Slime Language II boasts grace notes here and there, but is largely a disorganized, overlong effort from the talented team.
What’s changed for YSL (Young Stoner Life) Records since their last compilation album, Slime Language, was released in late 2018? Well, they’ve signed a few more minor members to their roster including Cactus Slatt — which so far is a one-off collab between YSL President Young Thug and Cactus Jack head Travis Scott — and Thugger’s blood brother Unfoonk, who like Lil Baby, sounds like he always has marbles stuck in his mouth. Plus, a few have gained some cultural prominence within this three-year period as well: Gunna’s Wunna and… OK, he’s really the only one whose profile has risen. So in the grand scheme of things, not much has changed since Slime Language. And yet, its illustrious sequel, titled Slime Language II, arrives with an aura of grand accomplishment, like a victory lap taken by someone who’s come in third place after previously placing fourth. Its expansive 75-minute runtime, its foreboding cover art with photoshopped members of the crew, the slime green dog on the front: all are signifiers of a paramount event that’s about to take place, even if there’s very little here musically to justify any of the artificial hoopla.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t any small joys to be had: the first eight tracks — notably, all ones that feature Thugger in some capacity — make for an exciting opening run, especially the rather funny “Proud of You,” with a cute chorus built around the conceit that Lil Uzi Vert is deeply grateful for the support he’s received from Young Thug. The nadir is the Certified Lover Boy throw-away “Solid,” where Gunna’s somehow more committed to the material than Drake, but it’s followed by the menacing “Came and Saw,” where balance is once again restored. After that, it becomes anyone’s guess as to where the quality of each following track will lie, ranging from needless (“WokStar,” with guest Skepta rapping about semen) to exciting (“That Go!,” where Meek Mill… also raps about semen, but it fits that time), from monotone (“Pots N Pans,” where robot-voiced Nav is more on point than Lil Duke) to operatic (“Really Be Slime,” with YNW Melly’s gorgeous vocals doing the heavy lifting for BSlime — not to be confused with YNW BSlime, Melly’s 14-year-old brother — and FN Da Dealer). The beats become a bit basic and thin, and the rest of YSL’s roster isn’t bad per se — except for the ones who are actually terrible, like Strick — but too many are content with sounding like two-bit variations of their mentor, albeit either more generic (T-Shyne), high-pitched (Yung Kayo), or inaudible (Lil Keed). Even Young Thug himself doesn’t register as much of a wild card: He lacks the eccentric prowess he provided to “Audemar” or “Scoliosis,” and doesn’t have a single stand-out moment beyond saying “slatty” a lot on the first track and seeming satisfied with only providing a base-line level of competency throughout.
Still, credit is due to the ones who are holding down the fort: Thug’s blood-sisters HiDoraah and Dolly White continue to impress, each getting their own song and space to operate, the former providing a solid pop melody on “Como Te Llama” and the latter absolutely bodying her baleful verse on “Reckless”; on-again, off-again fiancé Karlae adjusts her wild vocal range appropriately for Coi Leray on “I Like,” even if it’s a moment that pales in comparison with her star-making performance on the last Language‘s “U Ain’t Slime Enough”; and Gunna, who’s been promoted to get top billing, continues to come into his own and develop his sound — not really by trying much harder than he normally does, but sticking to beats that best fit his lowkey demeanor. So if you couldn’t tell by the rampant nepotism on display, Slime Language II is a family affair, and should be appreciated and judged as such — though, that’s mainly because it’s disorganized, loud, has brief moments of grace, and goes on way longer than most anybody involved seems to have wanted.
Published as part of Album Roundup — April 2021 | Part 1.