Lil Yachty Concert Review

Lil Yachty
August 16th, 2016
The Granada - Lawrence, KS

Lil Yachty
Lil Yachty is simultaneously among the most charismatic, buzzed about, and divisive rappers of 2016. The 18 year-old Atlanta star and his associates are responsible for making infectious and vibrant hip-hop anthems that they refer to "bubblegum trap." He is hated by rappers, DJs, industry heads, and listeners young and old who take issue with his often simple rhyme schemes, use of falsetto vocals and auto-tune, cartoonish personality, and intense dedication to his trademark nautical theme. All of those reasons and more are why the kids love Lil Yachty.

Yachty's style of hip-hop is similar to that of trap artists like Migos and Young Thug, but those who are well-versed in 2010's hip-hop could draw more comparisons between Lil Yachty and Tyler, The Creator. Tuesday night's show was remarkably similar to Odd Future's inaugural visit to The Granada in 2011. Much like Tyler, The Creator and Odd Future did five years ago, Lil Yachty and his crew The Sailing Team have been traveling across America and Europe playing large cities after gaining explosive online hype from singles early in the year. Cities like New York and Los Angeles have had their chance to see the rapper, now it's middle America's turn.

Lil Yachty
On Tuesday night Yachty and his loyal crew dropped anchor at The Granada, where an enthusiastic sold out crowd proved that Lawrence wasn't just any port in a storm. After a DJ set from Yung Grandpa and a short performance from Quality Control artist Jayaire Woods, Yachty introduced The Sailing Team from backstage. Each member performed two or three songs of their own before being joined by the next. Lil Yachty's song "All In" is a posse cut that features verses from numerous members of The Sailing Team. That song's hook includes the line, "Seven years later and I got the same friends," and that friendship was shown for all to see at this show. Nearly everyone on stage was cheering each other on, playfully roughhousing, and beaming wide for a majority of the show. That positive energy clearly spread to the fans as well, resulting in one of the most polite receptions a set of people opening a rap show could ask for.

Hundreds of adoring shrieks and gleeful shouts of his "Lil Boat!" ad-lib rang out when Lil Yachty finally took the stage. The self-proclaimed King Of The Teens greeted the crowd with his iced-out smile and quickly launched into his thoroughly impressive Kansas debut. After the curious decision to open his set with the mellow introduction tracks from both of his mixtapes back-to-back, the evening's first water-spraying, mosh pitting party broke out to "Ice Water" -- a pre-mixtape banger where Yachty raps about his diamonds and puts a ghetto spin on ice cream truck melodies.

Not every song was for raging, however. Many of Yachty's songs are quieter and feature more auto-tuned singing that rambunctious rapping. On emotional cuts like "Run/Running" Yachty quietly crooned while slowly weaving through his friends on stage. The show's star not being in plain sight, feeding the crowd party fodder may have dampened the mood for some, but many welcomed those moments as a chance to relax and wave their cell phones in the air.

Lil Yachty signs posters and greets fans at his merch table
The 28-song setlist was constructed well, giving the venue's energy a boost when it was in need of it. One of those energy boosters came as the mid-show arrival of Yachty's right hand man Burberry Perry -- now known as TheGoodPerry for obvious legal reasons. The two wore matching Sailing Team Athletics t-shirts and jumped up and down in sync, braids bouncing, as they blasted off into a raucous rendition of their song "Wanna Be Us."

The concert was closed out with an encore consisting of the rapper's three biggest hits: "Broccoli," "Minnesota," and "1Night." Everyone in the room was in celebration mode as sing-alongs rocked the theater and put a cap on a joyous evening of hip-hop for the internet generation. Immediately following the show Yachty took photos with fans for at least 45 minutes after his set -- a rare occurrence in an age where meet and greets can mean big bucks for artists on tour.

His critics can hate how fun his music is and pretend to be disgusted when he states that Soulja Boy is one of his biggest influences -- much like Tyler, The Creator's declaration of N.E.R.D. over Nas -- but what Yachty and his team have accomplished at such a young age is undeniably remarkable and the amount of respect he shows his supporters is undeniably admirable. As far as anyone can tell, there's nothing that can stop him in 2016; here's to the year of the boat.

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