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.
13. Offset — “Big Rocks” Feat. Young Thug
Young Thug makes everything better, including this would-be standard, Wheezy-produced Offset solo track.
12. French Montana — “Wiggle It” Feat. City Girls
I’ve often felt lonely in my appreciation for French Montana — but never apologetic. The man just knows how to craft a catchy party anthem. City Girls are just the icing on the cake.
11. City Girls & Saweetie — “Come On”
DJ Durel’s uptempo, yet low-key beat, with its post-chorus hook switch up and shoulder-rolling clap pattern propels yet another gold-digging anthem from City Girls, who receive a timely assist from Saweetie, who has become the alternative woman of the summer on the low with her song “My Type.”
10. Offset — “100 Racks” Feat. Playboi Carti
The murky beat provided by Pi’erre Bourne & Metro Boomin provides a perfect backdrop for the yin-and-yang back-and-forth between Offset and Carti to reflect on the come-up and the resulting collection of flexes.
9. Lil Baby — “Back On”
As Lil Baby strives to differentiate himself from his stylistic forebear Young Thug, Quay Global’s beat sparks a bit more energy and a more inspired flow from him along with one of the best lines of the album: “Don’t play in no band but we got sticks and drums — they go dum dum dum.”
8. Lil Baby & DaBaby — “Baby”
The repetitious lead single makes use of the QC sophomore’s chemistry with the North Carolina freshman for a slick, punchline-fueled romp that emphasizes lyrics and propulsive percussion.
7. Marlo — “Big Bag”
Marlo’s flow is so vibrant and weird it elevates the dramatic, proto-trap beat, blending new school rhythmic sensibilities with old school chest-thumping, block beating sonic philosophy.
6. Quavo & City Girls — “Like A Pastor” Feat. Megan Thee Stallion
Hot Girl Summer continues on this track, which is elevated by a fiery verse from the Houston newcomer.
5. Lil Baby — “Ride” Feat. Rylo Rodriguez & 24Heavy
Honestly, Control The Streets, Vol. 2 could use a few more changes of pace like this moody trap ballad. A melancholy guitar sample backs 24Heavy, Rylo Rodriguez, and Lil Baby’s introspective street tales and that hook just might haunt you well after the song fades out.
4. City Girls & Stefflon Don — “Like That” Feat. Renni Rucci
DJ Mustard provides the most fun beat of the project in an attempt to recapture City Girls’ New Orleans Bounce-infused breakout with Drake, with an added injection of ratchet girl power from new QC signees Renni Rucci and Stefflon Don.
3. Layton Greene & Lil Baby — “Leave Em Alone” Feat. City Girls & PNB Rock
As an introduction to QC newcomer, Layton Greene, you could do worse than this throwback, dance-R&B bopper, which just begs for a viral dance trend along the lines of the recent Running Man Challenge atop Ghost Town DJs’ “My Boo.”
2. Duke Deuce — “Yeh”
Duke Deuce went semi-viral earlier this year with this over-the-top collection of backhanded boasts after his wild dance in the music video captured the collective attention of fans on Rap Twitter, setting him up nicely for a huge breakout if he can find a way to follow up.
1. Duke Deuce — “Grab A…” Feat. Tay Keith
Of course, that follow up might be here already. Deuce establishes his ludicrous, introductory ad-lib as the type of recurring gag that endears new artists to rap fans, fills his verses with gobsmacking punchlines comparing his car’s interior to chitterlings and his bricks to bullfrogs, and does it all with an amusing off-kilter bounce that foreshadows his future status as QC MVP.
Quality Control: Control the Streets, Vol. 2 is out now via Quality Control Music/Motown Records. Get it here.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.