Yeat’s new album is expansive, powered by fiery ballistics and his erratic personality.
Yeat’s name is everywhere. Not even a month ago the California rapper let loose “Gët Busy”, lighting social media and mass curiosity with the instantly iconic bar “this song already was turnt, but here’s a bell”. As the bells cascade, it’s tempting to get caught up in the novelty and not pay due attention to Yeat’s straining autotuned voice – it’s impossible to tell whether he’ll scramble to sing into the next bar or let his words tumble down the scales like loose change down a staircase. “Up 2 Më” follows “Gët Busy”; it’s a massive 22 tracks of audacious musical behaviour, and, like its lead single, “Up 2 Më” is loudly unpredictable.
Arriving on what could be the eve of his blow-up, “Up 2 Më” generally sees Yeat at war with his influences and himself. “Turban”, the excellent fifteenth track, is the most intense; Yeat’s ad-libs are growled, rage flies through his shouts of “oh yeah, okay” behind the hook, as if delivered with furious sarcasm. That same hook breaks halfway; from cries of “Oh my gosh, oh my goodness” emerge snarled lines, “I already did what I can… I’m boutta do it again”. Much of the album’s conflict comes from how rich Yeat has gotten and disbelief that he’s getting richer still. In channelling this, “Turban” is overwhelmed. It expresses just how drunk success and virality can feel – Yeat literally screeches through certain words and, being a genuinely competent rapper as well as a vocal gymnast, bulldozes through others. He takes Xanax and goes drifting on “Swërved it”, overdoses and pushes friends away on “Hëy”, laments his need for percocet on many, many occasions. There are many twists to rapid fame, and many internal demons to face – here they happen all at once.
“Got rich”, produced by F1LTHY, feels like the second coming of “Rockstar Made” from Playboi Carti’s “Whole Lotta Red”. Such clear evocation of Yeat’s forbearers brings them directly to mind – artists like Carti, Autumn, and, as Pablo Mari points out, Lancey Foux – the more erratic moments of the album are attempts to escape these expectations. As the title suggests, “Up 2 Më” fights for self determination at an absolutely crucial time in Yeat’s career. Amidst a multitude of tracks that get washed away in opioid panics and staggering amounts of sex, drugs, and nameless faces, “U could tëll” succeeds brilliantly in balancing Yeat’s potential and individuality. Instrumentally the track is diverse, full of bells and resonant percussion and volcanic melodies. The album’s most convincing lines are here; from “You could tell that we been in first place” to “You don’t know how it feel to be this fuckin rich”. Bass slams as Yeat moves closer to the mic, hot with saturation, speaking directly to the audience; “Yeah, turn this shit up, they are not close to us”.
What an album gives to a listener can be very different from what it gives back to the artist that made it. For a lot of purposes these 22 tracks are just a collection of energising trap songs. “Factz” doesn’t so much have a melody as it does bass with decorations. Songs like this – and of course “Gët Busy” – show Yeat as erratic, almost playful, he raps “You posed on my money, you ain’t never went up boy, this the thousand millionth time” with momentum and swagger. “Dëserve it” is brief and powerful and “Trëndy way” has the record’s only feature (SeptembersRich) alongside tactful flexes of money “lifting weights”. An hour of music is on the long side for underground releases, but Yeat’s life is busy. Songs tend to bleed into each other, struggling to contain everything going on. Expansion in his world is a prominent theme, interpreted as a series of spiralling contrasts; loud and restrained, pensive and enraged, open and standoffish.
“Up 2 Më” looks down on arrogance despite all of it’s posturing and flexes. It is neither proudly ignorant or self-righteously obscure, it is authentic, lavish, and massive. It’s is a chance to be immersed in the world of an extremely talented young artist as it shifts around them – for the sake of story and sound now is the time to pay attention. Part of Yeat’s appeal is in his nonchalance to madness. As bells fall and money rises he’s unfazed, sure that this is how things should be.
Listen to “Up 2 Më” here.
– Jamie (Managing Editor @108MICS)