If you name your album Nuthin’ 2 Prove, it means that you’re well aware you have sumthin’ to prove but are not confident you can deliver OR you rap under the name Lil Yachty and you really couldn’t care less about pleasing the rap illuminati.
Artists emerging from the current Atlanta rap scene have the endearing and refreshing quality of not taking themselves too seriously. Lil Yachty has been a leader in this movement, with his palette of often goofy voices and simplistic tongue-in-cheek lyrics. He really nailed this aesthetic in his first EP, Lil Boat, in 2016 and fans have yearned for a release that hits these notes of childlike innocence and creativity in quite the same way. Nuthin’ 2 Prove gets very close and fans of the Quality Control rapper might be pleasantly surprised. Even though he doesn’t care what you think. Because he has nothing to prove. So there.
The first thing that struck me about the album is how much thought Yachty put into the overall structure of the album, which is an often overlooked quality in modern rap. The first half of the album transitions from his more bombastic, arrogant rap persona, usually referred to as Lil Boat, gradually moving to the sweeter autotuned crooner style, introduced as Lil Yachty.
There are hits and misses in both these dualities with tracks like “Riley From The Boondocks” creating a well-crafted, dark soundscape. However, some songs like “I’m The Mack” are a little too exposed, with underdeveloped lyrics placed over generic beats.
The second duality features tracks like “Worth It” and “Everything Good, Everything Right”, and shows that Yachty’s softer side is definitely the most interesting and listenable. His innocent charm and quirky sincerities shine through in the lyrical content of these tracks. The instrumentation has a 90s R&B nostalgia quality that wouldn’t be out of place on a Tamia track. You’ll even find a sample of Faith Evans’ 1995, “Soon As I Get Home” thrown in, just in case you didn’t pick up on the vibe already.
The stand out track, an obvious choice for lead single, “Who Want To Smoke” sees Yachty getting back to the simple hooks and malleable vocal delivery that made him. Despite the fairly cookie-cutter production from Tay Keith, Cardi B delivers a stereotypically fun and taunting verse. Comparing herself to Jay-Z and being “the king of New York” is classic antagonistic Cardi and I’m sure many fans will have a fun time attacking her for this claim. Although the track ends rather abruptly at the end of Offset’s verse it actually makes for a comically jarring transition into the softer back half of the album.
Lil Yachty fans who like his rap persona, will find a few tracks that they enjoy and fans who enjoy the autotuned crooner persona will definitely enjoy the back end of this album, so I think we can count that as a win for Lil Yachty… despite the fact he has nuthin’ 2 prove. So back off.
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Lil Yachty: ‘Nuthin’ 2 Prove’ Album Review: Featured Image Credit: Capitol Records