“Let’s Start Here” Review


Looking back on the history and progression of rap artists’ discographies, there’s definitely a trend to be found. From Lil Wayne to Kid Cudi to Kanye West to Machine Gun Kelly, there are so many artists who have transitioned into some sort of sub-genre of rock. However, to put it simply, these artists could walk so Lil Yatchy could fly. With that said, “Let’s Start Here” is a great psychedelic rock album from Atlanta artist Lil Yatchy.

Having broke onto the SoundCloud scene, starting controversy with his sound of bubbly, mumble trap, it’s not new for him to reinvent the wheel. In comparison, however, “Lil Boat” (his debut mixtape) is a kid that’s naive to the stresses of life and is undeniably themselves, while “Let’s Start Here,” is, frankly, more of a therapy session with a much more self-conscious character. With that said, it sees a now fully formed artist making a conceptual, put-together magnum opus. Because that’s what this is — his magnum opus.

From its beginning moments, “the BLACK seminole.” sees Lil Yatchy escaping from the perception of his SoundCloud rap image, breaking free with a cinematic, steady levitation to a heavenly place, a la Pink Floyd. From this first impression, it’s already worth noting Yatchy did his research, striving to be as faithful to the psych rock sound as possible. While its writing battles with themes of maturity, mental health, and growing up, its meticulous production that sounds like it came straight out of “The Dark Side of the Moon” makes it that much more beautiful, not only as a piece of art, but of self-expression and healing.

The entire first half of the project is consistently solid, with tracks like “the ride-” being cautiously optimistic, with the beat’s wavy, laid back nature contrasting with Yatchy’s and Teezo Touchdown’s troubling lyrics with lines like “Making eye contact is suicide/When I’m alone with my thoughts, I’m terrified.” “running out of time” and “pRETTy” emphasizes themes of love, which is a recurring theme in this project, as its instrumentals take a backseat to Yatchy’s and Foushee’s performances. “THE zone~” and “WE SAW THE SUN!” sound more like the opener, with their bigger-than-life attitudes and intricacies, which sound like Yatchy’s on a great journey to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

While the second half starts strong with the infectious “drive ME crazy!” and the pummeling, out of control, psychedelic ride that is “IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON!!!!,” the next four tracks lull the project, reusing much of the same ideas from earlier on the album without much reinvention. It still seems authentic to Yatchy’s vision and full of passion, but it sounds more washed out than songs that came before it, with his vocals drowning in a sea of reverb and watery synths.

“Let’s Start Here”’s last moments, however, end the experience with “REACH THE SUNSHINE.” which ends the album with the same bombastic energy it started with. As synths swell, Daniel Caesar croons, and the room confining Yatchy to a claustrophobic space gets blown to oblivion, it gives a fitting end to this unreal album. Even if he only made this with the intention of gaining respect from his peers and his fans (which is a shame if he feels he has to abandon rap to be taken seriously), it’s, regardless, easy to see Yatchy put his all into making this album as exceptional, yet authentic as possible.