It pays to have fun, especially if you’re Lil Yachty.
The melody of his new song “Polonia” is weird, to say the least, and that’s exactly why it’s exploding on TikTok, meme pages, and most other corners of the internet right now.
Over a synth beat from F1lthy (Yeat, Playboi Carti), Yachty delivers a fairly simple hook (“I took the wock to Poland”) but it’s the way he says it that’s getting everyone’s attention. Adding an exaggerated trill to his voice, he almost sounds like he’s singing into a fan. Or maybe lying in a massage chair? Practicing for the opera? He did though, it’s weirdly catchy and it doesn’t sound like anything else we’ve heard this year (or maybe ever).
Naturally, it’s already going viral. On the Internet, there are videos of people literally singing to fans and imagining the wild studio sessions that could have led to Yachty’s unusual voice. There’s even a Renaissance painting of Yachty carrying giant bottles of lean beef to Poland (wock is short for Wockhardt, a pharmaceutical company that makes a popular cough syrup with codeine and promethazine). If you do nothing else with your day, please listen the bachata remix.
“Poland” is some things. For starters, it’s basically a TikTok cheat code: a cheery 83-second SoundCloud upload that sounds like a half-finished joke at first, until its sneakily addictive tune creeps into your brain and never leaves. And, more importantly, it’s a reminder of how good Lil Yachty is when he allows himself to get weird and try something new.
Listening to “Polonia”, I can’t help but think of listening to the ones from 2016 little boat mixtape for the first time, marveling at his confidence to try crazy things like the high-pitched, playful melody of “Minnesota.” He wasn’t trying to be cool, and he definitely wasn’t following anyone else’s wave, which is what made him so attractive. Even his enemies had to admit that what he was doing was original.
Unfortunately, in the months and years immediately following small boat, it was hit with unrelenting criticism from radio talk show hosts, bloggers, and longtime traditionalist rap fans who disliked its playful attitude or simplistic lyrics. (On own account of the Complex Daily struggle, Joe Budden even got upset with him for being so happy.) With the success of early hits like “One Night” and “Minnesota,” he became a symbol of “mumble rap” and drew criticism from anyone who didn’t appreciate the direction. in which rap evolved.
Around that time, in 2017, their sound started to change a bit. He released hard-hitting songs like “X Men,” where he rapped almost too fast, as if trying to prove to his skeptics that he really could spit. Sometimes he pulled off the style, but it was at the cost of playful originality that he made little boat so special. Much of the fun was taken up by her music and, as a result, her debut studio album. teenage emotions it was lopsided, disappointing many fans.
Since then, Yachty has taken a meandering path as he has grown as an artist, including successful attempts to tap into regional pockets of rap like Detroit, Michigan. And, more recently, she has shown signs of wanting to take chances and try wild new sounds, revealing that her next album will be “an alternative psychedelic project” which she describes as “different”.
Then, out of the blue, “Poland” was leaked. It immediately caught fire on social media, prompting Yachty to (wisely) put the song on his own SoundCloud page and capitalize on the hype. It’s short (one stanza) and seems unfinished, which leaves hope that there might be a full version coming to the DSPs at some point in the future. More than anything, though, it’s a sign that Yachty might be fully back in his IDGAF bag and that we might soon be expecting another wildly inventive album from him. At least that is the hope.
Six years after the release of little boat, Yachty has proven to have more longevity than most of its peers from that era. It’s a reminder of what can happen when you have fun and try wacky stuff.