raps cheekily. “Get the Lamborghini white, I paint the Urus like her toes/Ain’t no other brother got her this certi and she knows (young Aitch)”.

Despite the male gaze and the pursuit of luxury, a hip hop trope as old as time itself, there’s also a humbleness and a level of respect – a recognition that Aitch only has his eyes on one woman, which he really does. Aitch recently revealed publicly that he is courting Chicken Shop Date creator Amelia Dimoldenberg and it is Dimoldenberg who features at the end of the video clip.

The music is also destined for the tinny speakers of a time capsule, low-slung convertible – music that will bounce and wriggle as you travel down a pot-holed road of Swiss cheese bitumen with the windows down on a 40-degree afternoon. It’s a nostalgic throwback to the golden era of hip hop.

That Aitch is straight outta Manchester is no problem. Picture the scene. It’s a frosty evening. A crowd swells and bobs in an estate car park. Bottles clink. It’s all cheap champagne and Buckfast. People exhale clouds that billow in opaque sheets like satin pillowcases on a washing line. Baby blasts from a boot-installed subwoofer of a modified Citroen Saxo VTR. It’s just a temporary reprieve from the grime and drill, but white teeth glint in the dark. A group sitting on the brick walls of the car park, feet dangling free, cease talking and turn their heads.

Baby is guaranteed to get a whole block party moving. It’s sure to grab your attention.

For a modern-day poet who rose to fame off the back of lyrically-dense tracks and video clips filmed in estate playgrounds and car parks (recollect: Back to Basics and Straight Rhymez), the change of direction may be disorientating. Not everyone will be pleased. Some may accuse the rapper of selling out.

Gone is the grit of eye-level UK street corners. “You’re stepping on the fine line, the roof will get raised/Like the London city knife crime”, Aitch rapped once upon a time. This new track is comparatively sanitised.

It’s hard to say if his latest single is just a bit of fun or a sign of what is to come. It’s certainly not a complete surprise with Aitch releasing more chart-focused music recently. Regardless, it’s a sure sign of Aitch’s versatility and it is rife with the artist’s trademark wit. This man truly can rap over any beat.

Baby is available to purchase/ stream now.

Watch the full video for Aitch’s Baby below.