I’m Gettin It
Lil Yachty has turned one night into a promising rap career.
Words: Georgette Cline
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

There was a time when Lil Yachty was sailing on the figurative boat to rap success dolo. On his new “Go Krazy, Go Stupid Freestyle,” he recalls the naysayers: “I remember when the fuck-ass niggas didn’t rock/Now niggas know what’s going down, word to Yung Joc.” These days are different. With over 1 million SoundCloud streams of the song in a week of its initial release, it’s apparent the people love Lil Boat.

Three years after being inducted into the 2016 XXL Freshman Class, Lil Yachty’s stock has risen. From a Target commercial to Nautica deals to acting in How High 2, the rapper, 21, is taking every opportunity offered. Now Yachty’s hellbent on completing his third album, Lil Boat 3, which will be preceded by the mixtape D to the A, featuring Detroit artists like Tee Grizzley and Sada Baby.

XXL caught up with Lil Yachty on his way to the airport after filming a new music video to discuss his support for women in rap, the next goal he’s prepared to master and leveling up.

XXL: When the 2019 XXL Freshman 10th spot voting launched in March, you tweeted, “XXL FRESHMAN 2019 ALL WOMEN!!! @XXL LETS GO.” Which female rappers would you pick for an all-women class?

Lil Yachty: Tierra [Whack], Megan [Thee Stallion], Noname, Rico [Nasty], Kodie Shane, Yung Baby Tate, Salma [Slims], Dreezy, Chika and Sensei Molly.

How do you feel about ladies thriving in hip-hop now?

I think it’s pretty cool. Female rappers are being taken more serious than ever. I support women, and I have friendships with a few female rappers. Just like I would want to see the homies win, I like to see [women] win as well.

Three years have passed since you were a Freshman. What aspect of yourself has grown the most since then?

Time flies. But it was awesome. It was fun. I was a kid, I didn’t have any jewelry. I had my manager’s chain on. That’s when things weren’t as weird. No one was as big. That was my first time meeting Kodak [Black], so it was cool just being in there.

My brand and my name definitely [have grown]. I’ve matured so much. I was a child, you know? But I’ve been through so many things since then that I knew nothing of at the time. Part of me just grew up and became a man.

Who have you been working with on your upcoming album, Lil Boat 3?

I haven’t really worked with any artists. This may be my album [with the least features]. [For producers,] I got Ronny J, Pi’erre Bourne, EarlThePearll, my brother, Mitch [GoneMad]. I been working with Alchemist and I’m supposed to go to North Carolina to fuck with 9th Wonder.

The next goal you want to achieve is DJing, right?

Oh my God, yeah. Yeah, man! I’m so into that! I have amazing taste in music. Way advanced and more broad than just hip-hop. I listen to all genres. I have an amazing playlist, amazing library.

So, I can fucking do it. I haven’t mastered the art of timing or nothing, but my DJ is super dope. Like, he’s a real DJ. He don’t just press play. He’s super good. So he’s the one definitely showing me the ropes. I’ll be good in no time. I have personality. [Perfect song to kick off my DJ set would be Frank Ocean’s] “Nikes.”

At this point in your life, what’s one word you’d use to describe yourself?

I’d say upgrading. Trying to go to the next level with acting, music and just life all around.

Check out more from XXL’s Summer 2019 issue, including our 2019 XXL Freshman cover story interviews, a narrative on whether Jay-Z should run for political office, a look into Young Dolph's return after bouncing back from beef and Billie Eilish praises XXXTentacion, Tierra Whack and Denzel Curry in Hip-Hop Junkie.

See Photos of Every XXL Freshman Ever Inducted Into the Freshman Class Over the Years

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