The Return Of NBA Youngboy

Hasan Daniels

On October 11th, Baton Rouge rapper, Kentrell Gaulden, better known by his stage name NBA Youngboy, released his most recent album titled, AI Youngboy 2. 

This was the “38 Baby” rapper’s first project since being released from jail on Wednesday night of August 14th. He served nearly three months in prison after being the target of an attempted assassination and a drive-by shooting committed on Mother’s Day outside of the Trump International Hotel. This shooting left his girlfriend, Kay Marie, with a gunshot wound and a 43-year-old innocent bystander was killed by a stray bullet. The judge in his case said that he provoked this situation by “talking trash and smack” therefore violating his probation. 

Many anticipated that he would release music immediately because of his consistency prior to getting arrested. NBA Youngboy was arguably one of the best rappers in 2018. He constantly released new music throughout the year. He released one compilation album, one studio album, and three albums, all of which went gold and/or platinum. He has gained many fans and listeners throughout due to how relatable his lyrics are and the passion he puts into his work. 

On August 31st and September 5th, NBA Youngboy released two songs, “Slime Mentality” and “Self Control.” These songs were accompanied by a music video on Youtube. These were the first two songs released by the rapper since being released from jail. The music video took place at the premises of his home due to the fact that he was ordered to be on house arrest for 14 months. These songs highlighted NBA Youngboy talking about his enemies and the extents in which he would go to murder them. The lyrics are really graphic, but in the music video, there were no guns present.  

After the release of these two songs, a month later NBA Youngboy unexpectedly released an album, which included the two songs he released prior to being released from jail. Many fans, including myself, were excited to get an album and due to his past projects, the expectations were high.

The tracklist for the album was longer than expected. There are 18 songs on the album, and each song was around three minutes long. The first song on the album was “Carter Son.” It was a slow song that gave a depiction of his life. The song mainly highlighted the gang culture in which he is heavily involved, his upbringing, and some challenges he has endured. 

The first half of the album, specifically the first nine songs, were slow songs that told a story about experiences he had in his life. These stories weren’t just a typical childhood story, these stories were deep and while listening, instead of listener’s moving their heads back and forth, it is easy to get stuck in deep thought trying to break down everything he is portraying in his sound. 

Unlike the first nine songs on the album, the remaining nine songs sound more festive and set the tone for a party atmosphere.  These were songs fans can dance to, bop their heads, and songs that leave room to vibe to in the car with friends. These songs contained a mix of singing, similar to the style found on his 2018 mixtape “Realer” and there were songs similar to the style found on the first “AI Youngboy.”

This album was shockingly versatile. It incorporated many “party”-like songs and storytelling songs that have a hidden message which can be understood based on listeners’ interpretation of the song. The album showcased an NBA Youngboy style that is not seen often. The album showed the best sides of his younger 17-year-old, Baton Rouge, style of rapping, but also showed a glimpse of his more current style which is a melodic, singing, type of rap. This style seems to be most popular amongst this new generation of not just rappers, but also people who listen to it.