I'd describe my stance towards Lil Yachty as benign ambivalence - some of his music's fun, some of it's unlistenable, either way he's welcome to do his thing - but it wasn't until I saw this new Hot 97 interview that I felt bad for him.
It's like watching Babe left in a cruel city, like cutting a baby dolphin and then throwing it in a shark tank. Yachty's clearly shy and intimidated by being in a big radio station, a room full of veteran interviewers know it, and they also know that means they can pull some great sound bites from a young artist too inexperienced to know how to deflect questions.
Case in point, right off the bat Ebro starts working to get inside his pockets, and succeeds, as Yachty just comes right out and says how much he charges for a guest verse, a major taboo in the industry.
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Ebro: How much you charge a verse?
Yachty: $3500, it's a lot.
Elite-level rappers may like to brag about their guest verse prices (cough, Lil Wayne) but verse prices for mid-to-lower tier rappers are the industry's most known-unknown secret for a reason. Name your price publicly, your actual price, and now if someone comes along with a big budget who might be willing to pay you, say, $10K for a verse, there's no way it's gonna happen. Not when they know they could get you for $3K. And it can also mess up other rappers' business. I guarantee the first rapper to charge $5K for a verse and hear, "Well, Yachty only charges $3K, and he's more popular than you," is going to be furious.
So it's just a generally agreed upon truce that everyone just keeps their finances quiet (their actual finances, not their looking rich for an Instagram post finances). Staying silent is just good business, especially when you're on air with one of the biggest radio stations in the country. Yachty's young and he's got a lot to learn, but in the meantime, anyone with $4K in the bank has a decision to make. Do you want a new Ultra 4K HD TV, or a Yachty verse? Choose wisely.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.