Move over Yacht rock, Yachty rock is here


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Lil Yachty performs on stage at FEQ, a massive festival held in Quebec, Canada.

By Nick Glover, Lifestyle Editor

Fans of Chicago, The Doobie Brothers and Foreigner know the term “yacht rock,” but now, it’s time to coin a new term: “Yachty rock.” 

Soundcloud mumble rapper Lil Yachty of “Broccoli” and “iSpy” fame released his new album “Let’s Start Here.” on Friday, and in a twist of expectations, Yachty swayed from his trap roots and created a psychedelic rock masterpiece.

Opening with “the BLACK seminole.,” “Let’s Start Here.” is an immediate shift from Yachty’s previous work. Starting with an arpeggiated synth line that is a motif throughout the record, a crash of drums kicks into Yachty’s hypnotic verse. 

Yachty’s voice is slathered in auto-tune, almost reminiscent of T-Pain in his heyday. This auto-tune is obviously for effect. Yachty, in a break from his hip-hop roots, has some stellar vocal performances that in no way require auto-tune. 

Instead, the auto-tune creates a mechanical feeling around Yachty’s voice which adds to the vibe created by the AI-generated album cover; Yachty is trying to see what today’s society, full of technology, macho posturing and the overabundance of pleasure does to his psyche. 

After Yachty’s hard-hitting vocals on the verse and chorus, there’s a guitar solo that feels like the love child of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and Robert Fripp of King Crimson. Its roaring overdrive and melodic yet technical style remind me of everything I love about Pink Floyd. 

The ending of “the BLACK seminole.” feels almost pulled directly from “The Great Gig in the Sky” by Pink Floyd. Now, that’s the largest compliment I can give. Rock artists have been trying to recreate the ending of this track since it first came out. The fact that Yachty and his team of producers and studio musicians were able to so faithfully follow it up is exceedingly rare.

To boil it down, that’s what this record is. Yachty’s “Let’s Start Here.” is what you would get if you tried to imagine Pink Floyd fronted, instead of by Syd Barrett or David Gilmour, by Lil Yachty. While it’s a bit bizarre to say the least, it is absolutely epic. 

Yachty shows off his lyrical and vocal flexibility throughout this album. “sAy sOMETHINg” shows off Yachty’s singing, his falsetto large and full, flowing throughout the ending of the track, while “the ride–” has Yachty straight-ahead rapping. This album hits everywhere and nowhere all at once. It has both no genre and every genre (except country—there’s no Lil Nas X collab).

I cannot possibly cover the depth of this album here, nor do I want to. I think the only way to be truly and deeply fair to it is to talk about the beginning and the end, and then to let you make your own listening decisions. 

Starting soft and calm, “REACH THE SUNSHINE.,” the last song of the album, picks up a heavy synth line that feels inspired by Tyler, the Creator. A woman’s laugh hits a few times over the synth. The rhythmic vocals by Daniel Caesar make the song feel vulnerable, but as soon as the emotion starts to feel too deep to leave, the drums hit.

In a half-time groove that shakes any speaker that this could play from, tension builds up in the song. The diatonic motion of the string melody offers a sense of stability that stays while the rest of the track morphs around it. 

Once the piano line comes in, the listener feels like they are in one of the scenes in the movie when everything has gone wrong and the main character is sitting in a random, rundown bar. The vocals pads slowly coming into earshot do nothing but make this worse.

The return of the arpeggiated synth riff from the start reminds the listener of the journey they just went on, and the sharp cutoff at the end of the album feels like the aural version of the “fin” at the end of a great film.