Published May 30, 2017While older figures have continually slagged Lil Yachty off for both his musical output and his place in hip-hop in general, the red-braided champion of youth has sailed onwards and upwards, with more material built on the strength of good vibes and warbling Auto Tune to become the self-proclaimed "King of Teens."
With his 21-track debut LP Teenage Emotions, Yachty captains a listening experience that, in its brightest moments, is equal parts revelrous and relatable. On the Lex Luger-produced "All Around Me" and the Diplo-helmed "Forever Young," Yachty is a melody master, pushing his unabashedly processed vocals to airy heights in the hooks.
"Priorities" features a funny hook that transcends the notion of adolescence to apply to millennials at large. "Made of Glass" finds Yachty at his most vulnerable as he pens a very teenaged view of unrequited love, while "Running With a Ghost" charts the post-breakup sadness of young relationships.
But at over an hour in length, Teenage Emotions is more quantity than quality. While playing sweet and sensitive on the reggae-esque "Better," Yachty proclaims he'd have no problem having sex with a friend's mother "just because"; on "FYI (Know Now)," he maintains that he "ain't gay but I love Ben Franklins." And when the bars aren't crude, they're clunky, evidenced by "she blow that dick like a cello" from "Peek A Boo," in a misunderstanding of music-making that the Internet will never let him forget. Some tough-talk for the haters on "X Men" is capped with the less-than intimidating "you stinky and dirty like farts."
In the album's best moments, Teenage Emotions feels like a bit of a misnomer, but it's a little too apt at others, given Yachty's juvenilia throughout. That might have been avoided with a careful cull of the tracklist, though it also demonstrates his breadth; there are a number of places that the musical tradewinds might blow Lil Yachty next. (Quality Control/Capitol/Motown/Epic)