Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lil Yachty - Lil Boat 2 Review

By 2016, Trap was already in a problematic state of perpetual regurgitation. Popularity was skyrocketing with dozens of big names gleaming the prospective of cashing in on a genre that was cashing out, with hundreds of young hopefuls aiming to get a piece of the pie. One such name was Lil Yachty, now infamous thanks to his defiance in the face of mockery. Lil Boat, his debut mixtape, confounded as much as it intrigued, offering up a glimpse of what careless adolescents could achieve if they expressed their imagination and ignored the haters. Around the time of Summer Songs 2, with Yachty fever sweeping what was now being referred to as Bubblegum Trap, Fadar released a mini-documentary on the Atlanta rapper's screwball world, one in which derisive and teasing remarks from his friends about Yachty's Fisher-Price beats and delicate singing lead to, with time, delusional head-banging and a flippant grin. It was the perfect representation of his style, and one that immediately became influential with the rise of equally-facetious artists like Lil Pump and Ugly God. However, as was to be expected, Yachty's debut album, Teenage Emotions, lost sight of the effortlessly silly and downright lovable by stripping the bubblegum flavor, leaving Yachty, a poor lyricist and vocalist, to fend for himself.

Lil Boat 2, off name alone, promised a rightful retrograde. He knew fans weren't pleased with convention replacing creativity, accepting the disappointing transgression wholeheartedly. The success of Lil Boat went beyond that though. It represented a flash in time, a moment where kids weren't bogged down by industry semantics or global fame. It felt like a pet project by teenagers who took their minimal understanding of quality and ran with it, as if it was the greatest asset they had. In other words, it couldn't be duplicated. While Lil Boat 2 fails to eclipse, or even approach its older brother, the 17-track, banger-filled funhouse gathers the crushed rubble and broken columns in an effort to rebuild the bridge that was burnt by Teenage Emotions. Risks are at a minimum, which comes as both a relief and an implicit disappointment. Yachty's cruel and offbeat singing rarely surfaces, appearing only on 'Self Made' and 'Love Me Forever,' which, not by coincidence, represent some of Lil Boat 2's worst material. Replacing them are a slew of bangers, none nearly as memorable as 'Wanna Be Us' or 'Minnesota,' but ones that won't offend or outrage. They're just woefully devoid of concepts, both musically and lyrically. Especially lyrically.

In spite of Yachty's rambunctious attitude, unusual demeanor, and embrace of the outcasts, his topics throughout Lil Boat 2 never deviate from Trap's derivative path. Money, money, money. Apart from the reflective, and entirely cliched, change-of-pace closer '66,' that's all Yachty's mind is consumed by. An original thought can't exist when one's too busy peppering their ego with eye-rolling one-upmanship. Not only does this make the 45 minutes of Lil Boat 2 difficult to consume on one listen (certainly not helped by the nine-track run of structurally-confined bangers), it reduces Yachty's notoriety for grabbable one-liners. That being said, a handful of these tracks muster enough energy, charisma, and temptation to satiate a senseless whip test. The first of which is 'Oops,' a sinister Trap rattler that finds a wonderfully unique (albeit brief) verse that's only partially hampered by the track's lack of progression beyond that. Interestingly enough, 'Oops,' along with other tracks like 'Mickey' and 'WHOLE Lotta GUAP,' invite the dark and perverse production choices by none other than 'Oops'' featured guest 2 Chainz, relating to some of his efforts on the under-appreciated Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.

Elsewhere, successes come at the cost of failures. For every 'NBAYOUNGBOAT,' which is a slick and slithering anthem, there's a 'Flex,' which meanders around empty boasts and disparaging assertions. In fact, it barely sounds more complete than an in-studio vocal warm-up and ego boost before one starts recording. 'FWM' and 'Count Me In' abide by the same mannerisms, in that they capture Yachty prepping using uncomplicated hooks and lazy flows. There's also the unmemorable filler of 'Get Money Bros,' 'WHOLE Lotta GUAP,' and the laughably narrow-minded Migos imitator 'Talk To Me Nice,' which features Quavo. Offset, as per usual, bests his counterpart on 'Mickey' and the surprisingly decent 'Baby Daddy.' As you can tell, Lil Boat 2 is an inconsistent affair, which has always been the case with Yachty's music. The highs never reach that of its original namesake, and certainly doesn't deserve to bare the name given the myriad of producer-for-hire Trap beats laced throughout, but the lows never plunge to Teenage Emotions' abysmal depths. Yachty's fourth project lands somewhere in-between, and as far as generic Trap records are concerned, this is one of the best in recent memory. Although given Culture 2, Huncho Jack, Super Slimey, and more, that's not saying much.

No comments:

Post a Comment