Lil Yachty has revealed that the sonic shift fans are hearing on his new album Let’s Start Here was partly inspired by a need to separate himself from his copycats.

Ahead of the project’s release, Yachty and Quality Control Music hosted three private, immersive listening events that could only be accessed by invitation or by responding to a post made by the label on Instagram on Monday (January 23).

While addressing the crowd at one of the listening sessions, which took place at an undisclosed location in the New York/New Jersey area on Thursday (January 26), Lil Yachty tried to prepare those in attendance to hear something different than anything they’ve heard from him before. Part of the reason for that, he explained, was that he wanted to remove himself from the conversation surrounding artists that sound like him.

“If we just gonna be honest, I mean, I had n-ggas that were copying the swag,” he said confidently. “I just felt like ‘Okay, cool, everyone can do this, that’s fine. But I’m gonna show y’all what y’all can’t do.’ You feel me? That’s what’s on this other side.”

Before getting to that aspect of his motivation, however, Lil Yachty shared that he also wants to be viewed differently by the music community. “This album is so special and dear to me,” he stated in a clip shared to social media. “I think I created it just because I really wanted to be taken serious as an artist, you know. Not just some SoundCloud rapper, not some mumble rapper. Not some guy that just made one hit.

Yachty continued: “I wanted to be really taken serious because music is, like, everything to me. I respect all walks of music, not just rap and hip-hop, everything. So I think I wanted to make something to show the world just how great it was to me.”

The “Poland” rapper offered a similar plea to have listeners approach his fifth studio album differently on Twitter, writing: “I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO LISTEN FULLY THROUGH THE FIRST TIME. DONT SKIP, DONT SHUFFLE. I NEED U TO HEAR IT HOW ITS INTENDED PLZ.”

For those who might not be prepared to take in the full project just yet, Yachty delivered a visual for “sAY sOMETHING” as the album’s first video on Friday (January 27), the same day Let‘s Start Here hit stores and streaming services.

The video, directed by Crowns & Owls opens with Lil Yachty on a date with a woman. Things appear to be going smoothly until he is seen holding a gun to his temple right before pausing in the middle of singing the song to tell the woman that he loves her.

Viewers are then transported into Boat’s mind, where he envisions a life with the woman, such as going on dates and eventually having a baby. Things go awry when he suddenly begins to picture her drifting away from him in a car and at the diner where they’re on the date.

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Yachty then comes back to reality, and the woman wastes no time turning down his statement.

The song is track number 10 on Lil Yachty’s new albumwhich serves as the Atlanta native’s first studio project since 2020’s Lil Boat 3 and follows his 2021 mixtape Michigan Boat Boy.

Hours after his latest effort was released, Lil Yachty posted an alternate version of his intro speech to Instagram on along with a recap of the listening event, capturing a couple of famous faces in the audience, including Drake and Offset.