There’s no room for musical missteps in the era of the internet. If you rest on your laurels for one moment, someone will drop a banger and knock you off your pedestal. No one wants to be the next Desiigner.
Lil Yachty shoved his way into the mainstream in early 2016 with the fresh, bubbly trap of his debut mixtape Lil Boat. Compared to the dense, triplet-packed trap that dominated the charts up until that point, it was a nice change of pace and it was completely inescapable. Songs like “One Night” and “Broccoli” (with D.R.A.M.) enveloped frat parties from coast to coast and paved the way for Yachty to cement his spot at the top tier of modern rap ... and he missed. His 2017 debut album “Teenage Emotions” was a step back in all forms, and lukewarm reviews and sales made it clear that Yachty had one last shot to stay relevant. In the current music world, it’s two strikes and you’re out.
Yachty went all-in on what made him a star with his second studio album “Lil Boat 2.” When it was announced late last year, the name alone implied a return to the form of his original style. Now that it’s dropped, is that really the case? Is this the Yachty we’ve been waiting for?
For one, Yachty has learned that long hip-hop records in 2018 just aren’t a smart move. With 13 of 17 tracks coming in under three minutes, the album flows well. Sure, there are some dud songs, but they get by quick enough to not soil the experience of the album. Don’t make your albums needlessly long people (looking at you, Migos).
Speaking of Migos, the more Yachty evolves, the more he sounds like the fourth member of Migos. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a little sad compared to how original Yachty was at the beginning of his career. Trap is a flat circle, I guess. Migos’ leader Quavo drops a hell of a feature on the radio-ready track “TALK TO ME NICE.” For the most part, the features on LB2 come through great. YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s verse on “NBAYOUNGBOAT” might be my favorite of the bunch. I really hope this song’s the one that breaks through to the charts because it’s excellent.
Unfortunately, what makes this album shine in some parts ultimately prevents it from being anything more than decent. The generic trap overlay of nearly every track makes the album too safe to make an impact on the hip-hop landscape. It’s the Regular Spongebob of trap albums. Completely fine, but no risks were taken.
That might work for Yachty. It’s what he needed to stay relevant through this year because as “fine” as LB2 is, it’s a clear improvement over “Teenage Emotions,” which can now be left to time as a misstep in the clear-looking career of the young trapper. “Lil Boat 2” lies low in the water, but it floats. Yachty’s trending upwards once again.
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.