Before most young people turn 21, they are worried about final exams, summer jobs, and finding a way to drink without getting caught, but Lil Yachty has been focused on changing the most popular genre of music in America and making the world his own. The 20-year-old musician has become a powerful force in the industry in an extremely short period of time, and he’s garnered praise and developed a following of millions of fans in the process.
He may only be 20, but Lil Yachty has already charted a pair of top five albums, two top five hit singles, and he became a Grammy-nominated musician years ago. He already has the career most artists can only dream of, and he’s just getting started.
I spoke to hip-hop’s latest breath of fresh air recently about what he’s working on, what inspires him, and how he hasn’t let all the wonderful things people say about him and his work go to his head.
CEEK VR: First, congratulations to you! The last year or so has been especially incredible for you, and truly the last two or three years have been really special. It seems like the minute you jumped into this, everyone loved you and you bolted right up the charts. How does it feel to make a name for yourself so quickly in a difficult industry?
Lil Yachty: I feel, like, it’s lots of dead weight to motivate somebody else. Lots of dead weight. I like being motivation to other people out there trying to, you know what I'm saying, trying to be something.
CEEK VR: What do you think it is about you and your music that made people latch on so quickly?
Yachty: Honestly, I don’t know.
CEEK VR: What advice would you give to somebody who's just getting started like you were to help them stand out?
Yachty: I would tell them to be themselves, you know. I would tell that the only thing different... The only thing that stands out is to just be extra.
CEEK VR: Your specific style of music is unlike anything many people have heard before, especially coming from the hip-hop world. Where do you get your inspiration? What inspires you?
Yachty: To be honest with you... Just different music, you know? Sometimes older movies… I don't know. I don't know really! Kinda like just everyday life.
CEEK VR: Your debut album came out last spring, and it's coming up on a year now. What are you working on now?
Yachty: My second, Lil Boat 2.
CEEK VR: Everyone's putting you on their best-of lists and calling you the future of hip-hop. What does that mean to you, to be called that by so many influential publications and people?
Yachty: I don't really know. I mean, I don't really know. Looking at it, I just kinda go with the flow, but I mean like, I appreciate it. I don't think too much on that.
CEEK VR: So you're not at all intimidated by what people are expecting of you, or what they think of you?-
Yachty: Yeah. Definitely. Sometimes, when it comes to projects, yes.
CEEK VR: You've partnered with a number of brands over the years? I loved the Target commercial with Carly Rae Jepsen in particular. What makes you want to agree to a partnership versus say no?
Yachty: It has to feel organic. It has to be true. That's the equation I really like. Cause I wanna be involved with it.
CEEK VR: How do you think it's changed in the music industry...you know, years ago, if an artist worked for the brand, they were selling out. But now it's almost like the thing that you want. How do you view working with brands?
Yachty: I don't look at it like none of that, but I think it's a little like… I'll admit it's the new wave...they didn't allow it for a long time. A lot of the things they wanted wasn't even fun.
CEEK VR: You mentioned your new project, but it's still early in 2018. What does the rest of the year bring for Lil Yachty?
Yachty: I can't really give out too much.
CEEK VR: I know your fans are excited to hear more from you, so I'm sure you've got some things coming!