A common criticism amongst today’s Hip Hop ecosystem is that Lil Yachty’s music isn’t “real” whatever.
Whether it be that the critic in question stopped evolving with Hip Hop the day after Dr. Dre formed Aftermath Records, or it be that that the critic in question is trying to be amongst the haute intelligensia that dismiss anything that sells more than 100 copies as too “pop,” 21st century mainstream rappers come under intense fire from those of us who sit behind a computer screen and judge these things for a living…and not all of it is justified. No critic gains cool points with countless #GetOffMyLawn posts.
That said, Lil Yachty’s music isn’t going to go down in history as anything groundbreaking, revolutionary, or “classic.” But that’s the point: just as, in the rock world, there was room for both Poison and Guns N’Roses to exist on the same plane, so too does the possibility exist in Hip Hop. Not everyone can be Biggie, after all.
This is the third year in a row that the self-proclaimed “King of the Youth” has released a mixtape for his birthday, and as in years past, he’s released 16 minutes of previously unreleased tracks. But this is the first year that the Birthday Mix has featured a veritable who’s who of today’s rappers: Gunn, Chief Keef, Trippie Redd, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, and K$upreme all put in a solid appearances on this tape.
And though the tape isn’t broken down with track names, it’s a energetic collection of party-times, featuring the lo-fi, kinetic beats that first brought the Atlanta native into the spotlight nearly five years ago. To that end, then, Birthday Mix 3 is sure to delight his diehard fans.
This lo-fi quality, rather than serving as a deterrent to the tape, actually serves to show what mixtapes are really all about: self-promotion in Hip Hop. Just before he dropped the tape, Lil Yachty announced that he was going on The Disrespect Tour alongside Bhad Bhabie. The tour, which kicks off October 24th in Baltimore, will also serve as a chance for the rapper to showcase the talent he exhibited on his sophomore effort, Lil Boat 2, which was released in March of this year.
Tickets on sale now.. pic.twitter.com/RDEZaY4GwX
— Underdog (@lilyachty) August 24, 2018
While nothing on Birthday Mix 3 showcases versatility he exhibited on last month’s “Who Want the Smoke?” — featuring Cardi B and Offset — this mixtape does show that, if nothing else, Lil Yachty is trying to perfect his talent, for whatever it’s worth, in the studio. And while his themes of partying, drugs, and good times can prove to be tiresome in large doses, the fact is, his nickname — “King of the Youth” — should indicate his target audience.
In other words: he’s not talking to you, old head.