Lil Boat shows progress, but still lacks cohesiveness.
Lil Yatchy dropped off his third studio album, and second album of the year, with Nuthin' 2 Prove. As the title suggests, Yachty has found himself with a swell of confidence that allowed him to take this project on with the bar set apathetically low. His freshman effort, Teenage Emotions, solidified his lead on the "bubblegum trap" genre, but was largely considered a disappointment to fans. After mediocre sales and mixed reviews, Lil Boat made a U-Turn and dropped a second album entitled Lil Boat 2. His sophomore effort catered to his built-in audience and was received in a much more positive light than Teenage Emotions. With Nuthin' 2 Prove, Yachty exudes a sense of awareness, confidence and a nonchalant attitude all at once. There's a lot of sentiment packed into the succinct title, leaving it up for interpretation-- is "Nuthin 2 Prove" meant as a slight towards his fans (who seemingly turned on him) or his critics (constant detractors that they are), or else, is it just a reminder, a motivational note-to-self (in the sense that, Yachty's got this, he's got nothing to worry about)? Is there a chip on Yachty's shoulder? Based on the title alone, it could seem that way. However, Yachty's new album isn't filled with contempt or scorn.
While the title might seem ambivalent, the first song on the project is called "Gimme My Respect." It's a strong opening statement, lending the title more to his haters than anyone else. It's a bit of vicious circle sadly, though, while Yachty doesn't want to prove himself, he needs to, in order to gain that respect. However the moment is brief and passes all too quickly-- at only 1 minute and 48 seconds. The rest of the album is basically split between trap bangers and melodic croonings, an easy route, to be sure.
The first half of the album is dedicated to the trap genre, and features some of the best production on the project. "Get Dripped" featuring Playboi Carti emphasizes a head-knocking instrumental that stands out as one of the best singles on the album. Carti outshines Yachty, employing a creeping flow that weaves its way around the video game sampled instrumental. "Riley From The Boondocks" sounds like an immaculate idea for a song, but Yachty fumbles the concept and relies on rapping about familiar topics instead of capitalizing off the potency of The Boondocks.
"Who Want The Smoke?" featuring Cardi B and Offset stands out as the last rap track before Nothin' 2 Prove dives into autotune territory. Cardi blazes through the track with a verse that sounds like it belongs nowhere but on this record. She commandeers "Who Want The Smoke?" as her own, dousing the flame of testosterone with a warrior Queen vibe. Yachty's rap half of Nothin' 2 Prove lacks lyrical prowess, but we didn't pick up the album for bars anyway. It would have been entertaining to hear Lil Boat deliver hard-hitting verses, but he stumbles between incoherent punchlines and playful musings. Yachty shines when he appears to try the least, like on "We Outta Here!" featuring Young Nudy. Lil Boat rambles, “Got bitches like XO/ I’m more dog, no Petco/ Boomin' just like Metro.” His comfort on a record can look like laziness at times, and it truly does feel as if Yachty went into the booth with a “nothing to prove” attitude here.
The second half of the album finds Yachty singing in auto-tune. As expected, the more mellow half of Nuthin' 2 Prove features a handful of songs geared towards the ladies. The lowest point comes on "Everything Good, Everything Right," which plays the like a hybrid between a forgettable child’s lullaby and a teenage pop anthem. The chorus, comprised of computerized “ah, ah, ah, ahs," make it seem like Yachty was just playing with his vocals on whim and decided to leave it on the record-- but once again it provides an example of Yachty’s confidence and indifference. Unlike on “We Outta Here!” though, Lil Boat’s unconcerned mentality does not translate to a great single here. The high point on the second half of the project, and a personal favorite, is "Forever World" featuring Trippie Redd. The instrumental samples "Soon As I Get Home" by Faith Evans. The addicting R&B single finds strength in the collaborative efforts of Redd, who uses his patented raspy croon to add authentic emotion to the banger. Yachty performs in top form, solidifying the love song as one of the best songs on the album.
“Fallin In Love” featuring Gunna marks the third collaboration between the artists, and their chemistry works in their favor. Collaborating with an artist that shares Yachty’s penchant for crafting auto-tuned bangers appears to have prompted Lil Boat to take his time on this one-- it feels as though there was a carefulness in the creation of this record. “I done fell in love once again,” admits Lil Boat, revealing his attachment to the material and sensual pleasures around him. Gunna concurs. While the "bubble gum trap" sound is still wrapped around Nuthin' 2 Prove, Lil Boat does find himself in more introspective waters than usual. For example, on "Nolia" featuring Kevin Gates, Yatchy drops street knowledge in an effort to match Gates' introspective persona. "Danny told gang if he lie to your eye/ 'Cause them folks lose it, they start switchin' sides/ Cussin' went down, all I could say was, "Damn"/ Told him you gotta cut loose of your ties," raps Yachty.
The step away from playful bars or insipid melodies alongside Gates was a refreshing addition to Nuthin' 2 Prove. It displays maturity from Yachty, and begs listeners to question what would happen if the young start rapped like he did have something to prove after all. Still, the unsophisticated bangers like "I'm the Mac" are staples in any Yachty's fan diet, but ultimately equate more to fast food-- it leaves you full, but the feeling is fleeting. If you're already a Yachty fan, this one will sit well with you. For all others, Nuthin' 2 Prove is a mediocre project that has a few bangers tucked away beneath uninspired throwaways.