ALBUM REVIEW: Lil Yachty, Michigan Boy Boat
Michigan doesn't just have a popping rap scene due to the distinct beat mechanics and run-on flows, most of the credit lies with the artists themselves. It’s like Mortal Kombat, choose your character. Do you want the raspy voiced, husky shit talker RMC Mike? Or do you think maybe the perked out speed and precision of Sada Baby is a better fit? There are dozens and dozens of these characters with varying levels of popularity, and Lil Yachty has seen fit to get most of the best guys under one roof for his own personal fight club. He does noticeably leave out Teejayx6, Kasher Quon and BFB Da Packman, but other than that this is a relatively comprehensive collection of the top tier artists, with the exception of Swae Lee who neither performs nor belongs on beats like this regularly.
The number one word to describe Detroit and Flint rap is fun. Imagine going to see standup comedians and their all just killing by doing crowd work, riffing if you will. Lil Yachty has never been the strongest lyricist, who could forget, “she blew my dick like a cello”. In Michigan, that’s just another line that Krispy Life Kidd would spit out to be funny. Here, he’s right at home, free to be as silly as he wants to be. “Cops ask me questions, I’m Cole Bennett, I ain’t in it” he raps on “Plastic”, and on “Dynamic Duo”, he spits a great brag, “I just might ice out your bitch for washing dishes. As far as the features go, everyone matches or beats out Yachty’s energy (except for Swae Lee). At some points I think Yachty kind of gets lost at sea and just like the recent Young Stoner Life album, the features begin to take over the album. This album is much more consistent though, the guests make the most of their time here. That’s because instead of being a Don-like Young Thug figure, Yachty plays the newbie tourist here. This dynamic is also a double edged sword, there are many songs on here where Yachty’s flow just isn’t all there. It’s most noticeable on “SB 2021”, where his monotone flow just gets absolutely bodied by Sada Baby’s.
The beats on here are up to snuff with most of what I’ve heard out of the Michigan rap scene thus far, Yachty goes far enough to actually get the classic roster of producers out of the scene rather than just have label people approximate the sound. Enrgy, Buddha Bless, 30 Roc among others contribute here, and if you haven’t heard of them yet, you better get yourself acquainted. Enrgy specifically is responsible for so Michigan classics from “Legendary” by Rio Da Yung OG and “Coochie” by Louie Ray & YN Jay. We get blasts of ‘80s sound to open up the very energetic opener “Final Form”, and we get a flurry of pianos on the Baby Tron featuring “Hybrid”. The “sound” of Michigan beats can be broken down to it’s creepy bells, skittering hi-hats, and odd choice of sounds from various facets of culture like boxing and horror movies. They’re meant to be ciphered over, “This That One” is a great encapsulation of this energy. We get a bunch of wild voices, high as hell, dropping one liners effortlessly. Yachty is the weakest one out of the bunch, mostly because he lacks the “funny”. But make no mistake, Yachty goes toe-to-toe with a lot of the same rappers on different tracks. This is a solid rap mixtape with a uniform sound and some memorable performances. It’s no Playboi Carti or Savage Mode in terms of being genre-defining or star-making for Yachty and crew, but it has its moments.