Lil Yachty burst out of Atlanta in 2016, part of a new generation of rap artists who were both web-savvy and aesthetically without borders. Slick, viral cuts propelled him to internet infamy, with his distinctive red locks becoming an iconic look for a colossal army of fans.
But that was then. Now 22 years old, he seems to have matured a little, growing out that red dye in the process, and his latest project grapples with this. 2018’s full length may have boasted it has ‘Nuthin’ To Prove’, but Lil Yachty returns to his central franchise once more for an entertaining if often unfulfilling coming-of-age instalment.
The production draws on some of the most vital names in the Southern rap community, but its the breadth of its 19 strong tracklisting is undermined by its adherence to an aesthetic that is heavy on digital trickery and arrives slathered in auto-tune.
The Earl On The Beat produced ‘Oprah’s Bank Account’ impressed with its Drake feature, while album standout ‘T.D.’ features Lil Yachty sparring alongside the indomitable Tierra Whack, joined by big-hitters A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator.
While its highs certainly punch through the stratosphere, ‘Lil Boat 3’ is weighed down by filler, its plethora of solo cuts beginning to blur into one as the album unfurls. Man-of-the-moment Future appears on ‘Pardon Me’, but it takes the late appearance of Young Thug on ‘Till The Morning’ to underline the album’s central fault – it’s simply too inward, too narrow, leaning too hard on one voice.
Part of a rap grouping who blew apart the rulebook, Lil Yachty’s prodigious work-rate – this is his fourth full-length in as many years – isn’t matched to a sense of focus.
At times, ‘Lil Baby 3’ comes close to grappling with maturity, but Lil Yachty’s version of adulthood feels distinctly shallow.
Words: Robin Murray
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