Lil Yachty had a meteoric 2016. It was a true breakout year for the young Atlanta eccentric, one that saw him establish more than just a musical persona—he became, as he would describe it, a "brand." Still, despite the corporate partnerships with Sprite and Nautica, he is a rapper, and there's now something riding on his carefree, melodic strain of trap. 2017 will be the year we find out whether Yachty is a new staple of hip-hop or if he is, as so many like to dismiss him, just a fad destined to burn out. His album will be the deciding factor. —Brendan Klinkenberg

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