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Lil Yachty: ‘I just felt like it was the beginning of the second chapter in my career’

Mr. Nimbus | 02/15/2023

Lil Yachty joins Zane Lowe in-studio on Apple Music 1 to discuss his ambitious new album Let’s Start Her’. He tells Apple Music about entering the second chapter of his career with the creative departure, shining a light on other eras of music and studying Pink Floyd, aiming to create a cohesive “no skips” project, evolving as an artist and embracing new sources of inspiration. He also explains why he was irritated when releasing “Poland”, breaks down his close relationship with Drake, getting a co-sign from Questlove, his father’s reaction to hearing the album, working with Mac DeMarco, and more.

Lil Yachty Tells Apple Music About Titling His New Album ‘Let’s Start Here’ and Entering the Second Chapter of His Career…

I changed the name like eight times. And I settled with ‘Let’s Start Here’ because I just felt like it was the beginning of the second chapter in my career. And I don’t know what’s next. But I just felt like… and I’ve had such a long career. It’s been about almost seven years in March, I think. And I’ve dealt with so much and I’ve been through so much in just trying to figure out my artistry and just myself as a person. I was a kid. I graduated high school and then six months later this life started. So I was just a kid just going through life. So, I was just looking at it like my second chapter in my career. So, I settled with Let’s Start Here.

On Making ‘Let’s Start Here’ With Intentionality and Shining a Light on Other Eras of Music…

I made this album for people. Like I said, for a momentary bliss. That’s genuinely the reason….I was like, “Whoa, this is what I’ve done. I could really take people from their reality for a bit.” …it was like, “Oh man, I just want to do this real trippy vibe.” I was just a kid just doing what I liked. I was just a teenager turning to a young man. Just doing what I liked. I wasn’t trying to make no experience. I was just making music. This album I made with such a specific intention. Everything. It’s tight. I’ve had this album for almost two years now. Well, I started it almost two years ago. So it’s tight to see people just feel what I was trying to make them feel through music, because I knew you could do it because it’s happened to me. So I was trying to give that moment to people where they just… and really to the kids, because these kids don’t know a lot of music. Just to be realistic. They’re stuck in the current time. And that’s fine but it’s like, man, you’ve missed out on so many eras of amazing music. So I wanted to really show the kids an other side.

It’s so crazy, man. I wish we could see certain rooms we made these records in. We made this in a shack. At Mac DeMarco’s shack behind his house. Really small shack. But the song sounds larger than life. I mean, when this song was getting made, I was like, I need a record. Or I would love a record man that just could play anywhere. Whether it was a cookout or a graduation party or just anywhere. And that’s what this record was about. That was the plan. I wanted to make a dance record without saying dance s**t.

On Growing as an Artist and Studying Pink Floyd…

But with me watching every documentary and all the interviews and just studying Pink Floyd. And then I learned so much from making this album. And yeah, here we are. I think I just… I took a completely different approach with this album than I’ve ever did in the process of creating something. And I’ve learned, I’ve grown so much and I’ve changed so much as an adult. And I’ve grown so much and I’ve changed so much as an adult in this process. So it all plays a factor and it all shows in this album, I think.

On Aiming to Create a Cohesive No Skips Project…

So once we started working on the middles, all of the in betweens and connecting it was when it started to become this thing. Because at first you just have… because if you take the songs apart, some of them sound the same but they’re all over the place. Black Seminole sounds nothing Say Something. I still don’t even know how they work together on the same project, but… so if you take them apart, it’s just sounds like a playlist. Just a bunch of different songs. But once we put them together and make it really weird and just connect them, then it takes you to this universe. I also just wanted to make a project that you didn’t have to skip, which is opinionated. Skipping is opinionated. But I thought it would be super cool if I made a project that… obviously everyone’s not going to agree on it, but the masses could play it from top. This is my first album in stats where people you can see people are playing it through.

On Aiming to Reach a Different Demographic…

It’s a million reasons why I made the record. I wanted to reach a different demographic. I don’t know why, but I did. I just wanted to just have fans all across the board. I didn’t want to just have f**king 18 year old fans, which are cool. I love them to death. But I thought it would be tight to see a dad or a grandpa or Auntie. Yeah. I’ve gotten the most backhanded compliments I’ve ever gotten in my life. It’s like, “Yeah man, I would’ve never listened to…. This s**t’s crazy.”

