We knew Lil Yachty was a weird guy, but we didn’t know he was this weird. Yachty, the Atlanta rap eccentric, has always pushed his voice in as many different directions as possible — a tendency that’s led him from projects that range from Michigan Boat Boy, a 2021 mixtape where he teamed up with rappers from the Detroit and Flint underground scenes, to the movie based on the card game UNO that he was supposedly developing. A few months ago, Yachty had his biggest hit in years with “Poland,” an 88-second rap goof that became a viral sensation. So now Yachty has naturally followed that song with a full-on bugged-out psychedelic rock album.
Yachty spent months recording his new LP Let’s Start Here. — the period is part of the title — in studios around the country. He says that the album is party inspired by his love of Pink Floyd, and you can actually hear that influence in the music, a gurgling soup of expansive guitars and loping basslines and falsetto howls. The obvious contemporary comparison point is Tame Impala, especially since Yachty remixed their “Breathe Deeper” last year. But parts of this album remind me more of Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!”, MGMT, and even Dungen. There’s a little bit of rapping on the album, but only a little.
Lil Yachty co-produced every track on Let’s Start Here., and I’m guessing he created the album cover with the AI model DALL-E mini. Yachty worked on the music with a team of co-producers that includes Skye Ferreira/Angel Olsen collaborator Justin Raisen, Raisen’s rap-producer brother Sad Pony, former Chairlift member Nick Wimberly, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait, Nick Hakim, Magdalena Bay, and Jam City. Vocalists like Foushée, Diana Gordon, Teezo Touchdown, and Justine Skye make appearances. MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser plays keyboards.
Let’s Start Here. is a fascinating left turn from an already-famous artist, and time will tell if it turns out to be anything more than that. On my first couple of listens, though, I’m into it. There have been rumblings that Yachty was working on a rock album, but the end product is a whole lot more fully realized than I’d imagined. The record is definitely indulgent, but it never loses its way, and it demands to be heard as a cohesive whole. The album doesn’t peak until the end; the final track, the Daniel Caesar showcase “REACH THE SUNSHINE.,” is a full-on widescreen mind-wrecker. Stream the album below.
Here’s Yachty promising a “psychedelic alternative album” a year ago.
And here’s the trippy Let’s Start Here. trailer that Yachty shared a few days ago.
Let’s Start Here. is out now on Quality Control/Motown.