Lil Yachty is What Your Summer Needs
The internet’s favourite rapper answers our questions about love, style, and of course, boats
Several summers back, Miles McCollum was just another Georgia teen, playing video games and sneaking out of the house to hang with friends. Now, he has evolved into Lil Yachty, the King of Teens, a strange, wonderful rap star who has made many millions and enamored legions of obsessed youngs—the Sailing Team—performing “bubblegum trap” that celebrates the sweetness in life, whether it’s stargazing with a lover (“Better”) or Pixar movies (peep the Finding Nemo intro on “Just Keep Swimming”), and all things nautical, obvs (his more nasty alter-ego? Lil Boat). After two mix tapes and some high-profile guest spots, he recently released his debut full-length, Teenage Emotions, a 21-track ode to the joys of being young and free that featured the Diplo-produced banger “Forever,” along with Yachty’s signature hypnotic, laconic droning style. Lil Yachty is also famed for his sartorial prowess and has become a serious fashion player, walking the runway for Kanye West, bopping about with Carly Rae Jepsen for Target and being named the “creative director” of Nautica (a capsule collection is in the works). He rocked the Met Ball this year, where Jeremey Scott dressed him for Moschino in a white top hat and tux. And the dude is only 20. We caught up with Lil Yachty as he was about to head out on tour for the summer; for those curious, the stylish singer sported his signature red braids, a full diamond grill, a cute Simpsons sweatshirt and two diamond-encrusted necklaces: one Bart Simpson, one tiger. We quizzed him about his favourite warm-weather activities and did a lightning round of boat-related Q’s—and got the eternal romantic to weigh in on some of our most pressing relationship issues.
Your album has such a chill summer feel to it, so let’s talk summer. What is your dream Slurpee concoction?
Cherry limeade with bubblegum.
What is your biggest summer fashion pet peeve?
I hate slides with jeans. I don’t like slides, or skinny jeans. I hate, hate, hate Tims or outdoor boots with basketball shorts.
If you could decree one song from your new album Teenage Emotions the song of the summer, which would it be?
“Forever Young.” It’s just summer fun—and summer romance. It reminds me of young love.
We’re going to the cottage this weekend. If you were coming with us, what is your #1 cottage activity?
I’ve never been to a cottage. I’d make sure I took a WiFi hotspot and a good portable speaker. And I’d have Apple TV.
Do you love the heat or hate it?
I don’t love the heat but I don’t hate it. I used to love it ‘cause I used to love wearing crazy 90’s shorts in high school. For some reason, I just started hating my legs. Now I just want tattoos on my legs. I just got my first leg tattoo yesterday. It says “calm down.”
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Doing a lot of traveling—I’m going on tour this summer. I can’t wait.
What is the one trademark Lil Yachty summer activity that I need to try?
Most of my life I spent summer in Christian summer camp. Did that ’til high school. In high school, I didn’t do much. In ninth grade, I was trying out for football. I spent that summer working out; I was terrible. Not an athlete. Tenth and eleventh grade I spent the summer just sneakin’ from my friends’ and my mom’s house playing video games, then I spent twelfth grade with a job, then last summer I was on tour, this summer I’m on tour. I want enjoy pools. There’s something with my hair, though, so I have to go when my hair’s already knotted. Three days, four days. I could go now, but I can’t when my hair’s fresh.
You write a lot of love songs, so I thought we could get your love advice for some situations me and my friends are going through. First up: a dude is juggling a bunch of girls. Should he be honest with them about how he is currently playing the field, or nah?
No, that’s a set-up. He shouldn’t do it.
A couple wants to move in together, but the girl is worried she’ll lose her independence. What advice would you give her?
I feel like you should make sure it’s what you want. I like to do tests. Like, sometimes I think I like a girl, but I travel a lot so what I do is I’ll let a girl travel with me and then they’ll quickly learn: with that time spent when you’re in the bed sleeping with them, with the person following me, I see how they react to my lifestyle. You can quickly judge if I bring them around another artist, if they fan out. I like to test my love before you jump.
A boyfriend turns down commercial acting jobs because he feels he’ll be selling out. But the couple wants to start saving up for a baby. What should they do?
I understand, I completely get him. But my manager, he had to teach me this: you have to be a hustler. Money is first. You gotta work. You gotta build your portfolio to get where you wanna go, but you don’t start off in the world just getting what you want all the time; then you’re spoiled. You gotta work to it, y’know? People started from fuckin’ janitors and worked their way up to the top of corporations. You gotta stay down for the come-up. You just gotta have patience; you can’t just turn shit down right away.
A boyfriend tells his girlfriend he isn’t as into her because she gained weight. She is pissed. How do you solve this situation?
If you love each other, you work together. If he says that to her and he’s still with her, and if she loves him, she should work with him. That’s not 100% true, though. I can’t say that she should try to lose weight for him because everyone is their own person. And you gotta love yourself. So only if she’s comfortable with it. Then, if he respects it, he respects it, but you can’t be mad at him ‘cause he’s not into it; if that’s not his interest, that’s not his interest. But if you love each other, you’ll work together, to come meet in the middle. “Oh, baby, I love you, let’s start working out on Tuesdays or Wednesdays,” or “let’s change our diet.” Love is deeper than the eye. And that’s how you know it’s real or not.
A guy is on all the dating apps but he finds it very difficult to make a connection with anyone. Do you have any tips on how he could meet someone?
I’ve never used a dating site so I don’t know how they work. I’m a big DM-er. I didn’t really have any girls before I became an artist. I just wasn’t the coolest. It’s so different when you’re a rapper; when you’re a rapper, it’s easy. But then you don’t know who really likes you for you.
Now let’s talk about boats. You’re going on a yachting trip and can take any five people, alive or dead. Who would you bring?
My friends. Nobody but’s on my team.
Our family owns a sailboat but we have never officially named it, although 96 Tears and Prince of Malabar were in the running. What do you think we should name our boat?
I only got one name: Lil Boat.
What song from your album is the best for playing on a boat?
Do you have a favourite movie scene that takes place on a boat?
No. But what I’m ‘bout to do is binge watch all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I gotta go to the movies to see the new one.