by Hunter Benton
To say this album was a surprise would be an understatement. This work of pure musical genius that Lil Yachty crafted for us is of huge proportions. The themes, the warming feeling, the hypnotizing guitar solos, it’s hard to even begin discussing this album, so let’s start here.
“the Black seminole” Lil Yachty’s first track of the album, immediately kicks off with an amazing psychedelic rock tone that no average listener of Lil Yachty was expecting in the slightest. He sets up the beginning of the album’s theme, embracing his identity as a black man, equating himself with the Afro-Indigenous group Black Seminoles. He states this in his lyrics, “A black man with mouths to feed” and remarks on this pain felt as a black man creating music for listeners to enjoy “the sadness is filled with remarkable sounds”. The second track, “the ride-” follows Yachty’s theme of a psychedelic song. However, more psych-pop than psych-rock. I can only imagine listening to this collaboration between Yachty and Teezo Touchdown in the warmth of summertime.
Next track, “running out of time”. I couldn’t help but immediately fall in love with this beautiful piece of alt-pop. Between the funky bass, Justine Skye’s serene vocals, and talk of a struggling love, this one easily became a favorite unashamed repeat song for me. Following, we have “pRETTy” this song is the self-affirmation anthem. Yachty appreciates how pretty he is by saying, “I am so pretty”. Foushée’s poetic lyric, “The most important moments in life aren’t when you’re born and when you die, But when you met me, when we became us”, hasn’t left my mind for a while now. “:(failure(:” follows with Yachty’s wisdom piece about failure with a calming instrumental, stating “Like, failure doesn’t mean defeat, more so, like, try again, sh*t, try even harder”, and as a college student, those are some words I needed to hear.
“THE zone” continues the psychedelia feeling us listeners have now become accustomed to, with another great feature from Justine Skye, virtually lulling us to sleep (in a good way). After the fade-out from the previous track we are presented with “WE SAW THE SUN!”, and as yet another surprising treat, Yachty has brought Ant Clemmons on the track along with a beautiful outro from none other than Bob Ross himself, “Just let your imagination run wild, let your heart be your guide”. We miss you everyday Bob Ross. Up next we have “drive ME crazy!”, Diana Gordon enters the track with pristine grace; when her and Yachty’s voices coincide I feel as if I’ve entered a place I’ve looked for all my life and that is not exaggeration. In “IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSion!!!!”, Yachty starts to touch into avant-garde territory and it’s beyond cooler than any of us could have imagined (don’t act like you saw this coming). Drug troubles, anger, and alienation have all made their mark where yet another amazing rockstar performance from Diana Gordon makes it all the more appealing to hear.
Before I get into the next track “sAy sOMETHINg”, I need to point out the unreal fade-in’s used in this album. I’ve never been more satisfied with tracks fading more than Yachty up to this point. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I hate to say this track is nothing special because that’s the last thing I hope to put across, but in terms of other tracks this one sort of just felt like a break in a way, calm vocals and serene vibes carrying us to the next track “paint THE sky”. This track could be argued to be a filler, and to that I say I don’t care, Yachty’s rockstar themes of Love, Sex and drugs with a synthy beat to compliment is a piece of art in my eyes, “You got me drinking, smoking, I might, overdose on your love”. As we approach the end of the album (with another sick fade), “sHouLd i B?” showcases Lil Yachty’s affection with the wobbly voice effect we’ve heard in his previous track “Poland”, I wish I could explain it but this song feels like a thursday to me, not that this makes the track bad, just feels like a thursday.
The Alchemist. Such a heavy, more serious toned title makes the listener expect something great, a stand-out piece, and this track did just that. Yachty has no need to be humble, he has conquered new genres and has done a great job doing it. Opening this track with “No need to brag but I was built for this” should be self-evident. Fousheé takes the baton for the interlude and outro to deliver yet another great feature. To end, “REACH THE SUNSHINE” blesses us with the otherworldly vocals from Daniel Caesar, “Staring in the mirror and what do I see? A three-eyed man staring back at me”. The drama of this track crafts a scene, “ballroom dance with my demons”; the story connected with Yachty’s evil laugh and the domineering synths put Yachty as a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy performer. The best part? The end fades into the beginning, coming full circle.