Not your dad’s yacht rock: Yachty embraces rock in new album

Not your dads yacht rock: Yachty embraces rock in new album

Max Beitzel, asst. features editor

On Jan 27, 2023, an artist known for his trap music, Lil Yachty, released a psychedelic rock album called Let’s Start Here. Before Let’s Start Here, Lil Yachty had not stepped out of his comfort zone in any of his previous albums, with a large discography filled with mediocre trap music. Personally, Lil Yatchy’s music had never really clicked for me due to his repetitive, disinteresting beat selection and sometimes annoying vocals, but on his journey into the rock genre, he is able to overcome these hurdles and create a pretty solid record. 

The introduction track, “the BLACK seminole.”, draws  inspiration sonically from Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, and has one of the most funk-infused and groovy instrumentals on the entire album. Although the beat is amazing, Lil Yachty’s vocals are impossible to ignore; they are unlike any of the psychedelic bands’ vocals that came before him and provide the album with a charm that is hard to find in any other rock album. 

The following track, “the ride-”, continues the album’s groovy and atmospheric experience with the incorporation of a bouncy drum backbone. The electric guitar that is layered behind the drums adds to the wavy experience of the song. Again, the incredible production of this album is undeniable. This song features another artist not known for his rock music, Teezo Touchdown, whose vocals are layered on top of Lil Yatchy’s as well as having a verse later in the song. The layered vocals work much better than the more rap-centered verse later in the song, but the instrumental ties it all together.

“running out of time” is another incredibly fun and enjoyable song due to a bouncy, more pop-inspired instrumental. What really makes “running out of time” is the chorus that incorporates the vocals of Justine Skye. The song is filled with joy and you can almost hear Lil Yachty’s smile throughout, creating an incredibly compelling sound.

Following this outstanding three-track run, “pRETTy” has another smooth drum backing, but in my opinion, really highlights the shortcomings of the album. In this song, the vocals are stylistically very shaky, similar to Lil Yatchy’s recent rap single, “Poland”. In this song, I feel as if the shaky vocals, although charming, are more of a negative addition than a positive one. I can see how the positive self-love incorporated lyrics are appealing to many, but I feel as if the message is somewhat lost through the vocal delivery. 

The album quickly picks up again though, as “drive ME crazy!” is my favorite song on the album. The song is lush and bright due to the vocals from Diana Gordon, and Lil Yachty completes the track with a lighthearted verse highlighting the joy he has in his current relationship. “drive ME crazy!” has so much character from both artists’ vocals and in every way Lil Yatchy creates such a lovely song sonically. 

Although Let’s Start Here. has its flaws in some of its vocals and deliveries, Lil Yachty is able to successfully step away from rap for a moment and make a very enjoyable rock album. I really appreciate the creative leaps taken by Lil Yachty and admire even more what he was able to create. I love when artists experiment in a new music genre and am especially excited when it leads to a solid album, like this. I would love to see other artists step out of their genre with the success that Lil Yachty had with this album. Overall, Let’s Start Here is worth a listen for those who want to experience an alternative take on the psychedelic rock genre.