I feel Lil Yachty is an artist who has never gotten enough credit. Not only is he underrated as an actual rapper(in regards to his flow and lyricism), he isn’t acknowledged enough for his impact on the music industry. When he first became popular, he helped create a new sound in Hip Hop which is still relevant today. He was the first artist to make that “Tropical/Yacht Trap” sound with songs like ‘Minnesota’ and ‘One Night.’ These songs inspired a wave within Trap music, with artists like Travis Scott, Young Thug, and Migos following in his footsteps. Over the last few years, Lil Yachty has focused more on producing and ghostwriting for other artists rather than his own music. He has released a see of mixtapes over the years, but they didn’t receive a ton of promotion and it didn’t seem like they were Lil Yachty’s main focus. Lil Yachty returned in 2023 with a completely different style. This is a psychedelic Rock record inspired by 70s artists like Pink Floyd. Lil Yachty had a hand in producing this entire record, and his unique vocal style does weirdly fit in with this kind of music if you do not overthink it. That said, here is my review of Lil Yachty’s new album Let’s Start Here. Please let me know in the comments what your favorite songs from this record are, and also comment what your favorite songs from it are.

Lil Yachty truly starts off this record with a bang. ‘the BLACK seminole’ is not what anyone would have ever expected from Lil Yachty, and if you went into this record blind it would throw you for a loop. This song is like Led Zeppelin mixed with Pink Floyd. The instrumental is inspired by the Pink Floyd song ‘The Great Gig In The Sky,’ but it has elements that are a little harder and make me think of early metal music(that is where the Led Zeppelin influence comes in). I have seen some people online complaining about Lil Yachty’s vocals, but I enjoy them. The disjointed nature that his vocals have add to the ambiance of the song. The vocals during the breakdown that come in near the end of the song provided by Diana Gordon are super great, as they provide the song with so much intensity and emotion as it closes. ‘the BLACK seminole’ is like an introduction of the character that Lil Yachty is talking about on this album. He is the general that is going to lead us through this album. ‘the ride,’ sort of feels like old school Psychedelic Rock music mixed with old school Funk and R&B. It is like if someone were to make a Funky R&B instrumental that was meant for Al Green and recorded it in the style of Pink Floyd or King Crimson. Lil Yachty’s high-pitched vocals on this song work well for the instrumental. He can add to the emotion of the instrumental with his voice. Teezo Touchdown’s more gruff vocals contrast with Lil Yachty’s awesomely, and this gives the song such a nice added texture. ‘the ride’ seems to describe the highs and lows of the ride through life, and how useful it is to have a partner to go on this ride with. ‘running out of time’ is a bit tamer than the first two tracks on the record. This song has a bit more a of classic Funky Pop feeling to it, with a touch of old-school R&B. There are still some weird sound effects and tuning of the instrumentals that give it a Psychedelic feeling, but the song is not as Psychedelic as the first few songs. Considering how intense the first two songs are, I like that this one is a bit calmer. Lil Yachty’s vocal performance is his best yet in my opinion. He rides the groove very well, and his vocals add an extra layer to the sound of the song without overshadowing the fun and groovy riff that it has. Justine Skye also contributes her vocals to the track, and her soft and sweet voice sounds nice paired with Lil Yachty’s stronger vocals. On ‘running out of time,’ Lil Yachty is trying to convince a significant other to stay with him even though they are drifting apart because of how close they have become and how much they know about each other. 

