You’re drunk as hell. You don’t know how much you’ve had – you only know that you’re all up in this club. A children’s song plays. Which is weird, because everyone in here is in their mid-20’s. It doesn’t matter – people are getting loose to the upbeat, sing-song melody. As you watch everyone clap, and dance, and sing along to its oh-so-happy chorus – it’s as if you’re watching an episode of Barney being broadcast from an alternate dimension. It’s the episode where everyone is on drugs, and Barney says, “Okay, kids – now I’m going to teach you how to fuck up this dance floor.”
That alternate dimension is Earth, 2017 – a world in which a 19-year old with a terrible voice, stupid hair, and even stupider sunglasses is consistently making music that you can’t help but love. His name is Lil Yachty and he’s created his own genre. It’s called “Child-Hood”. It’s called “Wee(d) Sing”. It’s called “Kid’s Music for People with DUIs”.
If you’re unsure of how this works, know this: every Lil Yachty chorus is about doing drugs and having sex – it is also to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus (Go Round-and-Round)”. He mentions Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a way to tell you he is going to shoot you in the face with a gun that has a laser scope. He samples Rugrats as another way to tell you that he is going to shoot you in the face with a gun that has a laser scope. He literally has a song called “Peek A Boo”. A song that can only be explained by quoting my favorite part – the part where he says:
“Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo,
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, bitch.”
Aw, yes. “Peek-a-boo, bitch.” Who among us does not remember this beloved mantra from our favorite childhood game? I know I do. And, in case you forgot – don’t worry – Lil Yachty says it over 40 times. Repeating it with the intensity of a teacher helping a class of kindergartners learn English for the first time. Rest assured, you will never forget “peek-a-boo” again.
All of his songs are like this. Lullabies that take you back to a simpler, more innocent time. It’s a time that I think of often – when my mother would come into my room, tuck me in, and then sing the hook to “Minnesota ft. Quavo and Skippa da Flippa” as I drifted off to sleep…
I can still remember it like it was yesterday – her, crooning that oh-so-memorable refrain as my eyelids grew heavy…
“You need to stay up out them streets if you can’t take the heat,
You need to stay up out them streets if you can’t take the heat,
‘Cause it get cold like Minnesota,
Cold like Minnesota,”
Sometimes, my father would poke his head inside the door and do the Quavo part:
“Wrist like Minnesota – trapping Coca-Cola…
I love my Motorola, I love my Motorola,
I love my Motorola, I love my Motorola,”
He was a beeper salesman.
While none of that actually happened, it does seem possible. It also seems possible that Lil Yachty went straight from singing with Dora the Explorer to banging with Chief Keef. And, you know what? I’m okay with that. Because, it works, dammit.
Lil Yachty (a.k.a. Lil Boat) is like the male version of whatever the hell Katy Perry used to be. Say what you want about whatever that is, but Yachty was smart to appropriate it and turn it into this fun, new iteration. I mean, it’s clear he knows exactly what he’s doing. He and KYLE have a song that is literally called “iSpy”. It has a video where they – for real – play in a sandbox while they rap about banging chicks. (Is that a cool way to say that?) So, before you scoff just watch, enjoy, and add to its 60+ million, wistful views into pre-pubescence.
Okay, so, here’s the part where I lament about the infantilization of America and how we’re all turning into impatient children who are incapable of holding a complicated thought in our heads because we’d all just rather play with our shiny toys. After all, last week I wrote a piece about how the intelligence of American movies is generally ass. Only – twist – I’m not going to do that.
Here’s the thing: sometimes I do think it’s ridiculous how concerned our entertainment has become with out–and–out fantasy. The constant desire to escape to a place where everything is black-and-white – good vs. evil. But, I also get it. Never have we been more inundated with real life than we are today. We’re constantly bombarded with tweets and notifications and alerts and posts about how shitty and terrible our world is. And, even if that’s not actually the case in reality – it often feels like our reality. So, I get why the doom-and-gloom of it all sometimes makes you want to crawl into the fetal position and start sucking your thumb. Why sometimes you just want to be saved. Why sometimes you just want to feel like a kid again.
So, before I get all Gran Torino about it, I’ll just go the other way and embrace it. I love Lil Yachty. Because, when the adults are out on a Friday night, he’s the world’s best babysitter. He just happens to be babysitting the adults.