Lil Yachty’s New Foray into Psychedelia : “Let’s Start Here”

The album cover of Lets Start Here, Lil Yachtys new album released January 27, 2023.

The album cover of “Let’s Start Here, Lil Yachty’s new album released January 27, 2023.

Jacopo Congiu-Hughes, A & E Editor

On January 27, Miles McCollum, better known as Lil Yachty, released his fifth studio album, entitled “Let’s Start Here”. It is a primarily psychedelic rock album, and departs very dramatically from his previous trap/rap style which had brought him to all his success.

Although he had been saying for a while that his next album was going to be a departure from rap, not many predicted this complete stylistic 180. Despite this drastic change, the album has proved to be very popular thus far, with many positive reviews from casual listeners and professional critics alike. Many are even calling this 14-track album Album of the Year, just 3 weeks in. But is this high praise of “Let’s Start Here” earned? 

Tanakrid Suwannasaeng, a State High Junior, certainly thinks so. The first time he listened to it, he says, he was “caught off guard by how amazing it was”. “It was definitely not the same as his other albums,” Suwannasaeng said, “He was definitely trying to experiment a bit more, and I respect him for that”.

Just a month into the year, he already thinks it deserves Album of the Year. Although he said he wasn’t previously a big fan of Lil Yachty, he says after this album he “realized that he’s actually really good.” When asked what he would rate “Let’s Start Here” on a scale from 1 to 10, Suwannasaeng said “15 or 20.”

Suwannasaeng wasn’t the only one impressed with “Let’s Start Here”. Sawyer McLaughlin, a Junior at State High, also had many good things to say about it.

He claimed that he originally wasn’t planning to listen to it. “I’m not a big fan of Lil Yachty. I don’t really like him that much,” McLaughlin said. However, he decided to listen to it when people he knew began posting about it. It was obviously love at first listen for McLaughlin. “I hear the first song, Black Seminole, and I immediately ascended,” he said.

McLaughlin was also surprised by the genre change for the album. “What surprised me the most about this album was I thought Lil Yachty was a one-dimensional SoundCloud rapper, but then he comes out with this psych rock, elaborate, expressive, album, and it was out of nowhere,” he explained.

McLaughlin had nothing but praise for “Let’s Start Here”. “I think this album is perfect. Best drop out of 2023, at least so far. This album is just eccentric and beautiful,” he said.

In my opinion, Lil Yachty’s album was very good, but far from perfect. I loved the stylistic departure from his earlier work. It’s one of my favorite things when any artists, but specifically rappers, branch out of their main genre successfully (like when Tyler, The Creator released IGOR in 2019).

The production of “Let’s Start Here” was simply flawless, easily the best part of the album. The psychedelic rock production takes clear inspiration from Pink Floyd (specifically Dark Side of the Moon) and Tame Impala, without ripping off either.

Perhaps the only complaint I could have about this album is unfortunately Lil Yachty’s vocals. Although I recognize that he obviously is not a singer, his singing made the album hard to listen to at times. But on tracks like “The Black Seminole”, his vocals fit perfectly. I think this issue will only be fixed over time as his vocal abilities improve.

Overall, I hope Lil Yachty keeps on making exactly this kind of music and I’m sure his next album will be even better. And if you haven’t yet listened to “Let’s Start Here”, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in rap or music overarchingly.