‘pRETTy’ is a song that has become an early fan favorite among a lot of people who love this record. It is the most decidedly R&B song on the record so far. The instrumental is slow, sultry, and warm; there is something about it that’s so sexy. The way the instruments are tuned still lets it fit into that overarching psychedelic feeling of the record; this is the trippiest R&B song I have heard in a while. Lil Yachty and Foushèe go back and forth with the vocals on this one, posting off of each other nicely. On ‘pRETTy,’ Lil Yachty is feeling himself. He knows he looks good and wants the world to know. ‘:(failure:)’ is an interlude of sorts. Over a slow and ethereal guitar riff that is complemented by some angelic vocals, Lil Yachty discusses his opinions on what success and failure are. Lil Yachty thinks that failure is not always a bad thing; rather, it can be an avenue to success because it can help one realize their flaws. ‘:(failure:)’ is a cool and inspiring piece which shows how profound Lil Yachty can be. ‘THE zone~’ brings back the heavy psychedelic and trippy feeling the first track has. This is the most atmospheric and weird song since the first one; this instrumental is kind of all over the place. There are sections of the song that sound crisp and have a Pop-Rock feeling, and other sections that seem very distorted. There is even a breakdown towards the end of the song where the instrumental quiets down and the focus shifts onto Justine Skye’s angelic vocals. Speaking of vocals, this is my favorite vocal performance from Lil Yachty so far. His voice gets real raspy at some points in the track, which gives the song a rough element that adds so much. On ‘THE zone~,’ Lil Yachty discusses the idea of home. He believes home is wherever his loved ones are because he hates being alone. ‘WE SAW THE SUN!’ continues with the extreme psychedelic feeling the last song had. Also, similar to the last song, it has a bit of a Pop feel to it. The song also has a bit of a Hair Metal feeling with the way the instruments are toned and produced. One thing I enjoy about this song a lot is its funky bassline. It gives the song a cool groove that provides a different layer from the Pop and Hair Metal sound. Lil Yachty’s vocals fit the sound of the song, but they don’t stand out a lot. In ‘WE SAW THE SUN!,’ Lil Yachty is comparing vulnerability and self-worth to the night and the day. The song ends with a Bob Ross excerpt from his tv show about letting your imagination be free.

 ‘drive ME crazy!’ keeps the Pop theme of the last two songs going; this is probably the tamest song on the record so far. For the most part, this one sounds like an old-school Disco and R&B song. There still are elements of distortion to the instrumentation that make it Trippy, but this song feels cleaner than the rest of the record. I say it sounds like a Disco and R&B song because the majority of the song has a fast-paced Disco sound, and there is a breakdown towards the end of the track that feels like 70s sultry R&B. Lil Yachty’s performance of the song is nice, but the real star in Diana Gordon. Her vocals fit this style of Disco music so nicely. On ‘drive ME crazy!,’ Yachty sings about always wanting to be with his significant other. This is my favorite song on the album to this point. It is so much fun. It’s interesting how the album’s wildest and weirdest song to this point, ‘I’VE OFFICIALLY LOST MY ViSiON!!!’,’ follows its most tame one. This song is all over the place. Lil Yachty starts it with a 90s Alt-Metal sound, transitions into a 90s Techno House, and eventually concludes with an acoustic R&B element performed by Diana Gordon. Lil Yachty expands his vocals on this one, pushing himself in ways he had not pushed himself on the record to this point. The emotions he is experiencing are palpable through his vocals. This song is supposed to be a description of a bad Acid Trip, and I think it captures this feeling well. ‘I’VE OFFICIALLY LOST MY ViSiON!!! is like an anxiety-induced fever dream. This song had quickly risen as a fan favorite because of how wall and strange it is. Lil Yachty brings things back down to earth with the next song, ‘sAy sOMETHINg.’ This song has a funky 80s Psychedelic Synth-Pop sound with some 90s R&B elements mixed into it. It is kind of like a mix between The Weeknd’s slower music from his last two albums and artists like Mariah Carey or Toni Braxton. This melody is so warm and cozy, and it has a sweet element to it that puts me in a good mood as soon as I listen to it. The instrumental is great in its own right, but the song also contains one of my favorite vocal performances from Lil Yachty to this point on the record. He really finds his groove on this one and shows off his distinctive singing voice. ‘sAy sOMETHINg’ is a love song Yachty is singing to his girl about how she makes him feel young. ‘sAy sOMETHINg’ is a major highlight for me. This song is so catchy and I could see it being a big hit. ‘sAy sOMETHINg’ flows almost seamlessly into the next song, which is called ‘paint THE sky.’ This song has a similar Psychedelic Synth-Pop sound to the song that precedes it. It has a bit more of an 80s feel to it. It does have elements of old school R&B, but this one is mainly dominated by a Psychedelic New Wave sound. ‘paint THE sky’ seems even more inspired by The Weeknd than ‘sAy sOMETHINg.’ It also has a warm and cozy melody, a total earworm. The hook on this song is so catchy; I just know it will be stuck in my head for the rest of the night just because I’m writing about it. Lil Yachty once again shows off how great of a vocalist he can be on ‘paint THE sky.’ His tone fits this track perfectly. ‘paint THE sky’ is another track by Lil Yachty where he professes his love for his woman. I feel like ‘paint THE sky’ is another song that can definitely be a smash hit. I would love to hear this song performed live because the singalong it will induce will be epic. 

