NBA YoungBoy – The Last Slimeto

Baton Rouge rapper embraces freedom...

NBA YoungBoy is one of the hardest working rappers in the game. New project ‘The Last Slimeto’ is his third official album release in three years, a discography featuring a collective haul of some 52 tracks. It’s an achievement made all the more remarkable by the Baton Rouge figure’s legal difficulties; following a lengthy wrangle, NBA YoungBoy was cleared by a Los Angeles court of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a felon. Embracing freedom, ‘The Last Slimeto’ seems to tap into both the paranoia of his world and the elation of release; a blast of creativity, its messy, but also enthralling.

Eschewing much of the production tropes of his contemporaries, ‘The Last Slimeto’ frequently has a live-in-the-studio. Understated opener ‘I Know’ has plenty of soul, while ‘Hold Your Own’ features some slick guitar lines. ‘Top Sound’ even has a reggae-lilt, its tropical vibes reaching towards the freedoms of summer.

At a whopping 30 tracks, not everything lands. ‘Umm Hmm’ struggles to assert itself, while ‘Lost Soul Survivor’ is submerged in effects. Yet the album is worth persevering with – Kehlani link up ‘My Go To’ is golden, a moment of pure emotion, while the taut song title ‘Fuck Da Industry’ gives way to probing lyrics on the nature of fame, and the pressures placed on young artists.

NBA YoungBoy – The Last Slimeto

Largely eschewing feature-culture to finesse his own voice, there’s a feeling of NBA YoungBoy speaking his pure, unadulterated truth on this album. ‘Loner Life’ is framed by classical guitar, yet ‘7Days’ is almost old school in its production palette, all sweeping turntable swipes and boom bap percussion. Curiously, the few features on here come close to stealing the show; ‘Home Ain’t Home’ is a nimble, deeply affecting workout featuring Rod Wave, while Quavo’s turn on the defiant ‘Don’t Rate Me’ is one of the best we’ve heard from the Migos co-founder in some time.

Spread across its 30 track span, ‘The Last Slimeto’ can be a jarring, contradictory experience. The bravado of ‘Kamikaze’ and ‘Swerving’ for example, is contrasted with ‘Slow Down’, ‘Holy’, ‘Grim Reaper’ or even the self-explanatory finale ‘I Hate YoungBoy’. The Baton Rouge rapper is unafraid to double-back, allowing fans to pick out their own vision of the rapper from the glittering mosaic on show.

At times frustrating, ‘The Last Slimeto’ is never less than entertaining. A bracing, defiant gesture, it finds NBA YoungBoy embracing freedom with both hands.

6/10

Words: Robin Murray

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