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Inside Beat

Yeat's '2 Alive' pays homage to rappers before him, sometimes unsuccessfully

Yeat's "2 Alive" is a good album, even though it's less impressive than his social media presence and rise to fame. – Photo by Yeat / Instagram

Yeat is an artist who represents a new generation of rappers — namely, in how he communicates and interacts with his fans. His popularity has skyrocketed in the past year due to key endorsements from famous rappers and a label push to increase his visibility.

The 22-year-old's social media presence has generated a cult following, and his lack of conventional English maintains an air of mystery about him. His Instagram ranges from obnoxious outfit pictures in puffer jackets in Milan to standing in front of his custom Mercedes-Benz with hundreds in his hand.

While Yeat follows the public image playbook for most rappers, his captions set him apart and generate publicity for him. Many white rappers co-opt aspects of Blackness to shape their public identity and make themselves easy to market, but Yeat masters social media with his captions and tweets.

Yeat’s ascension to fame started in 2021 when his song “Gët Busy” went viral on TikTok. He was then signed to Zack Bia’s Field Trip Recordings, and Yeat has been continuously photographed with numerous celebrities and focused on building his brand ever since.

Rappers have a tendency to seemingly blow up out of nowhere, but historically, their vitality is built on years of songwriting and putting out mixtapes and EPs. With social media platforms, this musical hierarchy has mostly dissolved — which allows stars to become younger and younger. Yeat's age comes with a lack of hindsight and guidance, but it also advances his appeal because it means he’s figuring it out just as much as everyone else.

Yeat's latest album, “2 Alivë” is his first album of 2022 and marks his formal entry into mainstream rap.

While Yeat is still developing his sound, standout tracks illustrate his state of mind. On “Jump,” Yeat snarls over a beat that sounds like a firework, and the chorus sounds like a Playboi Carti B-side. The lyrics are hedonistic and substanceless, but like Playboi Carti, Yeat’s strength does not lie in his lyricism. Feeling and flow take priority over substance, and Yeat has different reference points that he takes inspiration from.

On “Poppin,” Yeat does his best Travis Scott impression as autotuned croons soar through the mix with reckless abandon. The beat switch halfway through the song changes the energy and demonstrates Yeat’s blossoming versatility.

The song doesn’t try to reinvent Scott’s formula or surprise the listener with different soundscapes or musical passages. The drums and 808 complement each other, and the song stands out as one of many in the trap subgenre. While it sounds just as ambitious as most other trap songs, it's still one of the best songs on the album.

Rackz got më” features Gunna and strengthens the Yeat-YSL Records bond. Gunna and Young Thug, both featured on the album, are well known for their numerous collaborations together. The chemistry on these songs between them feels surprisingly refreshing, and their appearances foreshadow that all three will be frequent collaborators.

He raps, “Racks don’t stab my back/Percs don’t stab my back,” and Future’s influence is obvious in the writing. This is these artists’ bread and butter, and their comfortability is shown in their flow and delivery.

Yeat builds off the foundation left by autotune crooners like Young Thug and Scott. Rap is inherently historical, and while Yeat represents the culture that allows him to flourish, he still co-opts aspects of Blackness to his benefit.

“2 Alive” is an understandably underwhelming project for Yeat, who not only has to deal with his fans’ expectations of what his album should sound like but also develop a signature sound that separates himself from most of his peers.

At 20 songs and more than an hour long, the album runs past its prime but has promising potential. As long as Yeat continues to release music and develop his songwriting, his career has nowhere to go but up.

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