PSYCH ROCK ENTHUSIASM IS CONTAGIOUS ON LET’S START HERE.
Probably no one had “Lil Yachty makes a fantastic psych rock record” on their 2023 bingo card, but here we are. Let’s Start Here. is a hard pivot for the rapper — an ambitious turn from an artist who has long been more popular than he is critically acclaimed or decorated with awards.
A press release cites Yachty’s “long-time love of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon” as the genesis of Let’s Start Here., and that influence becomes extremely apparent on proggy seven-minute opener “the BLACK seminole,” as Yachty begins the album by essentially cosplaying as Pink Floyd.
It’s a stylistic mission statement — but Yachty’s trippy soundscapes are much better when he absorbs his influences rather than copying them. A funk bass anchors the infectious ’70s dance groove of “running out of time,” and the disco influence returns in the string-soaked strut of “drive ME crazy!” Lil Yachty’s falsetto wobbles with otherworldly Auto-Tune, effectively connecting his origins in bubblegum trap with this more recent fascination with far-out psychedelia.
There’s a charmingly naïve quality to Let’s Start Here. In both music and lyrics, there’s a sense of unselfconscious exploration; he’s profound in his plainspokenness on the gorgeous “sHouLd i B?” as he asks, “Am I mad at what you did? / I don’t think so / But should I be?”
The artist who once rapped “she blow that dick like a cello” because he thought a cello was a wind instrument still doesn’t seem to have an editor — and, thanks to the contagious enthusiasm and open-hearted musings of Lil Yachty is better for it. (Universal)