One of hip-hop's brightest young stars is Lil Yachty. The 18-year-old Atlanta rapper broke out when his weird banger “1Night” went viral. Later, his songs like “Minnesota” and "Hella Os" would catch the eye of young hip-hop fans and the red-hair oddball became a name to pay attention to. He grabbed the eyes of millions when he was front and center at Kanye’s Yeezy Season 3 show at MSG last month along with Ian Connor and Young Thug. And now with the release of Yachty's debut mixtape Lil Boat The Mixtape, which features some of ATL’s brightest stars like Young Thug, Quavo and Skippa da Flippa, he is making it clear that he's not just a rapper with cool hair.

"I didn’t do it to be different, I did it because it’s me," he told XXL about his signature look. "It was just something I liked and I knew no one had it. I got it two years ago. I didn’t just do it, I been did it."

XXL got Lil Yachty on the phone to talk about Lil B, making music and his desire to become a global superstar.

Name: Lil Yachty

Age: 18

Hometown: Atlanta

I grew up listening to: Coldplay, Soulja Boy, Lil B, Kid Cudi a lot, Kanye West and stuff like that. But mostly Lil B, he was a rebel, he didn’t give a fuck. He was like the first artist to like say so many cuss words and say stuff that you’re not supposed to talk about.

I probably started rapping about a year ago. I had two songs; I made my closet a booth. I started just putting out songs, locally getting love. 2000 plays, in my town that’s a lot. I took it seriously about four months ago [because] I hated college. I went to college for about two months. Then I realized that shit was not for me at all. I went to Alabama State. I had “Hella Os” and “Minnesota” written on paper at school. I came home one weekend and freestyled “Lil Boat.” “Lil Boat” is probably the song we put out. Or “Hella Os,” one of those songs.

I don’t know [why I started rapping]. I was in a group called Yacht Club and they were all rappers. When you surrounded by a bunch of people who want to rap, it makes you want to rap.

Most people don’t know: I don’t smoke or drink, like period. I don’t like it.

My style has been compared to:
It’s boat music. That’s the name of it but to describe it, it’s like happy bubblegum trap. It’s like colorful positive trap music.

Standout moment to date:
“1night,” I made it last year, last summer. I don’t know if it been out but I been made it. It just popped off. This kid made like a parody video online and that shit just popped off. It’s crazy because when he first posted it I didn’t think it was going to pop off. He posted it on Tumblr. I need somebody to post the video on Twitter, my photographer did it and it started to take off. A hundred retweets, five hundred retweets, a thousand, ten thousand, twenty thousand, hundred thousand, then it started going to other Twitters then Worldstar, then Facebook. A million retweets, a million likes, a million hits, and then Chief Keef posted it, it went everywhere.

My goal in hip-hop is: Hit the charts a number of times. My main focus right now is to get out of this underground lane. Hit the mainstream, maybe crossover to EDM, I don’t even know right now, just global. I think global and world tours; I’m trying to touch everybody.

I’m going to be the next:
I can’t see myself being nobody. Like I’m me. The next superstar that’s it, I can’t be the next somebody else I can only be me. Shows, crazy visuals, merch, I got my sound team, my homies, my producers, all my friends, we’re just really going to rock out. Get to know us.

Follow Lil Yachty on Twitter and Soundcloud.

Standout: Lil Boat

"Hella Os"


"Run It"