‘sHouLd I B?’ keeps the 80s-style Synth-Pop thing going that the last song had, but makes it a lot more weird and psychedelic. It feels like Lil Yachty’s most honest attempt at making the kind of New Wave music that has been dominating the Pop landscape for the last couple of years. ‘sHouLd I B? has no elements of R&B in it; this song is strictly Synthwave music. I enjoy the distortion that this instrumental has. This distortion and the sound effects sprinkled into this track make it stand out majorly from the other kinds of Synthwave music that is popular today. Like the last two tracks, I love Lil Yachty’s vocal performance on this track. He has hit his stride on these last several tracks, proving that he can adjust his vocals to fit this kind of music if given the time. ‘sHouLd I B? seems to be a description of Lil Yachty and his girl’s problems with each other and how they do not want to deal with the issues so they do not rock the boat. ‘sHouLd I B? flows perfectly into the next track, which is called ‘The Alchemist.’ This track is as if they took the last track and made it half HyperPop and half Neo-R&B. It is easily one of the weirdest songs on the record;  ‘The Alchemist.’ pushes the boundaries of what I thought Lil Yachty could do even further. For the most part on this track, Lil Yachty sings in the HyperPop sections and Foushee sings in the R&B sections. The way their voices contrast each other matches with the way the different parts of the instrumental contrast each other; Lil Yachty captures the HyperPop energy well, and Foushee handles the R&B super well. On  ‘The Alchemist.’ Lil Yachty is acknowledging his own greatness. He knows that he can accomplish anything he wants if he puts his head to it and believes in himself. The album closes out with the track ‘REACH THE SUNSHINE.’ Everything about this song, from the melody and energy to the vocals to the style of music, has closer energy to it. The melody has a bit of a Middle Eastern ominous feeling to it; it reminds me of the kind of melodies that snake charmers play to their snakes. The instrumental gets bigger and more distorted until it hits a crescendo around the three-and-a-half minute mark, where it shifts and has a creepy, ethereal sound to close the album out.  Lil Yachty is assisted vocally on this track by Daniel Caesar. The light and breathy vocals of Daniel Caesar sound so cool paired with the gruffer tone that Lil Yachty has. On this track, it feels like Lil Yachty is accepting his fate as a man. He knows that he is not perfect, and knows that his only goal should be finding happiness in whatever way he can. It is a very real and honest message that closes out this rollercoaster of a record. 

It is not often that an artist can make this drastic of a stylistic shift and execute it well. There have been many instances of artists over the years completely changing their genre and trying something new out of the blue; for the most part, it has not worked out well. There have been times in the past when an artist was able to do this; two excellent examples are Tyler the Creator with IGOR. and Childish Gambino with Awaken, My Love. Lil Yachty’s Let’s Start Here. falls into the category of these two records. Lil Yachty decided to make an album full of Psychedelic Pop, R&B, and Rock after never having done anything like this and he absolutely nailed it. Even though this record is sonically all over the place, the transitions on this record are excellent. It is so cool how each song flows into the next so well. The only real complaint I had at the beginning of the record was how some of Lil Yachty’s vocals didn’t work perfectly, but this majorly improved as the project went on. One thing I would like the note quickly is how even though Lil Yachty has been in the music industry for seven years, he is still only 25. It is amazing how someone this young was able to make a switch like this and do it so well. Lil Yachty set the bar for 2023 very high with Let’s Start Here. All of the rest of the music world has something to prove to compete with all of the ingenuity, risks, and overall quality that this record has. 

FAVORITE TRACKS: the BLACK seminole., the ride-, pRETTy, drive ME crazy!, I’VE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON!!!,sAy, sOMETHINg, paint THE sky, The Alchemist., REACH THE SUNSHINE.



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