Differing expectations surround Lil Yachty selection

Photo+by+Evan+Delannoy

Photo by Evan Delannoy

Lil Yachty promotes self-made success, spreading positive vibes

By Evan Delannoy:

You may know Lil Yachty by his infamous red braids, or from his hit songs like “Peek a Boo,” “One Night” and “Minnesota,” but if you’re a hip-hop purist, then you know him as the poster child for everything that is wrong with the current era of rap music.

Whether you love him or hate him, Lil Yachty is coming to perform at NMU. Even though this was a student body decision, I’ve noticed the comment section of Northern Arts and Entertainment’s Facebook page is getting quite a bit of negative feedback about this choice. One student even suggested that NMU find a crackhead and listen to him mumble with a beat—seems a bit harsh.

What sounds more fun than going crazy to melodic trap bangers and auto-tuned crooning? It’s hard to think of much else if you ask me. Of course, music is subjective and everybody has different tastes, but let me tell you why those of you that are pointing your nose up at the thought of attending a Lil Yachty concert should give him a chance.

First, he promotes positivity. Lil Yachty practices a straight edge lifestyle, refusing to give into the trappings of fame, the temptations of drugs, alcohol and the harsh opinions of his many critics.

Despite being called “rap’s most polarizing figure” by Rolling Stone magazine, he has managed to have a prosperous career dishing out hit after hit and selling out shows all while staying true to himself and his “bubblegum trap” musical style. He even said to Complex’s internet show host and former rapper, Joe Budden, that he makes music for people to “stay positive and love themselves.” Come on, who could hate on that?

Second, he is a self-made millionaire and businessman. Lil Yachty was just 20-years-old when his debut mixtape “Lil Boat” was released. His euphoric musical style caught on with fans, spread like wildfire on the internet and shortly resulted in hit songs like “One Night.”

After modeling at Kanye West’s Yeezy fashion show at Madison Square Garden for the debut of Kanye’s “The Life of Pablo” album, Yachty became one of the most sought after models in fashion.  The Sprite commercial featuring his hit song “Minnesota” and basketball player LeBron James increased Yachty’s exposure and value to mainstream America levels.

Before long, we were hearing him all over the radio in tracks like D.R.A.M.’s quintuple-platinum “Broccoli” and Kyle’s triple- platinum “iSpy.” Only adding to his cultural relevance and legacy, Yachty plans to debut a clothing collection with fashion brand Nautica later this month.

A lot of us have dreams of making it big and becoming independently wealthy doing something we love. Yachty actually did it.

Third, his concerts are electrifying, riotous celebrations. Yachty is part of a new wave of rappers whose concerts look more like underground ’90s punk rock concerts rather than a bunch of people nodding their heads and two-stepping to the music. The energy will be high, the music will be loud and the experience will be one of a kind.

Let’s face it, hip-hop is the biggest influencer of  modern youth culture. Lil Yachty is a superstar among the current acts of new-age rappers going through what is most likely the prime of his career. If Waka Flocka Flame could come to NMU nearly seven years past his prime and tear the house down, imagine what Lil Yachty will do.

Choice of Lil Yachty as performer suggests a narrowed vision of diversity

By Von Lanier:

When I first heard Lil Yachty was coming to NMU, I thought it was a joke. I thought, “Of all the artists they could bring, why him?” Sure enough, two months later, there were tickets on sale and a Facebook page promoting the event.

While I commend Northern Arts & Entertainment for getting another big name in the industry to brave the coldness of Marquette and perform at our school, I think there are better options out there than Lil Yachty.

Showing up to the Vandament Arena for the Waka Flocka concert last semester felt like being back at a concert in Detroit. There were people pulled out by security for fighting and other nefarious reasons. In fact, I’m almost certain the percentage of people who were kicked out was higher than the percentage of people who even knew who Waka Flocka was.

I tried to just stay focused on the show rather than judging people for their idea of “fun” but I didn’t feel like there was a need for half as much of the sketchiness there was, even though I wasn’t new to that kind of environment.

A lot of people didn’t even know any of Flocka’s music, which left me and maybe a few others standing in the crowd screaming lyrics to songs from 2009 and being looked at weird. Although it was exciting to hear songs that were hot back when I was in high school, it was even more uncomfortable to get all of the crazy looks that I did for knowing them. I got more demeaning looks than people who were spilling alcohol in the crowd and lighting up cigarettes.

It’s disturbing that raunchy behavior like this is being promoted within the realm of higher
education.

The idea of diversity should be about more than substance abuse and being a gangster—especially in rural areas like Marquette—because there isn’t much outside influence and rappers are the people selected to represent inclusion.

Maybe that’s what some people think rap music is all about, but this wasn’t always the case before people like Lil Yachty came along.

Many of the black students who attend NMU don’t have a problem understanding or experiencing diversity, so it makes me wonder if these rap shows are meant to make us feel included or to make others experience diversity?

Furthermore, if this is another attempt for NMU to slap “diversity” on a public event, then at what cost does that come?

I heard somewhere that it cost around $75,000 to get Waka Flocka to come to NMU and many people didn’t even know who he was. Considering Lil Yachty is one of the biggest names in rap right now, it means a lot of money from the NMU students was spent on this event, yet it would seem like not many really had a say on who the money was spent on.

In the future, NMU should consider bringing artists with a more positive message to promote diversity. I’m fairly certain J. Cole would perform at NMU for half the cost of Lil Yachty and students would walk away with cultural insight for years to come, rather than enjoying one night of belligerence and mumble rap.

If a good time is all that matters to some people, by all means those people should feel free to go out and have fun in a safe and responsible way, no judgement passed. But, it should be noted that Yachty’s music carries no real weight or intrinsic meaning.