Nothing Can Faze Lil Yachty’s Confidence

McDonald’s All-American Game

Lil Yachty has come full circle. Before music, Yachty worked as a McDonald’s crew member, during which time, he crafted one of his artistic hallmarks — the signature vibrant red hair that made him stand out when he first stepped onto the scene.

Dropping tracks on Soundcloud in between shifts at Mickey D’s, Yachty maintained his momentum before deciding to move to New York to pursue music full-time. Nearly a decade later, Yachty delivered an energetic halftime performance at the 2024 McDonald’s All-American Games this past Tuesday (April 2). Additionally, he starred in a commercial for McDonald’s Canada, which featured him delivering a trippy rendition of the Menu Song.

Yachty’s most recent solo album Let’s Start Here showed us that his name is no longer synonymous with the Soundcloud era. Inspired by psychedelic sounds, Let’s Start Here proved to listeners that Yachty is serious about his artistry and is no flash-in-the-pan. And since its release over a year ago, Yachty has not taken his foot off the gas.

Last month, Yachty announced the launch of Concrete Recordz, as part of a partnership with Quality Control and HYBE. On the roster is his new rap collective, Concrete Boys, comprised of rappers Camo!, DC2TRILL, Draft Day, Karrahbooo, and Yachty himself.

Uproxx chatted with Yachty ahead of his halftime performance, as well as the release of Concrete Boys’ compilation album, It’s Us Vol., 1, which is set to drop Friday (April 5). With 10 years in the game, Yachty isn’t letting up anytime soon — not before pushing more bounds with his own artistry, and cultivating a new generation of movers and shakers.

Hey Yachty, how are you?

I’m blessed, man. Happy that we are having nice sunny days. I had a milkshake. And I’m lactose [intolerant], but I took my lactose pills. I took two of them. And they’re working, so we’re good. It’s always a plus when you’re lactose, and you drink milk, and you’re good. That might be too much information, but you asked, and I’m truthful.

[Laughs] I’m not tripping. How are you feeling, leading up to your performance?

It’s always a good feeling to have a full-circle moment in life. I worked for McDonald’s, and it was the first job I ever had when I was 15 or 16 years old. My McDonald’s commercial also just came out for McDonald’s Canada.

I love your commercial. It’s really trippy! How did that collaboration come together?

Separate from this, actually, McDonald’s reached out. And they wanted to redo the classic song, and I thought that was awesome. And very few artists get the opportunity to do these types of things, so it was actually a no-brainer.

What are some of your fondest memories as a McDonald’s crew member?

My mom was a very business-savvy woman. I had long, black braids back then. When I was about to go in for my interview, my mom was like “Oh, you can’t have braids, you have to look professional if you want to get hired.” She took me to the barbershop, and she made me cut off my hair.

I went to the interview, got hired, and on my first day working, everyone had long hair. I remember coming home to my mom crying and being like “You made me cut my hair! I would’ve still gotten the job.”

She felt so bad, and she was like “Okay, well let’s do something different.”

And I was like “I don’t have hair,” and then she said “dye it red.”

That’s the origin of my red hair.

And you’ve never shared that before?

You honestly just unlocked that memory in my brain. I forgot all about that.

So you’ve got It’s Us Vol. 1, dropping Friday. It’s the first album with the Concrete Boys crew. What was the process like assembling talent for this collective?

These are my friends. So it wasn’t like I was looking high and low for talent. These were friends that I’ve made along the way. The most important thing to me is my friendships — and trying to bring everyone up to a level of success so they can provide for their families is the goal. Plus, I’ve always just loved the idea of groups and crews.

How do you envision your label Concrete Rekordz growing, say five or 10 years from now?

Man, that’s more than enough time. You could say one year from now. But five or 10 years from now? That’s much more time than any artist needs to become successful. I want to make sure I say that. With today’s time, and internet [platforms], six months is all you need. But in five years, I plan to have four moguls, doing their own things, starting their own labels.

Your last album, Let’s Start Here was a sonic risk, as you experimented with psychedelic sounds. What kind of sounds are you exploring for your next project?

I can’t tell you, my guy. But what I will tell you is that I’m definitely not done taking risks. I can’t say what I’m doing next, but I can say that I’m not done taking risks. That wasn’t a one-and-done.

You also have an album with James Blake coming out soon. What can you tell us about that?

I’m really excited about it. It’s really amazing. When [artists] make collab projects, I think a lot of times, they don’t access the full extent of what could be. Me and James really connected and just created a brotherhood. We made a really special project that is far beyond both of us, and I’m super excited for it to come out.

Can you give us a hint as to when it’s going to drop?

It keeps getting pushed back, man. It was it was supposed to come out this month. But I don’t know if it will. But it’s done. Mixed and mastered.

So earlier this week, you said that some rappers are angry because they’re “ugly as f*ck,” and therefore, lack confidence. What would you say is the key to maintaining confidence?

[Laughs] Well, I was just talking sh*t. But, I don’t know, man. I don’t take things too serious. I enjoy the life that I was given and try to stay stress-free. I’m well aware of the blessings and the cards I was dealt, and I’m just grateful. I think I can I can only speak for myself when I say that it’s very easy to be happy.

It’s been about a decade since you moved from Atlanta to New York to pursue music. As an artist, and now, the owner of your own label, what would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learned in your career?

Staying true to yourself and not letting anyone’s negative comments bring you down. The negative side of the internet isn’t real. It’s not a real place. It’s all just trolls and make-believe. It’s not real, it doesn’t translate over into the real world.

 


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