Weeks after experiencing a breach in content, Lil Yachty is starting completely fresh in 2023.
Despite the Atlanta emcee’s vaulted project, SONIC RANCH, being leaked in its entirety on Christmas Day, he didn’t let that faze him — finally dropping his fifth studio album, Let’s Start Here, on Friday (Jan. 27).
The experimental 14-track project is a otherworldly mosaic of Yachty’s evolution as an artist, taking a psychadelic, Tame Impala/Pink Floyd-esque approach to his sound. Littered with live instruments and hidden contributions from Teezo Touchdown, Daniel Caesar, Foushee, Mac DeMarco and others, it’s Yachty’s most ambitious project yet — utilizing similar, wavy vocal inflections found on “Poland” and psych-rock sonics throughout. While most artists would have tried to recapture the virality “Poland” garnered, Boat trekked off the beaten path to create something completely refreshing. He’s no SoundCloud rapper anymore, he’s a musician.
Let’s Start Here’s melted, AI-generated cover art also plays into the record’s “trippy” vibe. Frankly, it feels like you’re on mushrooms floating with Boat on each track, with highlights in “IVE OFFICIALLY LOST VISION!!!!!”, “drive ME crazy!” and “pRETTy” shining as diamonds in the rough. Yachty’s melodies have always been his greatest strength, but Let’s Start Here sees him go beyond — fully solidifying himself as a generational artist.
Boat first teased a new project in an interview with Complex last September, saying “My album is done. It’s mastered and done. When you’ll get it, I don’t f*cking know. My date has been pushed back like five times.” Previous rumors suggested that Yachty’s SONIC RANCH was dropping in January, with Let’s Start Here appearing to be the same project.
Let’s Start Here is Yachty’s first official solo album in nearly three years. He thanked fans for their “patience” via Twitter, as the 24-year-old rapper has been without a full-length project since Birthday Mix 6 in August 2021.
Taking the wock to “Poland” and heavily contributing to Drake and 21 Savage’s Her Loss, Lil Yachty’s latest efforts have been defined by virality. Whether it be his ode to Detroit on Michigan Boy Boat — which Detroit rapper Veeze applauded him for — or teasing a joint tape with new wave producer F1LTHY, the SoundCloud-era pioneer is just reaching the peak of his influence. More recently, Yachty lent a verse on BabyTron’s Bin Reaper 3: New Testament and also held tryouts for an all-female band he formed — which explains the loads of live instrumentation on the album.
With Let’s Start Here breaking his sonic silence — and evolving his artistry altogether — it’s smooth sailing for Lil Boat from here on out.
Listen to Let’s Start Here below!