Lil Yachty drops a bizarre, messy, and polarizing debut album with ‘Teenage Emotions.’
Cutting straight to the chase, it’s difficult to know what to make of 19-year old rapper, Lil Yachty. His music entails the usual misogyny that many colleagues tout, but his debut album Teenage Emotions doesn’t fit a cliché script – it’s unpredictable. Essentially, he’s his own man and Teenage Emotions is a bizarre album that lacks depth.
“Peek a Boo”
After an off-putting start with “Like a Star,” Lil Yachty follows with an off-beat performance on “DN Freestyle.” The production is solid, while the rapping is suspect. He isn’t shy about the explicit sex references. “Peek a Boo” follows in all its mediocrity. Yachty sounds like a total creep with his tasteless references to sex. The most infamous lyric is arguably the most memorable:
“My new b**ch yellow / She blow that dick like a cello.”
Ultimately, “Peek a Boo” is a mess, regardless of the fact it features Migos.
On “Dirty Mouth,” he continues to reference sex in over abundant fashion. Nonchalance doesn’t supplant his misogyny and excessive lustfulness, but he deserves credit for staying true to himself. “Harley,” contextually, ranks among the better moments from the album. That said, it’s no masterpiece, continuing rampant sexual metaphors.
“All Around Me” brings Lil Yachty to planet earth. He’s living the life, evidenced by the hook:
“I keep bad b**ches all around me / I got good drank, so my n***as and these b**ches can be straight / They tryna down me / But I don’t give a f**k ‘cause if my homies eatin’, I’ll always be straight…”
Depth still lacks, but he gets respectable assists from Kamaiyah and YG.
“Say My Name”
Say My Name” is harmless, but not particularly stimulating. “All You Had to Say” falls into a similar situation. He get in a few shots but still, it’s forgettable. “Better” switches things up, pairing Yachty with Stefflon Don. The production and vibe – reggae-tinged – is better than the song itself. He’s joined by Diplo on “Forever Young,” another record where the vibe and sound are more impressive than the rapping.
“Lady in Yellow” may be simple, but arguably, Lil Yachty accomplishes his goals – hooking up with “Little miss lady in the yellow.” Fittingly, the sex-driven “Moments in Time” follows. Yachty sings, aided by autotune. It’ll appeal to some, and not so much to others.
“X Men” featuring Evander Griiim is backed by devilish production, which provides fuel for the rapper’s fire. Yachty doesn’t deliver a masterful set of rhymes, but his energy and intensity are appreciated. The odd “Bring it Back” follows, continuing to confuse listeners. As nonconformist and eccentric as Lil Yachty is artistically, the 80s-inspired backdrop against the singing of Yachty doesn’t perfectly mesh.
Generally, the rest of the album is blasé. Grace assists on “Running with a Ghost.” The final results are okay at best. “FYI (Know How)” isn’t bad. The backdrop provides a lift while the rhymes are merely okay. On “Priorities” he correctly admits, “My priorities are fucked…” “No More” reintroduces the experimental nature of Teenage Emotions back, for better or for worse. Closers “Made of Glass” and “Momma (Outro)” add some much-needed substance into the album. Neither is an outright hit, but deserve some credit.
Ultimately, calling Teenage Emotions brilliant would be the ultimate overstatement. Too many times Yachty comes off as inept. The effort seems extremely flawed to be a major label debut.
Gems: “Peek a Boo,” “Harley,” “All Around Me,” “Lady in Yellow,” “X Men” & “Bring it Back”