- Quality Control/Capitol/Motown
- Release Date:
In the world of the music industry, there exist boundaries and other defining lines. There have, at many times, been definitions of the line between artistry and entertainment. Within these definitions, there has definitely been a fair amount of crossing and meshing that finds us struggling to preserve the separation.
An artist like Lil’ Yachty has been registered by many as a resident of the entertainment world. He is regarded as one who will find what works for sales and attention, and lacks the respect of the “real hip hop” purveyors (Joe Budden included), and even has heard chuckles from fans of his contemporaries, regardless of level of relevance.
On his major label debut, Lil’ Yachty parts his trademark beaded braids to view the public in the eye on his testimonial Teenage Emotions.
What I Expected
I didn’t enter this looking for a variance of “emotions” or sounds. I fully expected endless boasts of financial standing and sexual conquests, along with the occasional dart at his critics.
What I Heard
Well, a lot of what I expected was in there.
I can say that this album was more varied than I expected. The album began with a welcome that references his lack of drinking, losing friends, money and desire to a star. The brags and desire continue on “DN Freestyle” and “Peekaboo”, his collaboration with Migos. On the former, his flow starts hard, but fizzles quickly as he steps away from the beat’s pace. This is an issue that I have found at other times with him, including his recent collaboration with Tee Grizzly. This continues over the next couple of songs, as he continues the same script of questioning haters, and previously mentioned topics.
Kamiyah steals the show on the collaboration “All Around Me”, which also features YG.
The turn of emotions comes from the block of songs that begin with “All You Had to Say” and “Better”, which actually shows pain from being let down and desires for a true love. Yachty attempts singing more, which isn’t so bad. This emotional turn continues on “Running with a Ghost” as he returns to rapping, and leaves the singing to Grace.
Lil Yachty’s rapping is most stable over “Priorities”, which feature a wavering back and forth of his morals. There is not enough of him being focused and measured with his lines on this album, which makes a 69-minute listen a bit difficult.
The production for the album overall is handled by multiple personnel including Digital Nas, The Stereotypes, and Earl. Ricky Racks, who produced “Peekaboo”, has no other selections amongst the 21 tracks. Sounds range from slow moving trap beats on “All You Had to Say”, to the steel drummed, island vibe of “Better”, and the 80s electronic drumming for “Bring it Back”, a yacht rock attempt from Yachty.
- Catchy tracks towards the middle of the album that are mostly singing, where he really gets to the core of his emotions (“Bring it Back”, “Made of Glass”, and “Running with a Ghost” all seem to be about heartbreak)
- The risks on production work most of the time (dance hall vibe of “Bring it Back”, stripped down, bass heavy track “No More”)
- He understands catchy hooks, but pacing is lacking at times
- On “Made of Glass”, the need to settle down with the object of his desire sounds very genuine
- “Bring it Back”, “Forever Young”, and “Moments in Time” are good attempts at leveling out the emotions after the first few tracks
- “No More” and “Priorities” are his strongest moments at flowing. “Other Shit” is strong as well, but is only 50 seconds long
- More subject variety next album
- That the autotune is put away or used less
While there a lot of moments where he steps above the stream of commonness, it is not enough to hold this entry high. There is potential found when he truly finds the words for his emotions, but is quickly drowned out when he either steps to the background behind his collaborators, or repeats overused themes.
- Track Separation
- Decent Percentage