Lil Yachty, born Miles Parks McCollum, is an American rapper, singer and songwriter. He shot to fame whilst still a teenager in 2016 with a series of breakout hits, but what was his first song?
Lil Yachty self-released his debut EP ‘Summer songs’ on his soundcloud in 2015 and came to prominence when his track, ‘1 Night’, was used in a viral comedy video in December of that year. The rapper’s debut commercial mixtape, ‘Lil Boat’, was released in March 2016 by Quality Control Music, Capitol Records and Motown.
Read on to learn more about Lil Yachty’s music and his rise to fame.
New Kid on The Block
Though now famous for his music, Lil Yachty’s songs didn’t always come first. The rapper has said that while he always knew he was going to be something, there was a period when “he didn’t know what”.
Instead of turning his attention solely to his music, the youngster’s first goal was to establish an audience. He gradually emerged on the scene with the development of a massive instagram fanbase and, as the savvy star attests, it was all intentional.
Lil Yachty spent a summer in New York trying to work his way into the inner circles of influential Instagram personalities like Ian Connor and Luka Sabbat. In Lil Yachty’s own words, “It was strategic. They helped my name build.”
The rapper explained, “I knew I had to reach the people with the following, and the groupies and shit. I had to get to them. The kids look up to those people. That was the first step”.
He credits Ian Connor with putting him in Kanye West’s Yeezy fashion show in February of 2016. Soon after, he soon became a viral sensation.
Yachty had been making music since early 2015, in a style he calls bubblegum trap. His songs have sampled sounds from cartoon themes and videogames, giving them a bright and abstract quality that’s positive and upbeat.
Around the same time as his modelling appearance in Kanye’s fashion show, his song ‘1 Night’ was used in a viral comedy video, giving his career a huge boost.
The rapper released his debut mixtape ‘Lil Boat’ soon after, followed by collaborations with DRAM and Chance the Rapper in April and May of 2016. By June, he had signed a joint record deal with Quality Control Music, Capitol Records and Motown Records.
The artist has since released four studio albums and he made the Forbes list of top earning hip hop acts in 2017, when he was just 20 years old.
Watch the rapper’s lead single from his debut mixtape in the YouTube video below.
A Fashion Force
With a style that’s eccentric, kooky and undeniably distinctive, Lil Yachty’s aesthetic is iconic. His signature beaded red braids and playful outfits have led Vogue to name him ‘a fashion force to be reckoned with’.
His manager, Coach K, said of his fashion, “You’ve got this freakish look, but he’s not scared of who he is. He’s wearing it with pride’”.
He modelled for Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 show in 2016, an appearance Lil Yachty credits for his cult following as much as his music, and spent months trying to get the attention of fashion brand Nautica by wearing their clothes on social media.
This effort soon paid off and Yachty became the face of the brand’s collaboration with Urban Outfitters, before partnering with the company as their creative designer in 2017. His other endorsement deals include Target, Beats by Dre and Adidas.
His response when asked to explain his brand – ‘I’m just fire’.