Known previously for his prevalence during the Soundcloud rap wave of the mid 2010’s, Lil Yachty surprises fans and non-fans alike with his new psych rock album Let’s Start Here., released on January 27th. With an impressive list of collaborators behind him including Alex G, Mac DeMarco, and MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser, Yachty successfully executes a pleasant sonic 180.
Rappers changing lanes to a more rock oriented sound is nothing new. However, it requires a certain amount of drive to do it well. Logic’s Supermarket and KIDS SEE GHOSTS’ (Kid Cudi and Kanye West) self-titled project both fall under that category. They came out within less than a year of each other, but received wildly different receptions from critics and fans. KIDS SEE GHOSTS was heralded as a near perfect record, while Supermarket was met with exclusively negative reviews citing the album as bland, directionless, and derivative.
It’s now 4 years after these releases, and the lessons learned from them absolutely apply to the reception of Let’s Start Here. While Yachty absolutely deserves his flowers for pulling off a universally risky career move, the novelty of a rapper making a rock album does not follow him the same way as it has with similar releases from years’ past.
What makes this album work as well as it does is Lil Yachty’s commitment to a certain artistic vision. The sonic makeup of Let’s Start Here is consistent in the sound of psych rock inspired by the likes of Pink Floyd and Tame Impala, without being boring. That can absolutely be attributed to Yachty doing his research and bringing on quality collaborators.
The album opens with the track “the BLACK seminole,” where Yachty likens himself to said black seminoles, a group of freed slaves and natives during the mid 1800s. He touches on themes of maturing both as a person and an artist, and how that maturation has made him rethink his perspectives on life. This is an immediate sharp left turn for those following Yachty’s releases, as the last we heard from him, he was smuggling lean across international borders. As the song progresses, the lyrics slow down and Pink Floyd inspired layered guitars take over with intermittent riffing from Yachty.
Early fan favorite “drive ME crazy!” features guest vocals from Diana Gordon, and is an upbeat funk track about being in love. The chorus is earwormy, and is an insanely fun listen.
Let’s Start Here is an incredibly consistent listen on the whole with its immersive soundscapes and nostalgic grooves. Despite its handful of pacing issues, it remains an enjoyable experience to listen to. Hopefully it will stand the test of time and cements Yachty into a place where he is happier about his legacy.
Listen to Lets Start Here at the link below: