The first masterpiece of 2023

Lil Yachty’s newest record is a psychedelic revelation

Cesar Soto, Staff Writer

Rating: 5 stars

The artist who brought you viral hits like “Minnesota,” “One Night” and “Poland” has just made the wildest 180-degree flip of their career. On Jan. 27, Georgia rapper Lil Yachty released “Let’s Start Here.,” a psychedelic rock album featuring 14 tracks and running just under an hour long. It is not only the biggest surprise of the year thus far but an early contender for best album of the year.

First experimenting with psychedelic music on Tame Impala’s remix of “Breathe Deeper,” Lil Yachty shows his deep passion for the genre from the very beginning of the album. “The BLACK seminole.” takes listeners back to Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon,” running for an impressive span of seven minutes. It features an exhilarating guitar solo in the middle and the use of cymbals, synths and other spacey instruments leads to an explosion of otherworldly vocals from Yachty and featured artist Diana Gordon.

Gordon is not the only artist who made their mark on this project. Many of the collaborators here are mainstays in the psychedelic space, such as Jake Portrait from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ben Goldwasser from MGMT, the duo Magdalena Bay, and solo artists Alex G and Mac DeMarco. The instrumentation that comes from these artists brings Yachty’s ideas to life in such visionary ways.

Yachty’s heavily-processed falsettos and vibratos express remarkable emotion from the artist. On “pRETTy,” powerful energy in his voice is felt throughout, and on “sAy sOMETHINg,” his voice conveys nostalgic feelings of longing for someone’s love. “WE SAW THE SUN!” also creates a gloomy feeling in his voice with the line, “Sun coming up, and I still feel numb,” as his voice reverbs against the ethereal nature of the instrumentation.

His distinctive vocal style makes the sound that much more exciting. Songs like “THE zone~” have significant inspiration from Tame Impala’s drum patterns. “Running out of time” features terrifically funky basslines throughout the track. Another standout on the album is “the ride-” with Teezo Touchdown’s voice adding a captivating layer to such a light and enjoyable listen.

Yachty’s abilities as a rapper and the psychedelic instrumentation seamlessly come together throughout the album. After “drive ME crazy!” showcases beautiful synths and the superb vocal chemistry between Yachty and Gordon, the track concludes with a signature lighthearted Yachty rap verse that hints at what the sound of psychedelic rap could possibly be. “sHouLd i B?” follows up his singing about intense pain he has felt into a tragically melodic rap flow playing alongside heartfelt synths. 

However, nothing feels more tragic on this record than its finale, “REACH THE SUNSHINE.” Daniel Caesar appears on the track to interpolate Radiohead in a hauntingly beautiful way before the drums ferociously kick in as Yachty repeatedly claims in his lyrics he is a bad man. It ends with melancholy piano melodies before tying back full circle with its synths to the opening track, completing its cohesion as an experimental project.

Not only is it remarkable that Lil Yachty took such a risk with this album at this point in his career, but also that it turned out as masterful as it did. Putting out an album that will be remembered for years to come, he is ready to be taken seriously as an artist once and for all.