Lil Yachty is the fifth-most important musician on his latest single, "Who Want the Smoke?" That's not necessarily a bad thing—Kanye was in the same spot on "Ultralight Beam," which worked out just fine—and it's probably what Yachty wanted. You don't bring Cardi B and Offset onto your track if you want to hog the spotlight. The trouble is that when Yachty does come through, he returns to the unconvincing tough-guy vibe that's lingered over his tracks for a while now. It neither works as a play for authenticity nor a play for giggles.
Still, "Who Want the Smoke?" has its merits. Cardi B's flow is familiar, but she owns it: "I hear shots comin' on the low from hoes I'm higher than / This attention is so flatterin' 'cause they're admirin' / Don't know what's on their mind, but it should be retirement / Get the AARP or this AR get to firin'." Blocboy JB, uncredited, punctuates the track with ad-libs, all of which sound more fun than Yachty's sophomoric impressions. Offset is on a different plane, fresher and more energetic than ever, delivering a fluent verse that'll go down as one of his best this year: "Fuck it I'm standin' at the line, shoot a free throw / Medical, I sip a couple lines of fineto / Impeccable, the Richard Mille line, man, it's see-through."
The verse works because Offset has honed a style over the past few years, powering past his missteps and realizing where his talents truly lie. Cardi displayed plenty of versatility on Invasion of Privacy too, and rarely lost her flow in the process. All of which applies less and less to Yachty, a talented guy with a unique style and shitload of promise who seems to be firing while blindfolded right now, only hitting his targets inadvertently if he hits them at all.
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This article originally appeared on Noisey US.