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Lil Yachty’s ‘Let’s Start Here’ is a welcome psychedelic change

Lil Yachty’s ‘Let’s Start Here’ is a welcome psychedelic change

Lil Yachty’s ‘Let’s Start Here’ is a welcome psychedelic change
February 18
17:00 2023

Lil Yachty’s ninth studio album is titled “Let’s Start Here,” a fitting name for a project which starkly contrasts any of the Atlanta-based artist’s previous work. 

Unlike 2021’s “Michigan Boy Boat,” Yachty’s latest project, “Let’s Start Here” is not rap-centric. 

Instead, Yachty delivers a 14-track LP that mixes his signature autotune-heavy vocals with psychedelic instrumentals. In a shocking genre flip, Yachty ventures into the land of psychedelic rock. With echoey vocals and songs saturated with guitar riffs, the album almost takes a page from Tame Impala’s book of music. 

However, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what album to compare “Let’s Start Here” to. Songs that change tone midway and come back down again sound similar to Childish Gambino’s 2016 album “Awaken, My Love!.” 

Opening track “the BLACK seminole.” properly sets the album’s tone. The concise, soft lyrics mixed with a slow beat and distinct sample tell the listener this is not the Yachty they have come to expect the last six years. Gone are the trap beats of Yachty’s past.

The album’s next two songs, “the ride-“ and “running out of time” have similar themes to some of Yachty’s past releases. Similar to his 2016 breakout song “One Night,” Yachty juggles with the idea of needing a significant other and not wanting to fully commit. Spacey synths and funk guitar add depth to the tracks’ themes of uncertainty and desire.

Track four, “pRETTy,” is a slow love jam that emphasizes self-love above all. Repeated lyrics of “I feel so pretty” from Yachty and featured artist Foushée lets the listeners know both are confident in their looks. A slow rift mixed with echoed auto-tune yells by Yachty add passion to the track. 

Yachty lets the listener into his psyche in “:(failure(:.” Talking in his speaking voice about the pitfalls of fame and fortune, the artist offers hopeful words about finding success. At the midway point of the album, this track serves as the project’s overall thesis.

Later in the album, “drive ME crazy!” takes a similar sound to classic soul songs like The Hues Corporation’s 1974 hit “Rock The Boat.” Diana Gordon, who performed backup vocals on “the BLACK seminole.,” makes her first lead singing appearance on the track. As with many of the project’s songs, a tone shift occurs, with existential synths and low vocals taking over the track’s final minutes.

Gordon returns for a second-straight track in “IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON!!!!.” With lyrics expressing regret and overuse of drugs, a yelling Yachty sings over the hardest rock instrumental the album has to offer. The end of the track is a low synth behind sounds of heavy breathing and footsteps, emphasizing a desire to run away.

Yachty’s 14th and final track, “REACH THE SUNSHINE.,” starts with low-energy vocals from Daniel Caesar behind a slowly strummed acoustic guitar. The album’s repetitive theme of regret is expressed in the track, as Caesar and Yachty question if they’re a “bad man.” The five minute song ends with a full instrumental featuring crescendos of rising synths. This closes out a psychedelic album with a fitting array of sounds.

A psychedelic rock album from an artist once holding the “SoundCloud rapper” tag seems ludicrous in theory. After nearly a decade of rapping, Yachty makes it work in practice. 

However, the album is not without its flaws. Yachty’s robotic autotune struggles to carry vocals at times, most notably in “the BLACK seminole.” In other tracks, like “running out of time,” Yachty’s vocals do not affect the song, and cease to do so throughout the rest of the LP.

Production is the strongest element of the project. Patrick Wimberly has a producer credit on each track, with 11 others coming in throughout the psychedelic journey. Every song on the album has deep, layered sounds which contribute to the floating sensation it provides.

“Let’s Start Here” is not a half-baked attempt to switch sound. Listeners can feel Yachty’s desire to be taken as a serious musician — something he has yearned for. Whether or not this is a permanent sound for him will be revealed in the future.

In the meantime, finding a dark room and listening to a seemingly new Yachty should be a new addition to music enjoyers’ agenda.

Reed’s rating: 4/5

Featured Illustration by Isabella Alva

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

sports editor

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