I half-remember that Quality Control compilation record from last year calledControl the Streets Volume 1. It featured Lil Yachty, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Cardi B, each and every Migo, Young Thug, City Girls, Gucci Mane, and Lil Baby. But if you put a gun to my head and confiscated my laptop, I couldn’t say, on pain of death, whether or not it included a song called “Blow Like a Whistle” featuring Quavo and YRN Lingo. Was Ty Dolla $ign hanging around? Did Tee Grizzley show up? Who knows? It passed through me like water.
Quality Control Music, Migos’ label, is the most influential rap label of the last half-decade, but it’s never been keen on quantity control. That collective groan you heard from the music media when Migos’ Culture II turned out to be a 24-song, 105-minute, algorithm-friendly opus was just an acknowledgement of the inevitable. And we’ll hear it again soon. Culture III is apparently due for an early 2019 release, but, before that drops, Takeoff and Offset are supposed to follow the monotonous QUAVO HUNCHO with solo records of their own. QC is either hell-bent on flooding the market, terrified of telling its artists that some of their songs are filler, or fascinated by seeing what sticks when they hurl things at the wall.
This may be a decent-enough business model in the streaming era, but in the case of Lil Yachty, whose third LP, Nuthin’ 2 Prove, is out via Quality Control/Colombia/Motown today, it might be stifling some potential. In the 18 months since we called him the “future of music,” Yachty has released two full-length albums—the 21-song Teenage Emotions and the 17-track Lil Boat 2. The former showed flashes of the exuberance and inventiveness that made him such an exciting presence on his early mixtapes, but for every unique, pop-rap experiment he cooked up, there was a hunk of cookie cutter trap. Lil Boat 2merely took those dull moments and stretched them out into something seemingly interminable.
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