Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty first came to prominence during the SoundCloud rap era, becoming the poster boy for the fun and melodic time. Being known for his bubbly trap songs, he caught fans by surprise with the release of his single “Poland.” However, his most recent project “Let’s Start Here.” released on Jan. 27, may be his most artistic endeavor to date.
This album is a trippy experience heavily inspired by the works of Tame Impala, whom Yachty has worked with in the past, and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT.
As this is a drastic change from previous work, Yachty introduces listeners to the sound perfectly with the help of producer Justin Raisen on the first song, “the BLACK seminole.” Considered one of the best songs on the album, the psychedelic guitar melodies and drawn-out vocal effects lay out the album's foundation.
Following, songs like “running out of time” produced by Magdalena Bay and “pRetty” also highlight the project.
Though the production and vocal effects are the star of the album, the collaborations must be talked about, especially on songs like “drive ME crazy!” featuring Diana Gordon and Fousheé on “The Alchemist.”
Overall, the teamwork with producers like Mac DeMarco and Nick Hakim, as well as features from Teezo Touchdown and Justin Skye, helps create this lucid atmosphere.
"I wanna be where you are/ I just can't walk away/ You drive me crazy, ah /I lose it, lose it," Lil Yachty and Diana Gordon sing on "drive ME crazy!"
While the vocal wrinkle effect can be a highlight, there are times when the effect or mixing of Yachty’s vocals is lacking. Though this is Yachty’s attempt of leaving his comfort zone, he hasn’t gotten the hang of this genre either.
Songs like “THE zone” or “sAy sOMETHING” can be seen as bland to rock fans as it is missing a few key elements to take it over the hump. Tracks like “:(failure(:” try other genres such as spoken word, but Yachty is not exactly Gil Scott Heron.
Finally, while not a knock on Yachty, there are some ideas that he lets go of too quickly. The song “drive ME crazy!” is a perfect example as the chorus was golden and failed to be used more than once.
During the listening party for this album, Yachty said his goal for “Let’s Start Here.” was for others to finally take him seriously as the creative singer he is. It is a shame he has to say this at all though, as he has multiple instances of branching out from his “BIRTHDAY mix 6” tape and his feature on Theophilus London’s “Seals.”
Even ignoring that, this album will be seen as his magnum opus for the attempt and success of this new style. Hopefully, we will see more artists follow suit as this has been the most enjoyable listen of 2023 so far.
While not the best psychedelic rock album of all time, the use of synths, vocal effects, and topics of love and loneliness generates a fun hour listen.
Already a top three album in his discography, this project is a 7.5 out of 10.
"the BLACK semiole."
"drive ME crazy!"