On Evolving as an Artist and Embracing New Sources of Inspiration…

Back then, I just thought you would check your email and whatever you got the best beat, that’s what you did. Until I got older and I started doing more homework on Psychedelic Rock and just getting into certain things that I loved. And then I dove into finding musicians and producers that could hone in with me, sit with me, and we could actually bring something to life. And this was the first time I did it. And this is the response. This is what came from me actually sitting down and building a project from zero.

On Why He Reads Negative Reviews and Comments…

I’m just interested. I’m just interested in what people think. And I don’t do anything. I sit at a house all day. I swear, I don’t do s**t. I just stay home. And I’m just curious. It doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t hurt me at all. Hate, I respect it because everyone’s entitled to an own opinion.

On Caring More About How People Perceive Him as a Rapper…

it’s not that I didn’t take it serious, but it was just like I wasn’t trying to be the best rapper or the most creative artist. I wasn’t even trying to make music. I didn’t even care if… I wasn’t thinking about music lasting 10 years. I didn’t care. I was just making music, but I still cared. And then as I got a little bit older, then I started to care about how people perceived me as a rapper.

On Being the Voice of His Generation…

I think my generation, my rap generation got a bad rap…I feel like I probably had the best public speaking. So I’m the one who did all the interviews. And I was also very new. So sometimes I would say certain things that may have not been the best thing to say and that riled up a lot of people.

On Why It Irritated Him When He Dropped “Poland”…

That was irritating. I was pissed because I made Poland while making this album on a day when they were mixing shit in the other room and I was just bored with the homies, and I would’ve never dropped Poland, ever, because I was trying to pivot myself into this. So I was really irritated when it dropped, but I’m so grateful it did. And like I said, I really don’t know what I do next. I don’t know if I’m going to do this again or do more rap shit, but I don’t know. I’ll figure it out.

On Close Relationship with Drake…

shouts out to Drake, man. I love him to death. Yeah, that’s my guy, man… our relationship has just grown. I had a conversation with him after and I was just telling him, “Man, this music that you made over this time period has affected so many people.” I said, “Man, I remember there was a point in time when you were about to release music and everyone was like, man, I’m about to call my ex. Like, oh man, I’m finna cry.” That was a time period. And that’s when people thought when Drake was finna drop, you thought like, oh man, I’m about to get back with my ex-girlfriend. You felt like emotions were about to be pulled out of you. I was like, “Man, we got to get back on that. You got to get back on that.” At this point I feel so close to him. I feel like whatever he does, I did it. If he wins something, I feel like I just won. He’s really, really smart. no matter how much he’ll act like he’s oblivious to his career and the things that he’s done, he knows what certain things and certain moments in his career mean to people.

On Getting a Co-sign from Questlove…

Questlove. Shout out to Questlove. But just to see, to get to read something so warm from someone so high up. People don’t publicly show love like that. I don’t know why, but it’s just not a thing, especially not in hip hop. He really stuck his neck out, to say something that like that. People take your words serious. Questlove, so for him to say that and drive all these people. Let me go see what he’s talking about. That meant a lot to me because he didn’t have to do that.

On His Father’s Reaction to Hearing The Album…

My dad came and heard it in Sonic Ranch when coach came and he instantly, he knew all of my references and he was super proud. I mean, my dad has always been proud of me, but I could just tell him, seeing me do this type of music, because I got this from him. I learned all this from my father at a young age so I know he kind of probably felt a reflection and saw himself in me. Wow. Hearing this music. He’s super proud. I don’t think he’s posted about himself since the album came out. I think his page is just all me, which it kind of always has been. But yeah, it’s tight.

On Working with Mac DeMarco…

Yeah, Mac is awesome. I was talking to Mac last night, trying to get him to go on tour with me. It’s not guaranteed, but I’m trying to. It’ll be so fun. He was like, “Oh, nah. I think about it.” But so he’s always been so nice to me. And I’ve reached out to Mac years ago because I just always have, I’ve been a fan of Mac DeMarco. He’s been the s**t. So him extending so much love to me is really cool. He’s also, that’s Mac DeMarco singing on Failure at the end, when that really weird singing, when I was doing that spoken word talk thing, that’s Macc too.

On Assembling an All-Girl Band…

I have an all girl band. Yeah. I just wanted to show how sick women can rap. I feel like…I was just in rehearsal yesterday. I just feel like women don’t get as much respect as men when it comes to the music industry. So I was like, “These songs are pretty badass, and I want to show women playing them.” They didn’t make it, but I want to show they can do it, not better. So that was my vision. I haven’t toured in five years, so I am dying to see people care to see me and hear me because I haven’t been on stage since I was like 19, 20. I haven’t toured since I was like 19 years old, before I was 21.

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Written by Mr. Nimbus

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