Lil Yachty tries to put together 21 songs of what made him famous but fails to hit the mark
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Lil Yachty, the auto tuned, candy grilled teenage rapper, is one of the most recognizable voices from the new wave of hip hop talent. His whimsical, sing-song tracks have garnered him acclaim from some and eye rolls from others. Nonetheless the 19-year-old has blown up and appears to be in it for the long haul. However, his debut album Teenage Emotions is a ear-piercing mess that doesn’t live up to its name.
Part of what makes Yachty so infectious is his positive attitude. That positivity seeps into his music and can make those who don’t even like him smile a bit. On this album though, those grins will almost surely be replaced with cringed-induced half-smiles due to some of the tracks that lie on this project.
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On Lil Boat, the rapper’s debut mixtape, Yachty successfully portrayed himself as a carefree outsider with impossibly weird-yet-catchy music. The sounds here are still strange, but more often than not Yachty tries to fit more mature ideas into the songs, which exposes his limited songwriting even more than he already does. For example, on “Lady in the Yellow,” Yachty tries to croon sexily to his female love interest, but comes across more creepy than anything. “Yellow hair gettin’ out a yellow taxi/Baby, where you goin’?/I just wanna get to know you,” he says in his signature high-pitched auto tuned voice, which would probably lead most to run away as quickly as humanly possible. “Running With a Ghost” deals with living life post-breakup, but once again Yachty can’t quite do the theme and hook (which is excellently delivered by Grace) because of lyrics such as “I used to rock a Metallica t-shirt/You would call it the thunder tee/I stung you hard like a bumblebee.”
The album isn’t all bad though. “All Around Me,” “Better” and “Bring it Back” showcase Yachty’s knack for hooks that aren’t just limited to rap. “FYI” would sound right at home on his past projects, where Yachty reminds us that he can have sex with our moms if he wanted to. No one’s doubting his clout, just his rapping ability.
While the album may be called Teenage Emotions, there’s almost no inkling of anything that normal people, let alone teenagers, could relate to. The cover, filled with those that many would identify as minority groups (gays, punks, etc) doesn’t represent what the record is about, which is one of quite a few reasons why this album isn’t the post-fame affirmation album Yachty seemed to have been gunning for.
Teenage Emotions is out now via Quality Control Music, Capitol and Motown Records.