Review: Lil’ Yachty’s on a Lil’ Boat

  • Some say Lil Yachty is paving the way for another generation of rappers to completely skew the cultural landmark of a genre, while others praise it for it’s creativity. Graphic Ocean DeRouchie

The young Atlanta rapper, Lil Yachty, first made his way through my Soundcloud lineup after a stranger posted one of the tracks off his new mixtape, Lil Boat, onto a Facebook group for new music.

I had watched the cover art make its rounds on multiple music forums, and heard mixed responses from the hip-hop community, so I was curious to see what the latest release from the rising MC was all about.

Some say Lil Yachty is paving the way for another generation of rappers to completely skew the cultural landmark of a genre, while others praise it for it’s creativity.

One of the introductory song in question,“Minnesota Remix,” instantly hooked me onto the whimsical styling of Lil Yachty.

With entertaining verses from Quavo, Skippa Da Flippa and Young Thug supported by a light piano melody, the young MC is able to drive the entire track alongside with a constant percussion and heavy repressed bass that make up for lackluster vocals.

The questionable singing does not take away from the overall impact of the tape. In fact, it adds to the album by fluidly synthesizing trap and cloud rap.

This new, vigorous approach to hip-hop makes for one of the silliest, but most compelling, mixtapes I have come across in recent time.

The best way to describe Lil Boat is as if Lil B, The BasedGod and Soulja Boy met and decided to create a gangster style story in the vein of a Dr. Seuss novel.

The track “Intro (Just Keep Swimming)” introduces listeners to the absurdly silly production style and non-sensical lyricism that is plastered throughout the mixtape. The song starts with a Finding Nemo sample, then slowly transitions into a simple xylophone progression that oddly fits the classic Pixar film.

Within a few seconds of the xylophone intro, the sounds of an ethereal flute are thrown into the mix. The track becomes light yet sharply tuned. The young MC goes on to describe two personas presenting themselves at the forefront of the whole project: Lil Yachty, the autotuned songstress, and Lil Boat, who takes the traditionally aggressive rap side of the duo.

To restate, Lil Yachty’s vocals don’t actually influence the mixtape in any negative way; the auto tune thrown on top of his voice makes for a pleasant and ear-wormy listen.

The track “Good Day” is without a doubt the best example of Lil Yachty’s way of catching a listener’s attention with a fun and embarrassingly catchy hook.

I say embarrassing because the content does not inspire to be anything significantly new, as he talks about how rich he is and how he doesn’t need to give a shit about any of the haters. Because, ultimately, he’s having a good day.

The delivery of the hook is also blown out of proportion. It’s ditzy—but after a couple of listens, you won’t be able to help yourself join in on the nonsense.

On the other hand, the follow-up, “Up Next 2,” best showcases the dense flow that Lil Boat is capable of achieving.

Some dreamy synths play at the forefront of the song as the young rapper absolutely destroys the instrumental. Lil Boat delivers a fast yet nonchalant motion of spitting bars that is a really delightful highlight to find on the first play-through of the whole thing.

“Run/Running” kicks it up a notch and introduces a sample that will throw any major game enthusiast quite the surprise. Lil Yachty samples the flutes and in-game sounds from the Super Mario Bros franchise, which works out surprisingly well.

Mixed into the sample are some heavy booming bass drops paired with the waggish auto tuned singing that becomes so eerily addictive that it’s concerning to know I enjoy it as much as I do.

This song is able to capture the entire essence of the mixtape, innocent and fun yet unconventionally aggressive.

If you have given this mixtape a listen for yourself and didn’t enjoy what you were listening to I wouldn’t blame you. I can see many hip-hop fanatics going into this project completely oblivious for what’s in store and walking away unsatisfied.

If you find yourself not enjoying it on your first sit through of the tape, I would encourage you to approach Lil Boat with a different mentality.

You need to view it for what it is at face value: a very strange cloud/trap rap mixtape with immensely absurd lyrics that are supported by some of the most interesting sample uses I have come across in 2016.

Lil Yachty works his skills as the young nonsensical artist he is and crafts together what I believe is a sincerely interesting and uniquely challenging listen for both the hardcore and casual listeners alike.

Thank you Lil Yachty and Boat for taking me on this wild cruise. I can’t wait to see what unmarked territories you decide to venture into next.

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