Lil Yachty Breaks Boundaries and Takes on Rap Conservatism

Over eight full-length releases since 2016, the Atlanta rap eccentric Lil Yachty has carved out several micro niches — he’s been a novelty rap auteur, a sing-rap warbler, a student and emulator of punchline-heavy Michigan rap.

But his latest album, “Let’s Start Here.,” is stirring debate about how Lil Yachty is testing hip-hop boundaries, and why he feels compelled to test them at all. It’s an exploration of psychedelic rock with pop edges that finds Lil Yachty collaborating with indie-rock writers and producers, which is a sonic, if not dispositional, departure.

On the new Popcast, a conversation about how young rappers often find themselves at odds with their elders, how Lil Yachty has leveraged casualness as he’s experimented with styles, and how collaborating outside the genre you made your name in can be fraught both musically and critically.


  • Jayson Buford, who writes about music for Stereogum and others

  • Justin Charity, staff writer at The Ringer and a host of the Sound Only podcast

Connect With Popcast. Become a part of the Popcast community: Join the show’s Facebook group and Discord channel. We want to hear from you! Tune in, and tell us what you think at Follow our host, Jon Caramanica, on Twitter: @joncaramanica.

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