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Album Review: Let's Start Here by Lil Yachty

 This upcoming June will be the sixth anniversary of what I personally think is one of the funniest moments in all of hip hop. In 2017, Lil Yachty had to get on Instagram and publicly apologize for how utterly terrible his debut album was. With unbearable and low effort projects like Teenage Emotions and Michigan Boat Boy, it seemed like Lil Yachty’s career was slowly and steadily tanking, especially when you consider that it began around the peak of the SoundCloud era. Given that most budding artists from this time have careers which slowly devolved into hollow shells of their past iconography, it seemed as if Yachty was doomed to stray down this path. Now take in every bit of information I just said. Consider that we’re talking about a man who has hit rock bottom multiple times as a musician, to the point where a good chunk of people recognize him for his internet personality rather than his actual music. Would you believe me if I told you he created one of the best rock albums of the 2020’s? If you don’t, you should go ahead and listen to his newest album because Let’s Start Here is showing us a side of Yachty that we’ve never seen executed before in music. His die hard fans already knew that he took a liking to artists such as Tame Impala and Pink Floyd, yet his pop rap dominated discography showed no sign of his artistic direction progressing into psychedelic rock. However, Let’s Start Here has been out for about two weeks and it’s already unanimously agreed that this is his best piece of work. Based on first impressions of the album you might think that it would tend to drag due to its nearly hour long runtime, but the impeccable sequencing of Let’s Start Here will keep you engaged for the entire fifty seven minutes. The ratio of chiller songs to more energetic ones is balanced beautifully throughout the track list, and the sheer quality in the production from track to track takes the listener on a roller coaster of emotions. It begins with the "BLACK seminole.," a seven minute long track with enchanting vocals and mesmerizing chords. After this grandiose intro, the listener is met with the "ride-" and "running out of time," two stellar songs that calm down the overall energy of the album to a more relaxed sound. These first few songs pretty much demonstrate how the album is structured entirely. Now I will admit that not every song on Let’s Start Here is a masterpiece as there are a couple of bland moments sprinkled throughout the track list, however the climaxes of this project completely nullify them. 

What I personally like the most about each of the songs on Let’s Start Here is that the phrasing he uses over the instrumentals is reminiscent of the flow he typically uses on trap beats. Pretty much every performance that we get from Yachty on this project is top tier, and in addition to his excellence we also see some phenomenal features from Diana Gordon, Teezo Touchdown, Fousheé, Ant Clemons, and Daniel Caesar. Overall, the insane production, remarkable features, and essentially experimental style showcased on Let’s Start Here transforms the listening experience into sonic acid, so much so that you snap back to reality every now and then and realize that we are in a timeline where Yachty briefly had the best album of 2023. Furthermore, what I commend the most about this record is that its importance reaches far beyond how it sounds. This album is already being used as a gateway project for fans of hip hop who are closed minded about listening to other genres of music. In fact, a friend of mine told me that Let’s Start Here was unlike anything he had ever heard before, and knowing that Yachty took a lot of inspiration from Pink Floyd, I recommended The Dark Side of the Moon to him. Now, he has a new favorite album with Pink Floyd he never even knew he was missing out on, and he would’ve never entertained the idea of listening to it had Yachty not dropped Let’s Start Here. Lil Yachty took the best possible risk with his newest album, and if you enjoy psychedelic rock or neo-psychedelia, I strongly recommend you check it out.  

Favorite Tracks: “the BLACK seminole.” ; “THE zone~” ; “IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON!!!!” ; “REACH THE SUNSHINE”

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