ALBUM REVIEW: Yeat, 2 Alivë
Updated: Mar 11
Grade: D +
In this new era where everything is classified into little boxes like drill, artpop and so forth, I constantly have to avoid the impulse to write something off as derivative of something else. Arca’s “Skullqueen”, a food house album and an old SOPHIE single all have this signature quality that would put them under this “hyperpop” roof; hyped up synths, high BPMs, maybe some chipmunked vocals. Regardless, each of these pieces of art are their own form of expression and should be judged as such. However, once and a while a trend gets way too pointed and specific and with a critical mindset, I can’t help but coin a term when I see it. In my last hip-hop review of Yung Kayo’s DFTK, I coined the term “percocet punk”. The lineage starts with Pi’erre Bourne and Playboi Carti’s late-aughts cybertrap renaissance in Die Lit. Songs like “R.I.P.”, “Love Hurts” and “Choppa Won’t Miss” were a vibe that no one had previously been on, it was commercial rap music to push people around to. The infamous leaks of Whole Lotta Red prevented Pi’erre from being overly involved, resulting in a bunch of newbies like Gab3 and F1LTHY approximating Carti-type beats. The result was yet another brand new sound that no artist had ever tapped into before.
To deny the proliferation of this Pi’erre-influenced beat work in the music of Trippie Redd and Yung Kayo would truly be a fool’s errand. With Tripp At Knight becoming such a runaway phenomenon, it was only a matter of time before all of L.A. started to gravitate towards this production style. Enter Zack Bia’s Field Trip Records. His artists are producing some of the most entertaining offshoots of this “percocet punk”. Just give a listen to HVN’s “HELLSCAT”, or the Yeat’s entire discography to understand what I mean. Yeat has particularly made his bones off this arcade-trap, it wasn’t until after the release of Whole Lotta Red that his sound began to morph. Alivë, 4L, Up 2 Më, and now 2 Alivë falls firmly in this lane, and his flow is pure Carti babble through and through. To be honest, I have no problem with this direct influence whatsoever. It’s clear that Gunna is nothing without Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert is nothing without Future, and so on. In my opinion, the most important thing to remember is limitations.
Yung Kayo’s DFTK was like 30 minutes long, a perfect in and out little project with minimal repetition and some cool new ideas. Whole Lotta Red was very long, but at this point Carti is experienced enough to hold our attention with stunners like “New Tank”, “M3tamorphosis” and so on. I’ll keep it a buck, Yeat does not need to be dropping over an hour of music. While his newest project offers a lot in terms of growth, definition of self and quality features, I would’ve been fine with half the length. Regardless, I find myself coming back to this project for it’s odd energy. It opens with no fanfare, with the track “Poppin”. Slurred autotune brags and lines about “blowing up like Osama” gives me enough to bop my head to. I also find it pretty impressive that he got a Thug feature on the following “Outsidë” considering how deep of an influence he clearly is. Ultimately where this album lives and dies for me stylistically is at the points where it holds and loses my attention. Considering that it’s long winded and many of the beats bleed into each other, that dynamic bounces back and forth rapidly.
“Nvr again” is a highlight for me with it’s hyped up repetitive synth beat and Yeat’s pretty impressive flow. As on nearly every other song here it’s percs, Birkins, bitches and Benz’s, but I’ve never really had an issue with that. “Jus better” and the following “Jump” also fall on the line of enjoyability for me, showing enough personality and flashy production to do it for me. It’s usually the slower and more non-descript cuts like “Luh gëek” and “Rackz got me” that I tune out during, although they’re never really bad enough for me to be forced to skip them. My very favorite tracks have him continuing the same formula just with more interesting ideas. “I just walked in with the Taliban” from the song “Taliban” is a lyric I didn’t think I’d hear. I guess we’ve gone full circle post-9/11 where we not only make jokes, but we chill with the people responsible. I enjoy “Narcoticz” with Yung Kayo as well, mainly because the Kayo feature gives me a break from Yeat. “I got me a big girl, I roll with a wide body” is pretty clever, as is “that boy got an old gun, that’s a Gen 3.” To be honest, really examining those lyrics has made me realize how uninteresting Yeat really is at the end of the day. Again, rap about drugs and girls all you want, but like…say something different or clever in reference to them. I feel like this dude is good for some singles or a short record, but after an hour of listening, it’s difficult for me to tell you all what makes him standout. After the 15th “Tonka truck” or “I just took a perc and left Earth” line, verbatim, there is no real reason to give this a top to bottom listen. This is a solid background music project, or one where you can pick out like eight of your faves and call it a day. While I appreciate Yeat’s innovations on the percocet punk style, I need some more substantive.