Lil boat, big problems

The self-proclaimed “King of Teens,” Lil Yachty, has been at the forefront of today’s hip-hop discussions since his single “One Night” went viral and catapulted him into the social media limelight.

Since then, the 20-year-old has completely seized the opportunity. He’s marketed himself amazingly well, wedging his way into pop culture’s mainstream and even earning himself a Target commercial spot with Carly Rae Jepsen.

Despite the masterful marketing he’s been showcasing, he has yet to legitimize himself in the eyes of hiphop’s gatekeepers. Yachty himself has expressed a disdain for people labeling him and keeping him in a certain style.

Yachty has been known for his more playful and childish demeanor. On his debut mixtape, “Lil Boat,” fans fell in love with his carefree and goofy attitude. He wasn’t dropping verses that were lyrically dense but flowed well and just sounded fun.

On his last album, “Teenage Emotions,” Yachty decided to focus more on the melodies of his tracks and less on the rapping itself. His fans got more of what they love from him, but he had yet to silence those who have been vocal in their disapproval of the 20-year-old. On “Lil Boat 2,” Yachty seemed to set out to prove those critics wrong, but unfortunately for him, he only gave them more fuel.

Throughout the album, Yachty puts his usual easy-going demeanor aside and puts on a more serious tone. Yachty seemed determined to use “Lil Boat 2” to show listeners he can produce a more conventional sound, using familiar-sounding trap beats to rap over. However, he pushes too hard in this direction and ultimately ended up making something that sounded bland and generic.

The track “POP OUT” is a perfect look at what went wrong with this album. It opens up with a dark and ominous build up, followed by Yachty dropping verses that would probably be bested at your local high school lunch table. He and featured artist JBan$2Turnt, who is a member of Yachty’s crew, Sailing Team, use the “yeah” ad-lib a total of 67 times. I found myself getting more and more annoyed as the song went on.

Admittedly, “Lil Boat 2” isn’t completely terrible. It has a solid collection of features from artists like Quavo, Offset, 2 Chainz and Lil Pump, just to name a few. One of the album’s brightest moments comes on the track “BABY DADDY,” which features two of the biggest names in hip-hop right now, Lil Pump and Offset. Pump’s verse comes in giving some much needed contrast to the slower and more relaxed flows of Yachty and Offset.

In a recent interview in Genius, Yachty claims to have cut out a lot of material from the album, which is surprising seeing as how the album has 17 tracks. Despite the seemingly excessive amount of tracks, the entire album only last 44 minutes and 53 seconds. Only three songs are longer than three minutes, and even then, none of those go over 4 minutes.

As mentioned earlier, Yachty is no stranger to criticism, as seen by the themes of “Lil Boat 2.” Mentions of his haters sprinkle the album throughout, and although this theme isn’t uncommon in hiphop, it feels fake and disingenuous seeing how he seemingly changed his whole style up to try and please them. “Lil Boat 2” should be a lesson in not trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

Understandably, as an artist you have to take risks as you grow you craft. However, Yachty should have taken the qualities that earned him the attention in the first place.

Yachty seemed to be more worried about rapping more than making music that sounds good. The result is a boring album that is void of the personality that made him as popular as he is today.