Quality Control Music released its second compilation album, Quality Control: Control the Streets, Vol. 2, last Friday and with a whopping 36 tracks, it can be a bit of a daunting listen. In fact, I’ll snag some low-hanging fruit here and say that it could have used a little quantity control as well. As album tracklists continue to balloon in the wake of music charts giving more weight to streaming tallies, a project like Control the Streets, Vol. 2 was almost inevitable.
Here’s the thing, though: With so many tracks, it can seem hopelessly impossible to get a handle on which songs are truly essential listening and which are filler to pad out the streaming totals and help push the project to a more favorable chart position. For what it’s worth, the label’s assembly line-style recording strategy, in which records are churned out as quickly as they can be produced, written, and recorded, has both helped and hindered the label’s success over the past few years.
After the initial success of Control the Streets, Vol. 1 in launching the burgeoning careers of Quality Control artists like City Girls and Lil Baby, the two-a-year album release schedule saw diminishing returns. Since so many of the tracks on albums from Lil Yachty, each of the individual Migos, and Lil Baby felt interchangeable, the pace began to wear on listeners, who barely registered some of the late-2018 projects from the label. While City Girls’ second project, Girl Code, was a success, Migos’ Culture II, Yachty’s Nothin 2 Prove, and Lil Baby’s Street Gossip met mostly lukewarm receptions.
It seems Quality Control could use a little more of the label’s moniker in their projects, especially this most recent one. So, in an effort to provide solutions instead of just pointing out problems, here’s a thought exercise: What are the 13 most essential songs from Quality Control: Control the Streets, Vol. 2? 13 is the average album length from the pre-streaming era, a time when the ideal artistic statement was thought to be around an hour long. With that in mind, here’s are the songs that exemplify Quality Control Music at its best and most innovative.