NBA YoungBoy’s “Decided 2” A Mixed Bag of Highs and Lows

Estimated read time 2 min read

Baton Rouge’s prolific artist NBA YoungBoy has already treated fans to three projects in 2023, including “I Rest My Case,” “Don’t Try This at Home,” and “Richest Opp.” While these releases garnered mixed reviews, showcasing emotionally charged tracks alongside filler content, his latest offering, “Decided 2,” follows a similar trajectory. Despite YoungBoy’s infectious delivery and moments of brilliance, the project is occasionally weighed down by monotonous raps and hollow storytelling. “Decided 2” sees YoungBoy exploring his R&B influences, infusing the record with memorable melodies and some of his best hooks in recent years. The opening track, “Free Sex,” kicks off with a cheesy acoustic guitar and synth melody, but YoungBoy’s passionate delivery elevates the song, channeling his inner Thugger with vocal nuances that emphasize the emotion in his singing. The lyrics convey a sense of control and the struggle for autonomy, as he belts, “Since she takin’ my soul/ Now this bitch, she gotta go/ I’m a man, I need control/ Feeling like I’m dying slow/ And she don’t even seem to know.”

The project also revisits the raw, deep-fried funk that defined YoungBoy’s 2022 release, “3800 Degrees,” showcasing the artist’s growth. However, the album’s 18 tracks, compared to the more successful 13-track “Decided,” raise questions about the purpose and significance of each YoungBoy release. The frequency and length of his projects contribute to the existential pondering of a “YoungBoy” album’s purpose. “Came A Long Way” emerges as a standout track, offering a powerful reflection on regrets and aspirations. YoungBoy vulnerably exposes his haunted thoughts, hearing voices of departed friends urging him to persevere. This track, along with the modern blues-infused “Now Who,” highlights YoungBoy’s vocal versatility, seamlessly transitioning between singing and rapping.

However, not all tracks on “Decided 2” hit the mark. “I’m A Demon” feels lackluster, with YoungBoy recycling bars and topics explored more coherently in previous work. The frustrating part is that the song is almost redeemed by a great chorus. “Guitar Hero” falls short and raises questions about its inclusion on the album. With more stringent quality control and editing, “Decided 2” could have been another stellar YoungBoy project. Presently, it stands as a fine addition to his recent releases, leaving listeners hoping for a more refined and impactful future output.

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