Polarizing album releases in the modern hip-hop community often usher in repetitive opinions, confused hypebeasts, and a divisive internet discourse where nobody appears to be right, or in their right mind. Lil Yachty’s newest release, “Let’s Start Here,” was no exception to this phenomenon.
In 2023, it seems like everyone has heard of Lil Yachty to some extent. Yachty has done an impeccable job of maintaining artistic integrity while also remaining culturally relevant and developing with time. There’s plenty of hate spewed towards the young Atlanta artist, however, I’ve always respected him and placed quite a few of his records on a higher tier than his peers in the new generation of hip hop. The middle 2010’s Soundcloud generation of young rappers that Yachty popped out with would be dutifully lacking in originality and scope if it were not for artists like him , Playboi Carti, and Denzel Curry pushing an agenda for quality within their brash, high-octane form of hip hop.
2023’s “Let’s Start Here,” finds Lil Yachty mostly abandoning his previous dives into hip hop subgenres like drill, rage, and Detroit trap music to angle towards an indie, psychedelic sound with live instrumentation and synth lines reminiscent of Tyler the Creator’s “Igor.”
This album release was insufferable because it turned all of these kids on the internet into apparent music experts (hypocritical of me to say, I know) because they’d just listened to an hour of live instrumentation and auto-crooning Yachty instead of their 18-hour Drake x Travis Scott playlist. Something about that sounds hyper-critical and pretentious, but if you feel called out, maybe look deep within yourself and decide if that applies to you. The fans of this new Yachty record seemed convinced that he had broken ground on a completely new dimension of musical capabilities, as if Tame Impala hasn’t been out and about, fueling the “rap fans who like that one non rap guy,” archetype for years. Those who did not believe Yachty had reinvented music itself essentially called “Let’s Start Here,” a steaming plate of hot garbage. This is where my supreme ruling, objectively correct opinions come into play to proudly announce: “Neither of these groups of people are correct.”
“Let’s Start Here,” is an album where the energy is tangible, Yachty sounds inspired and he is genuinely playing around with new sounds that HE hasn’t explored yet, though his influences are worn on his sleeve throughout. The opening track, “The Black Seminole,” is a seven-minute psychedelic composition that introduces Yachty’s new sound and finds him venting about lost love and the confusing landscape he’s found himself in after growing up in the music industry and public spotlight.
This album does lose its steam as it runs its course, however, it is great music to have on while just relaxing and feeling light. The sonic trajectory of the album is more of a flatline as Yachty remains in this airy rock and indie genre for the majority of the record, occasionally throwing in a rapped verse or vocal feature. That being said, “I’ve Officially Lost Vision,” and “Reach the Sunshine,” were the standout tracks to me, as they find Yachty in a more aggressive and ominous mindset. The instrumentation and progression of these songs work exceptionally on all levels.
Lil Yachty’s “Let’s Start Here,” is a productive dive into new sounds for the young Atlanta creative. Though it does become slightly repetitive throughout the course of the entire listen, this new Lil Yachty record does an excellent job of capturing a relaxing, summertime feeling to kick back and listen to.
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