Arts

​Lil Yachty proves ‘nuthin’ on his new record

Despite Yachty’s growing fame and network, he has fallen deep into a hole of predictability and monotony with his latest record.

Image By: Photo Courtesy of Pitchfork

Last Friday, Lil Yachty released his third album titled Nuthin’ 2 Prove. The young, Atlanta-born artist found mainstream popularity through social media in 2016 with his hit “Minnesota” and feature on D.R.A.M.’s hit party song “Broccoli.” Dubbing himself as a “bubblegum trap” artist, Yachty’s first mixtape Lil Boat was received well by the internet, who loved his high, auto-tuned voice and pop-infused hip-hop style.

A member of Quality Control Music record label, Yachty has various peers with more established fan bases, such as Migos and Cardi B, as well as upcoming rappers like Lil Baby. Commercial success came to Yachty relatively fast — signing deals with Sprite, Target and Chef Boyardee over the past several years. Even non-fans are going to find it difficult to avoid Lil Yachty’s cherry-hued hair among the televised commercials.

Despite Yachty’s growing fame and network, he has fallen deep into a hole of predictability and monotony with his latest record — at 15 songs, this dreary album offers practically nothing in terms of creativity compared to his previous work or that of his contemporaries.

“Gimmie My Respect” starts the album off on a compelling note. Just under two minutes, it’s not necessarily a memorable opener, but it acknowledges that Yachty knows his reputation in the music game. The outro proclaims, “And I’m a 8-figure, muhfuckin’ 21year-old millionaire ... ” It would be foolish to attempt to deny his massive success, but this album won’t change the mind of his biggest music critics.

Certainly no one listens to Lil Yachty for his lyrical prowess, so the bar is already set low. Despite a lack of standards, throughout the album unimaginative repetition made some tracks practically unlistenable. “I’m The Mac” demonstrates that quality isn’t necessarily synonymous with popularity. Yachty croons, “Minor setbacks for major comebacks/ I’m the mack, I’m the mack” over and over again. The song should have been compressed into 20 seconds of material for everyone’s sake.

The production of the album was nothing memorable: no beat switch-ups or cool samples, just one trap beat after another, and few grabbed my attention. Many tracks depended on gimmicky features and auto-tune rather than actual content. The song “Get Dripped” mindlessly follows the mainstream formula that resembles over half of the songs on the Spotify RapCaviar playlist: a hot feature (Playboi Carti), an overly processed beat, ad-libs and cliché lyrics make for a song that is sure to do well with numbers but not for any special reason. This same structure can be found on “Yacht Club” and “Nolia” as well.

Yachty’s systematic organization allowed the album’s featured artists to overshadow him on nearly every track, displaying an unexpected low of the record itself. In the broody “Forever World,” Trippie Redd at least brings emotion to the love song, opposed to Yachty who comes in with the pitiful bars “Baby know I’m slime, real slime like a boa/ Baby, you a dime, I put diamonds from your neck to your toe-a.” Whereas once his lack of substance was compensated with humor, lyrics like these have ruined the latter as well.

The track “Who Want the Smoke?” was a high point for the album —- just not for Lil Yachty. He was aggressively out-rapped by Cardi B and Offset, both of whom provide assertive features which ultimately suffocated Yachty’s half-hearted verse. Additionally, Tay Keith’s eerie beats make the track into the abrasive, shot-firing banger it’s meant to be.

The theme throughout the album was incredibly stale. Most of the lyrics centered around superficialities: girls, money, clothes, guns and cars. This motif is put on display prominently in “SaintLaurentYSL” which is fairly representative of the lyrical quality of the entire album. Overdone — and at this point corny — Yachty singing about all the money he has and the girls he gets does nothing but drag him deeper into the oblivion of SoundCloud and sub-par trap rappers.

The closing track, “Stoney,” a glimmer of hope for Yachty, touching on fame and drug use with a somber tone, is averse to his usual glamorous way. It is a shame the album ends just when Yachty begins to tap into these issues, but hopefully it is something he will continue to explore in the future.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this album was what felt like the loss of 2016 Lil Yachty — the Lil Yachty that had a spark of potential to pave his own way and grow on his own terms. He was never strong with the technicalities, but there was something charming about Yachty’s high-pitched voice and quirky personality. However, this album lacks any notion of growth. Rather than delving further into his own individualistic element and style, Nuthin’ 2 Prove feels like Yachty is morphing into the mainstream trap scene of Migos, Future and all the other “Lils.” At least Lil Yachty thought through the name of his album; indeed he proved “nuthin” on this one.

Final Grade: D+

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