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Editorial: Why hip-hop is embracing Yeat’s come-up

Photo courtesy of Yeat Archive

No matter how it happened, Yeat’s rise from the underground this past year was seemingly unavoidable. Following a three-project run in 2021 with Alivë4L, and Up 2 Më, these tapes not only brought his popularity to another level, but seemingly lifted the Portland-born, LA-based rapper to superstar acclaim. In a matter of months, tracks in “Money Twërk,” “Sorry Bout That,” “Gët Busy” and “Turban” would find viral success on TikTok and SoundCloud — catching the ears of millions due to his exotic sound and unique flow.

Meshed with a cacophony of layered vocals and innovative ad-libs, Yeat’s ascension was imminent ahead of his new album 2 Alivë. While he’s reaping the rewards of recent co-signs from Drake, The Weeknd, Young Thug and his Young Stoner Life imprint, 2 Alivë is already seeing success on a national stage. Selling 34,000 first-week units and eyeing a Top 5 debut on the Billboard 200, Yeat’s latest effort is his second Billboard-charting album in his career, with “Poppin” breaking the Hot 100 at No. 91.

Continuing to garner praise from fans who crowned him as 2021’s breakout artist, he initially sat down with us for his first-ever on camera interview with OGM host Hakeem Rowe, enlightening listeners on the sound he and fellow Twizzy Rich members KanKan and SeptembersRich were cultivating. Yeat not only gave insight to his aspirations as an artist, but exuded a natural sense of self-belief and talent, saying “I feel like it’s all up to me,” referencing his 2021 album Up 2 Më and his eventual fate as the new wave’s crowned king.

Now, the 22-year-old star is in uncharted territory, standing atop a new generation of young, innovative tastemakers deriving from the “SoundCloud Renaissance.” While this wave of artists are built from versatility and collaboration, Yeat seems to be here to serve a greater purpose, and maybe it’s to prove to the world that being true to yourself, regardless of doubt, is all you need to succeed.

So, how did Yeat get here?

Yeat’s recent takeover in hip-hop can be summarized by the first bar on the first promotional single “Still Countin” for his Feb. 18 album where he raps, “Racks came in, I was still in the Tonka.” The spellbinding Portland artist’s lingo is much more than just that, as he has built his brand and his fanbase mostly on the significance of words like “twizzy” which inspired the name of his label Twizzy Rich Entertainment, “turban,” the garment he and his fans now rock religiously and — his presumed favorite automobile — “tonka.” After climbing the ladder of success with a slew of projects past him, he stayed true to his beloved stylistic approach on the new album 2 Alivë. However, while he is still ten toes down in the production that catapulted him to this position, full of gripping claps on the beats and unique church bell sounds, his songwriting and flow has only improved, evident on songs like “Rackz got më” with Gunna and “Narcoticz” with Yung Kayo. Along with the improved roster of features he has attracted and built chemistry with, every aspect of Yeat’s artistry continues to trend upward, as we are witnessing a cultural icon and superstar begin to ascend in front of our own eyes. — Thomas Galindo

Even though it appeared that Yeat blew up overnight, he has tons of singles and full-length projects in his back catalog to show and tell. “Gët Busy” may have been the one to blow him up from Tik-Tok, but once fans saw that he had tons of older songs that were hits, that’s what made fans gravitate towards him. He’s a new artist, but feels like he’s established already due to the tons of tracks he has out already, and that’s why his fans ride for him so much. Satisfying his core fan base every single time is what will help him grow naturally, and he can stick with the rage trap, triple hi-hat patterned beats and catchy slang for the time being — as that is his signature sound. ‘2 Alivë’ solidifies his stance as no longer being considered an underground act and this is exactly what he needed to thrust into the mainstream world. He still has more to prove to become a mainstay, but for the time being, he has the scene on lock. — Lee McIntosh

On 2 Alivë, the Portland innovator makes a major splash in the mainstream — and with it comes a commanding statement. He’s unlike 90% of artists out there today and doesn’t attempt to be anyone but himself. From his nonsensical lyrics to his aggressive, chaotic production choices, no one else is creating a project like this right now and perhaps for years to come. His sound seems destined to polarize listeners much like how Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red was either celebrated or hated immediately on release day. But no matter what side you stand on, it’s clear that Yeat is doing something unlike anyone else in hip-hop — paving the way for the new wave to prosper at greater heights.– Tyler Zucker

“Twizzy.” “Tönka.” Lüh.” Each of these words have minimal meaning without context, but they have become the latest lingo due to the rap scene’s newest superstar: Yeat. Sporting a new sound with his deep tone, energetic rage beats and the iconic bells, the Portland native has a refreshing take on the drug-induced, autotune sing-rapping we have all come to love from some of our favorite artists. Bringing back memories of the early careers of Playboi Carti and Young Thug, the newcomer has a unique voice with an equally standout delivery, creating atmospheric tracks with an ominous twist. While he strives for acceptance in the mainstream hip-hop community, his affiliation with Thug, Drake, Gunna, Lil Uzi Vert and more have skyrocketed his career in the last year — turning Yeat into the game’s latest breakthrough artist. As it stands, there is no limit to where the young rapper will be able to take his career — and all we can do is wait and see what else he has in store. — Nimai Kumar

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