The legendary Roots drummer took to Instagram on Saturday (January 28) to give the Atlanta rapper his flowers for what Quest called his “departure record.”
The Philadelphia native admitted he wasn’t surprised by Yachty’s ability to pull off the album, which abandons his previous (and divisive) brand of Hip Hop for psychedelic rock, but rather he didn’t expect such a bold move from any artist in general.
“I had to let 24 hours go by just so I could process this,” he began. “Then I hesitated cause I didn’t wanna use hyperbole to naturally give the trolls ammo to hate it or to further evidence sort why my co-signs are whack.”
He continued: “I dunno man: after about 3 listens (and I thought I’d NEVER say this—-& not because ‘I didn’t expect this from Lil Yachty’——but just in general I didn’t expect this from MUSIC).
“How should I put it? I really really really really love this @lilyachty record and I love when artists pull off a good departure record (departure albums are when musicians pull a COMPLETE creative left turn. Most times as a career sabotage of feeling doomed to not be able to live up to a standard they set. Not being able to make the Thelma & Louise jump. Quitting the job/relationship before you give em a chance to fire you—).”
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Elaborating on the “departure album” concept, Questlove referenced classic LPs from The Beatles, Beastie Boys, Prince, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Radiohead, Q-Tip, Amy Winehouse and Solange.
“Some famous departure albums backfired (Sgt. Peppers wound up making the Beatles even MORE important further proving you can’t just do tin pan alley showtunes & think THAT is gonna get rid of the screaming fanbase….now the entire world wants a piece of you),” he wrote. “Some were pure art that turned off the fanbase that came to the party for seconds of what you served before (Paul’s Boutique/Around the World in a Day).
“some seemed like career disasters w critics (Dylan’s Self Portrait & Davis’s On the Corner & Gaye’s Here My Dear) & then some come just for the sheer sake of surprise & man it’s like “WTF did I just listen to?” (Kid A/Kamaal The Abstract/Back to Black/A Seat at the Table).”
Released on Friday (January 27) via Quality Control Music, Let’s Start Here features contributions from an eclectic supporting cast that includes Mac DeMarco, MGMT’s Benjamin Goldwasser, Alex G, Nick Hakim and others.
It serves as the follow-up to Lil Yachty’s 2020 album Lil Boat 3 and is his first full-length release since 2021’s Michigan Boy Boat mixtape.
“this aptly titled #LetsStartHere lp might be the most surprising transition of any music career I’ve witnessed in a min, especially under the umbrella of hip hop,” Questlove continued. “I remember @divinestyler_1 has a sophomore release that shocked me & im still processing the 3rd @junglebrothers4life lp some 30 yrs later. But man….whatever you put in your Wheaties bro….keep goin.”
He added: “Shit like this (envelope pushing) got me hyped about music’s future.”
Lil Yachty thanked Questlove for his lofty praise in the comments section, writing: “:) thank u for the kind words sir.” Rapsody, Mike Dean, A-Trak, Diplo and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea were among those who co-signed Quest’s comments, with the latter writing: “Sounds so good.”