The Repercussion of Yachty’s Perceptive
I know I’m late, but I recently watched the Lil Yachty v Joe Budden interview on “Everyday Struggle.” Firstly, it’s hard for me to ignore Yachty just being glad for his riches while Capitol Records may be robbing him blind. C’mon brotha, you don’t know your own contract?! More importantly, and further discussed in this article, his legitimization of his art form and what it means to him, I fear, has destructive consequences.
Lil’ Yachty, the living embodiment of the Hot Boyz “bling bling” depiction of hip-hop, add (his favorite rapper) Lil’ B’s application of the art, sprinkled in with Future’s execution of the content, is pretty much the poster boy for the New School of Hip-Hop. As with all art forms and creative methods of expression, the look, the feel, the meaning of said expression changes as future generations gravitate towards and ultimately inherit it. We’ve seen this numerous times before: from Elvis Presley and the explosion of Rock n’ Roll, to Nirvana and the revolt of the Grunge Era, and now you have Lil’ Yachty and the Mumble Rap phenomenon (though I believe Future invented the sub-genre, for the sake of this article let’s focus on Yachty and his current wave). All of these are movements that manifested as a sub-genres of an already established art form, each generally following its own theme: Rock n’ Roll was fun, Grunge was rebellious, and now Mumble Rap appears to be enthralled with money and physical possessions. I know I know, just stay with me.
So yea, the the interview:
At about the 4:40 mark of the interview Old Man Budden asks the younger Yachty how he feels about his place in hip-hop, after acknowledging his place as the “top outcast.” The kid responds saying something similar to him not being bothered by it because financially he’s not been affected. This raised an eyebrow.
“I don’t believe I’m doing the best music, I believe I’m doing the best business.”
He then goes on to validate his feelings toward the industry by claiming that his constant state of happiness comes from the fact that he used hip-hop to go from a college dormroom to now having half a million dollars on his body just to wear. And now he had my full-blown attention...maybe even a “nigga what?” or two.
“I am happy everyday. Because life is moving in such a positive way...it can’t slow me down.”
Although it was expertly being tap danced around, the elder statesman remained persistent in getting Yachty to answer the question, “Where do you believe you stand amongst your contemporaries?” And then came the answer that shut off my brain…the damn Sprite commercial. Lil’ Uzi Vert ain’t in no Sprite commercials. Migos ain’t in no Sprite commercials. But Lil’ Yachty got a Sprite commercial. So that means Lil’ Yachty must be the best rapper of the bunch, right? ‘Cause that was pretty much the insinuation.
Let’s recap that, when asked about his feelings toward his place in hip-hop, on at least three occasions in the course of that interview, Lil’ Yachty was quick to refer to his money, his clothes, and the fact that he’s in a fucking Sprite commercial when none of his contemporaries are. When asked to validate his place in his genre, he repeatedly referred to physical possessions rather than the actual output and reaction his work.
However unfair it may be, based on this interview, I can easily claim that Yachty doesn’t care about his work. That he merely cares about the possessions it brings. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing for him. He can do and say whatever he’d like. But I hope he wakes up and realizes the effect of his words and actions on the people he inspires. When you’re in dead pursuit of riches at the expense of quality, meaningful, work, you may inspire others to do the same. To sell their souls, bastardize their talents, all for the sake of fame and fortune. I do not despise what Yachty is doing, but I fear for what his message will mean to the generation of kids he inspires.