On the eve of the release of his debut album, Teenage Emotions, Lil Yachty has given a revealing, wide-ranging interview to Beats 1 host Zane Lowe. Among the highlights is Yachty discussing the pre-fame “visions” that sparked his career.
“I used to have visions of being a star all the time, but I never knew I wanted to be a rapper,” he said. “I used to have visions of flashing lights and red carpets... I know when I got the moment to take charge, [was] when I got arrested.”
Yachty recalls being arrested in Florida for credit card fraud, saying, “I remember being in jail, like, ‘Man, I'm not old enough.’ And then I thought, ‘I just turned 18.’ I had just turned old enough to be in big people jail. It wasn't necessarily getting arrested, but when I got out of jail, I went back to Alabama.”
Back at Alabama State University, with no cell phone, he realized he had to get away.
“I usually had headphones in, blocking out the world,” he said. “I had no music. I heard everything, I felt everything. People used to always laugh at my hair, stuff like that. I just remember being in social studies and the teacher was talking. I was in the back and the lights was off and it just felt like, ‘Wom, wom, wom, wom.’ People were asleep, people were texting. I was just like, ‘This is doing nothing. What am I doing?’ ... I walked home and I called up my friend and was like, ‘I don't want to be here.’ I went back to my room, I packed up everything I could take. ... I left.
Cue the 19-year-old’s meteoric rise in the rap game, which has allowed him to become the self-professed “king of the teens.” As he told Lowe, “I'm pretty normal. That’s why I hope teenagers can relate. I try to be a voice because I'm a pretty normal teenager.”
Check out the full interview above to hear more from Yachty about his dreams of opening a cereal bar, his “aggressive” alter ego Lil Boat, and meeting Jay Z and Beyoncé at a Coldplay concert.