Lil Yachty Mixes Up Approach With “Let’s Start Here.” [REVIEW]


“Lets Start Here” Lil Yachty’s most recent studio album.

Lil Yachty recently released his fifth studio album “Let’s Start Here.” The album was announced at a listening event Jan. 27. The 25-year-old rapper was quoted at the listening event, saying “I really wanted to be taken seriously as an artist, not just some SoundCloud rapper or some mumble rapper, not some guy who made just one hit.” However, the album has produced mixed reviews from critics and a general sense of confusion over what genre the project should be categorized as.

This quote shows a lack of acknowledgement and acceptance for the music that got him noticed back in 2015 with his breakout single “Lil Boat.” Yachty was instantly known for his vocal style and was grouped into the subgenre of mumble rap. Eight years later, he chose to try and separate himself from that label.

Miles Parks McCollum, known by his stage name Lil Yachty, was born in Mableton, Ga. in 1997. In high school, Yachty wanted to be part of a group of older kids who had a music group called the “Yacht Club.” Yachty eventually convinced them to let him join but he had to start off with the name “Lil Boat” and work his way up to Lil Yachty. 

In 2015 after he dropped out of college, a song created by Yachty and posted on SoundCloud was used in a video that went viral. Two months later, he participated in the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show at Madison Square Garden, establishing himself as a household name.

Is his newest album different from his early music? Yes, it is. Does it bring Yachty away from mumble rap? No, it does not. Right off the bat, the instrumental and overall feel of the music is a big departure from his other works like “Teenage Emotions.” “Let’s Start Here” incorporates more rock and ‘80s era instrumentals to create a new sound for Yachty. However, when the vocals come in, his unique style incorporating different kinds of vocal modulation shows that he hasn’t fully left mumble rap behind. 

Reviews of the album are mixed. Pitchfork gave it a 6.0 out of 10, while the musician Questlove, drummer for the Roots, said that the album excited him for the future. Anthony Fantano (the Needle Drop) gave the album a “decent 7” saying that it’s not as polished as it could be, but shows an excellent example of a musical transition. 

One of the producers for the album is Justin Raisen, who has worked on projects with John Legend, Charlie XCX, Yves Tumor and many others. His style can be heard splattered throughout the new album with the use of eclectic psychedelic rock. Raisen has attributed some of his style of producing to the inspiration of artists like David Bowie and that can be seen in the work he did on “Let’s Start Here” such as the melodic guitar variations in song “REACH THE SUNSHINE.” Among those making an appearance on the album are Jacob Portrait, of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ben Goldwasser of MGMT and Mac DeMarco, each contributing their own addition to Yachty’s new sound. 

The cover art for the album itself is an artificial intelligence (AI) image of seven people in professional attire. The faces of the people in the image are deformed and maniacal, evoking an eerie, unsettling feeling.

The album consists of 14 songs and is 57 minutes long. The first track on the album “the BLACK seminole.” is currently the most streamed song on the album with well over 5.5 million streams on Spotify, followed by the song “the ride-“ featuring Teezo Touchdown with just over four million streams.