Yay, another deluxe album… I mean, Lil Yachty is a 23-year-old rapper from Atlanta, Georgia. After releasing his classic mixtape Lil Boat in 2016, things have been downhill for the rapper as albums like Teenage Emotions and Nuthin’ 2 Prove were borderline unlistenable. Earlier this year, he dropped the third installment of his Lil Boat series, and despite being a slight improvement, it was still nothing to write home about. Last weekend, Yachty gave us a new entry in the series titled Lil Boat 3.5. With features from Playboi Carti, Vince Staples, and more, will Lil Yachty be able to reclaim his once-prominent status?
Opposed to some of the other deluxe albums this year, Lil Boat 3.5 at least has a bit of creativity sprinkled within. From the bold but satisfying high pitch delivery on “Lil Diamond Boy” to the in-n-out flow on “Certified”, there’s a fair share of moments that are at the minimum fun to absorb. Still, this is nothing remotely near the Atlanta trapper’s peak artistry as most of the songs are either extremely dull or horribly structured. “Charmin'” forefronts these disasters with its awful team-up between Lil Boat and Colorado rapper Cochise who both give awful Playboi Carti impersonations. Speaking of Playboi Carti, his high energy mixed with Future’s memorizing hook and Yachty’s fierce vocals make “Flex Up” the record’s ultimate highpoint. Unfortunately, this is about as good as it gets, with the only other cut coming anywhere near its level being the Tik Tok trendsetter, “Coffin”. The most frustrating songs through these eight tracks are easily “Just How I’m Feelin'” and “In My Stussy’s”, which throw away solid verses from Lil Baby and Vince Staples, respectively. Best seen on the collaboration with singer/comedian Oliver Tree, “A****e”, a decent guest performance is completely butchered by the limited range and skill in Lil Yachty’s arsenal. While the vocal component of this record is savored through brief moments of greatness and rare occurring guest appearances, it’s a mess overall that offers nothing beyond its super shallow surface.
Sonically, there’s a soundtrack more integral than most current trap albums, but the basic four-beat instrumentals can only do so much. Going against the current industry standards with songs like the glamorous “Lil Diamond Boy” and the warping “Certified” is something surely worth appreciating, but it doesn’t do much without a competent MC backing it up. To our luck, a handful of these well-crafted instrumentals are more than enjoyable due to the previously stated verses and features. No instrumental plays its part better than “Flex Up” as its chaos builds up with each artist coming, and with its booming but simple trap drum, this cut embodies all the requirements for one unforgettable mosh anthem. Even the glitchy “In My Stussy’s” and tropical “A*****e” do well at holding together these messy moments’ atmosphere. The surefire sonic standout is the hard-hitting “Coffin”, as its catchy chord pattern and rapid drum fragments make for one memorable banger. Despite Lil Boat 3.5’s soundtrack doing nearly everything right, it’s not enough to make the album anything above average.
In conclusion, Lil Boat 3.5 is another mediocre entry under Lil Yachty’s slowly deprecating name. Although there are some standout performances, there is not nearly enough of them to make this album worth coming back to more than once. Going forward, its honestly sad to watch a once bright trap prodigy fall into irrelevancy, but if Lil Yachty keeps releasing LP’s of this level, he will be there sooner than later.
- High profile features don’t disappoint
- Interesting production choices
- Some bangers
- Lil Yachty doesn’t add anything new/innovative to his arsenal
- Yachty continues to show his inferiority to his contemporaries
- No strong force making the album feel like a full-fledged experience