By Jack M. Angelo, Senior Video Director
When Bad Boy records released Notorious B.I.G.’s posthumous album Life After Death on March 25, 1997, Atlanta based rapper and auto-tune crooner Lil Yachty was still five months away from being born. The 20-year-old has been dubbed “King of the Teens” since his hit mixtape Lil Boat came out in March 2016, while songs like “One Night” and “Minnesota” earned him a spot on the XXL 2016 Freshman Class list, which launched his fame into the stratosphere.
Yachty, a.k.a. Lil Boat, is currently touring the country in support of his first official album, Teenage Emotions, released on May 26 of this year, and he made port at Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore, MD, on August 22, the day before his 20th birthday. Most of the audience at the show had “X”s drawn on their hands, indicating their underage status, and confirming the headliner’s influence over the current adolescent crop.
Yachty’s group “The Sailing Team” was the main opening act, and each of the nine members performed songs one after another. After the fifth or sixth member of the group was introduced, the crowd became visibly and audibly impatient. The teenage audience assumed that, once they saw Burberry Perry, Yachty’s best friend, at 8:13 p.m., the headliner was not far behind.
However, there was still plenty of time to wait, with another handful of openers. These performers were clearly feeling the lack of energy from the crowd during their sets, and attempted to hype up the crowd any way possible, with failed chants, poorly executed mosh pits, and plenty of water bottle throwing. Unfortunately for these artists, there was only one thing that could satisfy this audience, and that was Lil Yachty himself.
After more than 90 minutes of an increasingly uncomfortable and impatient teenage audience sitting through acts they were uninterested in, the words everyone was there to hear were finally spoken: “Are ya’ll ready for me to bring out Lil Yachty?” Immediately the energy shifted and the crowd was ready for their King. The headliner at last took the stage to “Like a Star,” the first song off of his album, wearing his signature Nautica clothing, one of the many brands he currently represents.
Having performed a few quick songs, Yachty took an opportunity to bring some fans on stage to attempt to sing a love ballad from Teenage Emotions called “Made of Glass.” This went on for about 20 minutes and involved 8 or 9 people coming on stage and failing to sing the first few seconds. The audience quickly became uninterested, and the little momentum the show had built up to this point had crashed into a wall. The 20-year-old eventually realized this, and after two teenage girls finished their off-pitch wailing of “Made of Glass,” the headliner asked, “can you guys get off my stage now?”
After a short break, Lil Boat took the stage again in a different Nautica outfit. This time, the no-longer-a-teen rapper instructed the crowd to form a mosh pit, then played some of his hardest hitting songs, including “Peek a Boo,” featuring Migos. This was the show the audience had been waiting for, and the crowd finally summoned the energy that the previous performers had so desperately failed to inspire.
Yachty’s fans love him because of who he is. His personality is what draws in his audience. As a result, it seems you get a crowd that is not really there for the music, but more to see their favorite celebrity in real life. This dynamic means that the young rapper does not necessarily have to put on the show of a lifetime every night, but rather show up and inspire an audience with his presence and style.
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