Lil Yachty: "Let's Start Here" - Review
Updated: Feb 3
As time goes on, music continues to expand and shift from assumed societal norms. On his fifth studio album, Let's Start Here, Lil Yachty follows suit furthering this narrative. Released Friday (Jan. 27), Let's Start Here finds the 25-year-old delivering the utmost unique expression of himself. The new project follows 2021's Birthday Mix 6. Comprised of 14 songs, the album is unlike anything expected from Yachty. Trading in explosive trap production for distinct, velvety, alternative production, he creates a dynamic display for his fans to consume and digest.
Having expressed that he wants to be "taken seriously as an artist, not just some SoundCloud rapper or some mumble rapper," his mind and intentions are set on what he wants listeners and fans to receive from the project. Despite early leaks and changes, Let's Start Here still manages to surprise (some) listeners. For those who desire that trap sound and/or rap that many have associated with Yachty over the years, you will be disappointed (and probably stop your listen after the first couple of songs). If you want to feel and sing about your pain, navigating failure, feelings, and emotions, this is your album, folks. Also, Yachty truly urges everyone who does lend their ears to the album to take their time and listen to the project in order, from beginning to end.
Let's Start Here feels more conceptual at heart than anything else. From the album's opener, and longest song, "the BLACK seminole," you're immediately met with Donald Glover-ish, psychedelic rock as Yachty briefly touches on maturation while connecting himself to the Black Seminoles. "the ride-" finds Yachty continuing the experimentation while teaming with Texas native Teezo Touchdown, as he stretches his voice utilizing different cadences and pitches. As he undergoes his journey, he battles with loneliness, and his thoughts. The "running out of time" cut is utterly groovy flashing you back to the days of 70's funkadelics. Yachty feels at home on the beat as he informs his lover that they are running out of time with him. His distorted voice is underlined by his good friend, Justine Skye's ghostly vocals, who also appears again on "THE zone." On "pRETTy," Yachty recruits Fousheé and the two generate electric appeal on this funky slow-burning anthem. The two reinforce the message of sexuality and confidence. The features and guest vocals continue throughout the album. Diana Gordon shines with her glistening falsetto on "drives ME crazy!" The shadowy Daniel Caesar even appears with Yachty for their first-ever collaboration on the album's introspective closer, "REACH THE SUNSHINE."
There's a level of playfulness within the album as Yachty jumps from one layer to the next. For example, on "IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON!!!!," he goes full rockstar mode rapping about thinking more should be like him. The notable production along with Diana Gordon's chilling vocal display creates a rather unforgettable moment on the project. On the contrary, "sAy sOMETHING" is fully emotive, soft, and raw as Yachty puts his emotions on his heart on his sleeve for everyone to see, hear, and feel. He ups his pitch and takes risks as he bellows to the Heavens about desiring love and going to the ends of the Earth for it. "paint THE sky" is another melodic track that stands out gracefully on its own within the entirety of "Let's Start Here." Reinforcing Yachty's burning desire for his lover, he expresses that his lover has him basically overdosing on the very his lover's love.
Let's Start Here is a delicate body that capsulizes Yachty's thoughts and feelings. I do appreciate how the album creates various layers. Yachty bounces several genres around to his whim navigating through his emotions and growth. The production is very melancholic and eerie while simultaneously ironically playful and pure (through Yachty's whimsical vocal display). While it may not be as upbeat as the strange yet fun "Poland," I believe Yachty allows himself to be seen from a different perspective. Lyrically, Let's Start Here lacks. There aren't hard-hitting moments that make you want to double-take, but the emotion that pours from each track is evident. The impact lies more within the production, underlying guest vocals, and overall tenderness that it brings out of both Yachty and his listeners.
With artists such as Beyoncé, Drake, SZA, and more venturing out of their normal ideas and producing compelling, fascinating genre-bending projects, Yachty is another to join the group. However, his execution isn't completely there. Instead of being a full-out album, Let's Start Here may best prevail in a 6 song EP format. There are some tracks that are drawn out while others are overpowered by the production. But, Yachty is entertaining and expressive nonetheless. "Let's Start Here" allows Lil Yachty to shapeshift & become whoever he desires while also showing he can essentially exist in whatever realm he pleases (whether it be good or bad) without much restriction or limitation.