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—by Kemet High
“[I] honestly couldn’t name five songs from Tupac and Biggie,” Lil Yachty said in an interview two years ago with Billboard. If you’re a hip hop/rap head, like myself, you probably couldn’t believe what you were hearing or seeing. As rap peacefully made its mainstream transition to a mumble and trap rap takeover in 2016, it was hard to believe that a rapper, who couldn’t name five songs from two legends, would be at the forefront of the game. In cases like this, the music has to matter over the words and hold its own. The fact of the matter is that -- despite what he was saying -- Yachty’s music has been one of the many few flavors that have kept the rap game rich.
He came out of the gate firing with Lil Boat. Alter egos haven’t been that hot or properly executed since Nicki Minaj and “Roman’s Revenge.” After his single “1Night” broke social media, it’s almost certain that you were pointed in the direction of this mixtape. Whatever curiosity you had, it was pleased because we got Yachty full circle on this one. Understanding that we would benefit from both forms of his artistry before being hit with it in “Intro” we met both Lil Yachty and Lil Boat. Lil Boat is industry ready, presented with slick witted bars and rapid flow. He is the side that proves he can actually rap. And Lil Yachty is presented as all the thoughts floating around your head on a daily basis with melodic, lighthearted singing. In Lil Yachty’s career, he constantly flips the switch between Lil Yachty and Lil Boat. But, he doesn’t miss when he meshes both, like he did in his new album Nuthin’ 2 Prove.
It’s almost impossible to ignore the heat Lil Yachty has been putting out this year. Lil Boat 2 was a slap in the face to anyone who downplayed his music because of what he said about Pac and Biggie, or anyone who flat out said he couldn’t rap. And Nuthin’ 2 Prove came to collect the respect. Both projects equally show Lil Yachty and Lil Boat, as they’re filled with "colorful trap." “Colorful trap” is hard in its production and gritty with its content. Yet, it’s just light enough to the point where you can float on it, as Yachty does. As listeners, we typically don’t want just one sound on a project. On Nuthin’ 2 Prove, we get plenty of proof that the skill is undeniable. I think Yachty’s right and he’s been right. We have to give this man his respect.
If you were on a label with Migos, you would probably be going hard, too, because they’ve become real-life superstars. Often we reference them, Future, or Young Thug when we talk about the new kings of Atlanta. But, we fail to realize that Yachty is just as royal. Unlike Lil Baby and Gunna, Yachty has been putting out consistent music for years now and even if he’s not getting crowned the new king, being in the conversation is no longer an option. Yachty's first track on Nuthin' 2 Prove is “Gimme My Respect” and it's an ode to the entire project. If people didn’t want to give Yachty his credit, he looked to change all minds through the music. Tracks like “Riley From The Boondocks” and “Fallin’ In Luv” are filled with so many flows and bars that you can catch new ones each time you listen.
The beats will have your body shaking like the spin cycle on a washing machine. Featuring production from 30 Rock, MitchGoneMad, and Earl The Pearll; the beats are filled with arcade dings and dongs, and whistles that pleasantly work well with the trap snares and bass. From back in the Burberry Perry days, the almost childish production creates bliss, no matter how hard the lyrics or drum kit is following. Whether the track was coated with Lil Yachty or Lil Boat, the beats were effusive enough to stand on their own.
He said give him his respect, but that doesn’t mean to take it from someone else. Nuthin’ 2 Prove is star-studded with people who came in the game around the same time as Yachty; such as Playboi Carti on “Get Dripped” and the newly released Kevin Gates on “Nolia.” Lil Yachty seems to rarely deny the talent of his peers, but better yet wants people to know that they’re all eating together, hence the tracks with Trippie Redd and Lil Baby, too. Along with a few new introductions of collaborations with Young Nudy on “We Outta Here!,” which gives “Mickey” vibes from Lil Boat 2, and “Yacht Club” with Chicago’s newest monster Juice WRLD; what works best in Yachty’s collaborations is the fact that everyone can breathe. Trading bars allows for an immediate contrast between two sounds, allowing them to coexist together rather than one after the other. “Yacht Club” and “SaintLaurentYSL” are prime examples as to how Yachty is never outdone or under-met on his collaborations.
If you’ve been letting Lil Yachty slip through the cracks of your headphones, but somehow want to put this project in rotation, then you came to the right place. Nuthin’ 2 Prove is Lil Yachty as an artist in every way. But, the problem with that is the fact that he’s failed to expand. For those who have been listening these past couple of years, it’s the same ride, just with different turns and twists. As much as you want an artist to stay genuine to how they sounded when you first fell in love with them, a full reign cannot be fulfilled without some sort of evolution. Unfortunately, I don’t think we got that with this project. But, truthfully speaking, this may not even be the time because Yachty clearly felt that some listeners needed to catch up.
Especially with this new wave of rappers the flood of projects has only gotten heavier, which means that each new or old rapper has to hold their own. The main reason Lil Yachty has been able to do that is the fact that he has transformed the genre of rap -- at least on a new school level -- pass what it has been. His ability to blend moods on a song, rather than just genres has made it hard to ignore or dislike all of the songs he releases. As an artist and like his XXL classmates, Lil Yachty has eliminated the restriction of what a rapper “sounds like” by creating compiled sounds of any imagination, whether that reflects Lil Yachty or Lil Boat. Lil Yachty has been up to bat in 2018 and this is surely his second home run. You don’t have to prove yourself to us, Yachty. We hear you.
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