Concrete Boys “It’s Us Vol. 1” Review

Lil Yachty’s label and music collective Concrete Boys have finally released their long-awaited debut album, It’s Us Vol. 1. The project is the first major showing of each of the five group members, which include Lil Yachty himself alongside Camo, Karrahbooo, Dc2trill, and the very first Concrete Boys signee Draft Day. The album, which officially released on April 5, runs 16 tracks over 47 minutes and offers a wide array of posse cuts, solo tracks, and all kinds of blends and mixtures along the way. Let’s dive into the material on It’s Us Vol. 1 without further ado and review the project’s best and worst moments.

The Project Does Not Start With A Bang

It’s Us Vol. 1 opens with a laid-back intro by Camo, with a brief Lil Yachty appearance creeping into the final moments of the track. While the song “Point Me To It” is a solid track, it doesn’t bring the kind of hype or excitement we’d like to see in an album opener. The following Karrahbooo-fronted track, “Where Yo Daddy,” is equally sleepy, offering smooth vocal delivery over a low-energy instrumental. Neither of these tracks is a bad showing of Lil Yachty and his Concrete Boys affiliates. However, it seems clear that It’s Us Vol. 1 should have opened with a strong, high-energy posse cut, especially since the major appeal of this album is the shared star power of Yachty’s multiple protégés. 

The third track, “Dialed In,” brings the banging energy required to invigorate listeners as Camo and Draft Day trade bars back and forth with expert precision, showcasing their excellent lyrical chemistry. All this takes place over a thumping, room-shaking sub bass and cowbell-heavy drums, making the track the project’s first real banger. Subsequent titles such as “Playa Walkin,” “Not Da 2,” and “Hit Diff” offer different Concrete Boys pairings, highlighting the blending sounds and combined charisma of the many budding solo artists alongside Lil Yachty himself.

Yachty Takes Center Stage On The Album

While it should come as no surprise that Lil Yachty is the major superstar of It’s Us Vol. 1, it is shocking that the talented young MC has so many solo placements among this tracklist. The first solo cut from Lil Yachty is “LA Reid,” which is sonically great but provides little to no justification for being present on the Concrete Boys project. If the track had been released as a single, perhaps it could have drawn additional eyes to the ensemble project, similar to J. Cole’s placing of “Middle Child” on 2019’s Revenge of the Dreamers 3. Instead, the song serves to grind the album’s momentum to a halt, and diverts fans toward other Yachty solo projects instead.

The same cannot be said for the following two Lil Yachty solo tracks, “M.O.B.” and “Pimpin Ain’t Easy,” which each earn their place on the Concrete Boys album by shouting out and name-checking other members of the crew. The former track sees Yachty floating over smooth piano jabs that provide a sparse, soothing melody, making it a perfect song to blast out the windows of your whip on a sunny day. The latter, “Pimpin Ain’t Easy,” is an R&B style crooner who sees the Quality Control signee reflecting on his blessings, including the important women in his life, and celebrating his ability to hold it down as the de-facto leader of the crew.

The Posse Cuts Are The Biggest High-Points

Unsurprisingly, the best moments on It’s Us Vol. 1 are the rare instances of all 5 MC’s forming like Voltron to tackle a long-form cypher. The first proper posse cut on the record comes in the form of a double-jointed track titled “2 Hands 2 Eyes 10 Whips/Rent Due.” This song features Lil Yachty giving it his all alongside all four of his Concrete Boys collaborators, with multiple stand-out moments. Yachty’s chilled-out delivery of the hook in the first leg transitions smoothly into a beat switch, bringing Karrahbooo into the mix with her most energetic showing on the album. Draft Day’s raspy vocal tenors provide some much-needed sonic diversity to the track before Dc2trill concludes the two-hander by tying the subject matter of the tracks together with a smooth reprisal of the “two hands, two eyes” refrain.

“On the Radar Concrete Cypher” is another high watermark for the album, as the entire crew locks in with explosive deliveries, including Camo’s best verse on the project. His lyrics, “Concrete diamonds, lay our chains on the ground and make a skating rink / My mans will slap a n**** at the award show like I’m Jada Pink,” are as hilarious as they are memorable, and are a real contender for best bars of 2024 thus far. The sparse horn section bolstering the instrumental on this track provides great room for the team to lock in with some of their best work yet. Other highlights on the album include the Dc2trill solo song “My Life,” which was released ahead of the project as a single. The track has handily the best beat on the entire project, making it a real shame that the run-time lasts just under two full minutes.

Conclusion

It’s Us Vol. 1 succeeds at its stated goal by showcasing each of the members of Lil Yachty’s Concrete Boys crew but doesn’t succeed at much else. The album is a great introduction to these artists for those who may not know them, but it never really provides any long-lasting intrigue. While the album likely won’t be revisited by hip hop historians 5 or 10 years down the line, it serves as a great foundation for flashier installments to come later on. After all, isn’t that what concrete is all about? 

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Updated: April 12, 2024 — 3:02 am