What’s the point of a label compilation? Ideally, it’s a showcase that communicates depth and shines a light on the lesser-known artists on a roster by placing them on the same stage as the label’s stars. Control the Streets Vol. 2, the new compilation from Atlanta trap incubator Quality Control Music, features DAYYTONA FOX, YRN Murk, Migo Domingo, and the rest of QC’s dozen-odd prospects, but makes the listener wade to the second half of the 36-song compilation to hear any of them. Vol. 2 ultimately sags under the weight of its excessive length and uninspired performances from Migos and Lil Yachty, the QC lynchpins who carried the weight of the label’s first, much stronger Control the Streets installment in 2017.
When Lil Yachty exploded onto the scene in 2016, he was a whimsical teenager who only ate pepperoni pizza and built his “bubblegum trap” style off of interpolations of songs like the ‘Rugrats’ theme. With Vol. 2, Yachty scrapes all remnants of melody from his voice and completes his transformation into dead-eyed zombie with an insatiable thirst for sex. Despite appearing on half of the tracks here, the three Migos fail to produce any of the project’s signature moments. It sounds like they’re operating on power saver mode. Ditto Lil Baby. The most dynamic characters on Vol. 2 are the guest artists who pop in for a song or two. Tee Grizzley swerves thrillingly across bar lines on “Once Again,” (“Fat nigga, make a nigga bitch cook some pork chops”), Playboi Carti plies his eternally fresh baby voice on “100 Racks,” and Young Thug soars like an eagle riding a thermal on “Longtime.” Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby, two committed technicians and larger-than-life personalities, remain models of consistency and two of the most coveted feature artists of 2019.
While the QC headliners spend much of Vol. 2 spinning their wheels, the undercards provide the more compelling draw and show occasional flashes of brilliance. Duke Deuce stands out with his incorrigible performance on “Grab A…” (“I’m the illest in the city/ Even got the nuns fuckin’ with me!”), and the strongest Thug impersonation of the compilation comes not from Lil Baby or Gunna but 24Heavy. Of the label’s big sluggers, only the City Girls succeed in making Vol. 2 feel like the party it should be. Even though Yung Miami can barely make it half a verse without calling herself a “real ass bitch,” the duo’s smutty sex raps energize songs like “Wiggle It” (an update of Pitbull’s party anthem “Hotel Room Service”) and “Like That,” allowing the compilation to break free from the navel-gazing style of trap that provides its limp thrust.