by: Thomas K Welker, @thomaskwelker
August 24th, 2016


Lil’ Yachty sings with the confidence of Justin Bieber but with the voice of well… Lil’ Yachty. Lately Atlanta has been pushing out artists so “weird” that Troy Ave is probably curled up somewhere staring at the wall in his adidas track suit listening to G-Unit on repeat. I’m personally a fan of anything new or different in hip-hop. I rode the Makonnen wave even before Drake put him on. I’m a huge Young Thug fan, Lil’ B listener to a point, and although he’s not Atlanta born, Travi$ Scott is constantly on rotation. So when I caught wind of Lil’ Yachty I was ready to enjoy something new, but I was sorely disappointed.

I took some time as I was listening to see if there was anything I might like. His singing wasn’t doing it for me- it’s off key and off beat. His voice is delicate and seems to barely touch the track which doesn’t really bother me actually. If anyone is listening to Lil’ Yachty for the lyrical content I would advise taking your listening device to a nearby trash can, putting it down inside, and walking away. I just don’t get it. Even after objectively considering why his music is unpleasant he still has amassed millions of downloads and plays on Soundcloud and co-signs from major artists and companies. It took some time but I think I finally get it, and it’s not pretty but it’s the way the culture of being a hip-hop fan is shifting.

Lil’ Yachty represents one of the first times in hip-hop that we blatantly see image over talent. When you look at Yachty’s true audience, the people that are actually spending money on his shows and spreading the word like a street team, its comprised of fans who are it in for the identity. Yachty gives them a part of their identity for their peers, something they can point to as say “isn’t that unapologetically different and therefore artistic? But also popular. So it validates my choice while still being underground and artistic. That’s what I am.” The kids who are spreading Lil’ Yachty are the same kids who take Instagram pictures of them in a mix match of clothes attempting to look brooding with the caption “A E S T H E T I C.” It comes to no surprise that one of Yachty’s first large co-signs came from Ian Connor who actually is the only one with talent in that faux-art Instagram-kids world. The number of suburban high schoolers Ian Connor inspired is amazing and I actually like what he does, just not all of it.

Lil’ Yachty is more an image than he is an musical artist and the industry has no problem cashing in on that image for clicks, views, and in some cases appearances, that translate to revenue for them. As a fan you’re not getting much out of it except the feeling that you’re in a special club of people that are different because they value his work, but you can’t honestly tell me you’re sonically pleased by his music.

I’m interested to hear what you think though, drop me a line on Twitter and let’s talk about it. I’ll give you a fair RT and chance to voice your opinion.