Teenage Dreams: Why Lil Yachty's Album Flopped

Let's me start off by telling you how I met Lil Yachty: one of the most awkward exchanges in my young life. It was at the sold out Kanye West YEEZY Season 3 presentation at Madison Square Garden. I was skipping -- yes, I’m a grown ass woman that skips -- down the hall to the bathroom singing Lil Yatchy’s aka Lil Boat debut hit “One Night” at the top of my lungs.

I already looked crazy and homeless thanks to the lovely outfit the Yeezy team placed me in. But, at this point, who cared? So as I'm making a sharp left turn, singing “I CAN'T HAVE NO WIFE,” I instantly bump into Lil Yachty and his team. I fell on the floor and suddenly looked up at this group of 6-feet tall boys. It was like a dramatic plot to a Brazzers film. At this point, Lil Yachty helps me up. My mind started to race. I couldn’t think of anything to say. In my awkward nature, I get up, thank him and say “Nope, not dick riding today” and walked off. What was I thinking right?

Later on the day, I saw Lil Yachty with Ian Connor in the middle of the Arena, and he waved at me. I could have died. I should have crawled into a ball, but ultimately, I developed a level of respect for Lil Yachty for not paying mind to my awkwardness --- Thus starting my fandom in the Lil Yachty World.

 Ian Connor, Lil Yachty and Young Thug at Kanye West's Wild New York Album Launch at Madison Square Garden in 2016. Source: Rolling Stone

Ian Connor, Lil Yachty and Young Thug at Kanye West's Wild New York Album Launch at Madison Square Garden in 2016. Source: Rolling Stone

Lil Yachty has always proven to be a generous person, a playful rapper and an out-of-the-box thinker when it comes to the content of his music videos. He has always remained humbled when it comes to the music, remained family oriented, and successful with multiple endorsement deals. And through it all, he's stays true to his youth. So why did Lil Yatchy’s debut album “Teenage Emotions” flop? Even though he made $13 million in 6 months?

Because it was just a Teenage Dream. Teenage Emotions was supposed to be a testament to the diversity of the culture. The album cover features youth of all walks of life. But is the hip-hop community accepting of the 'weirdos'? Now-a-days people have been latching onto the “scene” and integrating themselves into the “artsy” scene.

Rap subgenres like “Trap Punk” have been introduced to world thanks to artist like Lil Uzi Vert, and “Mumble Rap” is taking over every festival, trap party and mosh pit. Yachty even features a gay male couple kissing on his cover. In the age of the Young Thugs and diamond choker necklaces, the hip-hop community is still not completely ready to make room for homosexuality in the rap community.  

 Lil Yachty's album cover for "Teenage Emotions."

Lil Yachty's album cover for "Teenage Emotions."

The first week, “Teenage Emotions” sold only 46,000 units and landed #5 on the Billboard charts, slowly made its way lower and lower on the chart's list. Feeling misunderstood, Lil Yachty wrote an open note to fans on Instagram stating that the 22-song album was a testament to who Yachty is as a person. Each song was supposed to give us a glimpse of who Yachty is as an artist, and the masses were not impressed.

In the weeks leading to the release, Yachty made multiple headlines about his lack of musical knowledge. Joe Budden, an interviewer for Complex’s new web series “Everyday Struggle," laid into Yachty for not knowing what type of contract he locked in. Some of you may know Joe Budden from his one hit song, “Pump It Up," and his 5 minutes of fame on Love and Hip Hop, after admitting to the world he was addicted drugs. Now why would anyone want to take advice from Joe Budden? Because he knows what it’s like to lose relevancy.

Although Budden's delivery of criticism was wrong, he was right in terms of Yachty's lack of industry knowledge and how significant it is to an artist's life. If you want to live this rap life, it shouldn’t just be about the check, it should be about the quality of the art and the way in which it is presented to the world.

On top of proving he has NO idea what kind of contract he’s in or how he got there, Yachty also proved that he has no musical knowledge, and possibly that his music shouldn’t be taken seriously. I lost respect for Yachty when instead of blaming himself for his musical ignorance, he blamed everyone else around him for not telling him that a cello isn’t a woodwind instrument. He disrespected every '90s kid by saying Squidward played the flute and not the clarinet. He mixed up three instruments in an apology. Why can’t he just get it right?

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For me, this is a spit in the face to every artist out there that lives, breathes and dies by their music. I know so many musicians that wake up and religiously study their craft. I know people that wouldn’t drop a song until they've done a full month of mixing and remastering songs. The whole idea that Yachty, a man who has no basic knowledge of musical instruments, can gain this much notoriety in the music world is depressing to those who are really out here grinding.

Yachty could care less about the album sales. He's had an amazing year and made millions in 6 months. He has gotten the opportunity to shower his mother in gifts, buy her the house she has always wanted and take care of his family. But it just proves that this entire industry is a huge popularity contest. It’s “survival of the littest”. But the people have spoken. The litness doesn’t mean shit if you don’t know your craft.