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Lil Yachty - Let's Start Here. (Album Review)

Wednesday, 01 February 2023 Written by Jack Terry

Lil Yachty has long prided himself on being one to stand out: individualistic and relentlessly optimistic, he set himself apart from the face-tatted mumble rappers that broke through alongside him. Musically, however, he's never managed to set himself apart as much as he does visually.

But it looked as though that was about to change when he announced that his next album would be "non-rap". How is it, then, that in shifting to a new sound he's wound up sounding like a shopping list of other artists?

Until now, "non-rap" was all we had to go on. No singles, no snippets, no release date and not even a title. Save for a supposed Christmas Day leak, fans had absolutely no insight into what Lil Boat was up to.

But now ‘Let's Start Here.’ has been released and it turns out that there was no clearer way of describing the work.

Across 14 songs, there is so much variety that it has something for everyone. Album opener The Black Seminole visits a litany of musical realms, from its funk opening to the art-pop vocalisations that close it, via a fuzzy guitar solo that evokes Jimi Hendrix.

Amid all these influences, though, Lil Yachty's distinctive Auto-Tuned drawl permeates every passage and his positive outlook keeps things identifiable. But then Running Out of Time feels like a cutting room floor remnant of Childish Gambino's ‘Awaken, My Love!’, while the prog-rock finale of The Alchemist borrows from the The Mars Volta. 

With Pendulum-sized dub beats on The Ride and I’ve Officially Lost Vision leaning into a heavier realm of post-punk, ‘Let's Start Here.’ is a messy, unfocused patchwork release. Never able to settle into a rhythm and flitting from one idea to the next without much cohesion, it's a frustrating snapshot of what it means to stand out these days.


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