Lil Yachty

Lil Boat 2

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The 2017 album Teenage Emotions was anticipated enough to make a Top Five debut on the Billboard 200, but "Peek a Boo," thanks in part to the presence of Migos, was its lone single to leave a commercial impression. Possibly sensing that he'd need to switch it up to stay afloat, Yachty truly raps on the sequel to his first mixtape. Lil Boat 2 doesn't pick up where the source of "One Night" and "Minnesota" left off, characterized instead by antagonism that comes off as defensive -- and sometimes disgruntled -- rather than mischievous. Yachty makes for a satisfactorily skilled rapper in terms of technique, and even tends to hold his own with a supporting cast that includes Migos' Quavo and Offset, Tee Grizzley, and 2 Chainz. As a lyricist, however, he's unexceptional, rhyming "Bentley truck" with "bubble butt," ending a litany of lines with the same word, and frequently sounding ill at ease with his teenage years in the distance. There's an abundance of low-wattage boasts about financial and libidinal surpluses, most of which could have been composed by a generator. Softer and more melodic cuts are indicated with all-lowercase track titles. The PnB Rock collaboration "she ready" and "love me forever," the only two tracks in this vein, are as silly and bizarrely endearing as anything in Yachty's past. It's no coincidence that they're the moments during which the hip-hop police don't seem to be in his head. If Yachty can find a way to be his goofy self and elevate his writing, he can rebound.

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