Who is Lil Yachty for? How much credence do we give the album's title, Teenage Emotions, as a mission statement? Just because you were a teen once does it mean you know anything about being a teen now? Is it possible that older listeners and critics who find Yachty difficult have aged out? As a critic, how do you keep your perspective from calcifying and at the same time have an aesthetic criteria that you could explain if pressed? How do you not be a herb?
Complex asked a number of teens to listen to the album over the weekend and put their thoughts down in writing.
One of the main reasons I think that Yachty gets so much hate is because he's not like new or old rappers. I mean just look at all the hate on iTunes he's getting for Teenage Emotions. And honestly before listening to Teenage Emotions I didn't really like Yachty and I was one of those haters. This is because he is different from the kind of rap myself and others are used to. He isn't this hardcore gangster rapper or mumble rapper. He does his own thing. He's just a happy young dude who's making this positive and playful music for fun. That's the reason he's so great and that's the reason why I liked Teenage Emotions. It showed that he's having fun with music and is doing his own thing. Now I'm not saying that he is my new favorite, all I'm saying is that I love the positiveness and playfulness of the album and that it is a good album worth listening to. —Osker A., 15; sports, family, music and shoes are basically my entire life.
Lil Yachty’s album title and album cover were enough to make me give his new album a listen. The sound of each song bears similarities to his first mixtape. But the titles and lyrics of the songs show an appreciation and growth that he didn’t have before. His first song, "Like a Star," shows how appreciative he is of the support he has gotten from his family, while also talking about how much his life has changed in so little time. Throughout the album, you never get the sense that Yachty is letting the fame get to him or change who he is. Instead, you see that he has learned to be introspective and is truly excited to see where life takes him next. —Carol W., 18; founder and co-editor in chief of Nyota magazine
Lil Yachty’s first studio album has about as much depth as the metaphorical kiddie pool he seems desperate to leave; there is a genuine sincerity behind his Auto-Tuned crooning on tracks like the Diplo-produced “Forever Young” and the opener “Like a Star” that demonstrate Yachty’s yearning for legitimacy in the mainstream. However, his rap tracks inhabited by his alter ego, Lil Boat, push him right back where he started, doubling down on the lower accessibility of mumble rap on “Priorities” and “Harley,” which, despite some quality production by K Swisha, are relatively unintelligible even if you know what the lyrics are.
All told, the album feels like a delicate balancing act between Yachty and Boat that never really gels together, and provides a pretty disjointed experience for the majority of the mainstream Yachty seems desperate to attract. —Jake N., 18; screenwriting and history double major at Chapman University
On a personal note, I love Lil Yachty. I think his whole personality and the way he goes about everything is awesome and he's definitely someone that is good for the culture but this album to me wasn't what it could have been. It was structured around cliche song titles based off things teenagers are thinking, for example titles like "Moments in Time," "Dirty Mouth," or "Priorities," but I felt the songs didn't evoke the real feelings and just kind of kept it surface level where I felt Yachty could really hit hard.
A recent song that I feel gives off true teenage emotions is "Goosebumps" by Travis Scott. The lyrics give off the whole feeling of being uneasy and thrown off because of someone pushing you to the side. In my opinion that is a real teenage emotion because there's a lot of times where the first time you experience something, it throws you off.
In conclusion Yachty is still someone I like and truly respect because he lives his life the way he wants to and nobody can tell him what he can't do. In a way this could be very creative in his light but I personally dug his past works better. —Nick T., 18