At 19, Atlanta upstart Lil Yachty is marching into the most uncertain chapter of his career.
Measuring Yachty’s artistic credibility against the benchmark of a debut album is almost beside the point, given how Yachty has positioned himself.
In a December interview with the New York Times Yachty explained that “I’m not a rapper, I’m an artist. And I’m more than an artist. I’m a brand.” In an episode of Everyday Struggle, Lil Yachty has claimed to be a shrewd businessman, which might seem antithetical to the inclusive and optimistic pop music he is very good at making.
Yachty’s become the symbol for everything that’s wrong with the latest generation of rap, according to various dusty rap talking heads.
The classic album is still a signifier of greatness and relevance for some, but it doesn’t have shit to do with Yachty’s popularity or staying power-especially since he shrugs off the title of rapper.
In some ways, if the album is hated by critics, it reinforces Yachty’s brand.
If you had to box it up, Teenage Emotions alternates between three styles: Trap Yachty, Pop Yachty, and Emo Yachty.
As cynical as it may sound, Teenage Emotions is another asset in Lil Yachty’s portfolio.
The paradox of the Yachty brand is that he really is a voice for the underrepresented, and you can tell because of all the people he pisses off.