On the eve of the release of his debut album, Teenage Emotions, rapper Lil Yachty sat down for an interview with Beats 1 host Zane Lowe on his Apple Music program.
The pair discussed myriad topics during their 22-minute conversation, including becoming a star recording artist (he always wanted to be a star but never thought he'd become a rapper), selecting the guest features for his album and his most memorable moments from the past year (hanging out with Jay Z and Beyonce at Made in America), but the most interesting exchange came when Lowe followed-up a Yachty answer by asking the Atlanta native to cite a few artists he looked up to while growing up.
"Growing up, it was probably Soulja Boy and Lil B," said Yachty. "I feel like Soulja Boy was one of the smartest when it came to being, you know what I'm saying, connecting with your fans. And then taking that to another level."
Lil Yachty might get a lot of flak for many of the things he's said during interviews and on social media, but to truly understand someone, you have to know where they came from and who influenced their development.
Soulja Boy and Lil B, regardless of how you might feel about the music that each makes, indeed grew their respective fan bases, or "movements," by directly connecting with their fans online. Not only does their influence over the 19-year-old's upstart career make sense but is also a part of the natural evolution in hip-hop teachings.
Late last year, Talib Kweli suggested that veteran artists could stand to learn a thing or two from the Yachtys and 21 Savages of the modern day rap world.
Considering Yachty's whirlwind end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, it turns out he was right.