Lil Yachty

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  • Lil Boat 2

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About Lil Yachty

Lil Yachty makes it look easy. An Atlanta-raised rapper with a sleepy flow and a bright, almost childlike outlook, Yachty (born Miles Parks McCollum in 1997) rose to prominence in 2016 with a pair of mixtapes (Lil Boat and Summer Songs 2) that recast the booming caverns of 2010s rap as something soft, sweet, intuitive, and a little goofy—a sound Yachty once called “bubblegum trap.” Dozens of features and guest appearances followed, including cosigns from Kanye, Chance the Rapper, Calvin Harris, and Macklemore. In 2017, he released his first full-length album, Teenage Emotions. His second, 2018’s Lil Boat 2, took a harder, darker turn but retained the clarity that made his early music stand out. Like Lil Uzi Vert (or Young Thug before him), Yachty represents a turn away from the conventional metrics of rap, favoring slogans over bars, hooks over metaphors, fluidity over stricture, and vibe above all. (He famously—or infamously, depending on your stance toward tradition—once told Billboard that he couldn’t name five songs by either 2Pac or Biggie.) But he’s also emblematic of a broader shift from understanding rap music as an end in itself to seeing it as an extension of the person who made it, a facet of a bigger image or experience. No wonder he FaceTimes with fans, or started his career primarily as a presence on Instagram—for him, the project is social. Still, it wouldn’t make a difference if the music itself weren’t striking—and if he weren’t so casual about it too. Speaking to Beats 1’s Zane Lowe shortly before releasing Teenage Emotions, Yachty—guileless and ever-intuitive—said, “I didn’t know [my sound] was different. I didn’t know until it took off. Then I was like, ‘Well, I don’t sound like nobody else.’” He paused. “I don’t even know if that’s a good or a bad thing. But it’s a thing. It’s a thing.”

Mableton, GA, United States of America
August 23, 1997

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