Since his debut in the mid-2010s, Lil Yachty hasn’t let a year go by without releasing one, if not multiple, projects. He didn’t drop any collections in 2022, but he kicked off 2023 in a big way with his fifth studio album, Let’s Start Here, on Jan. 27. The LP was a noticeable sonic departure from his past work as he delved into various rock influences throughout its hourlong runtime.

It wasn’t as much of an experiment as it was a signal of his music’s sound moving forward. In a wide-ranging interview with Billboard published today (March 8), the “sAy sOMETHINg” performer had some blunt words of advice for people listening to Let’s Start Here: “F**k any of the albums I dropped before this one.”

He went on to explain how he found his new sound, sharing that it’s not even new to him at all, but simply a never-before-seen dimension to the Grammy-nominated musician. “I came into music in a time where rap was real hardcore, it was real street,” he said. “And a bunch of us kids came in with colorful hair and dressing different and basically said, ‘Move out the way, old f**ks. We on some other s**t.'”

“I was young and I didn’t really give a f**k, so I did do things that may have led people to the assumptions that I was a mumble rapper or a SoundCloud kid or I don’t appreciate the history of hip hop. But to be honest, I’ve always been so much more than just hip hop,” he continued. “There’s a lot of kids who haven’t heard any of my references. They don’t know anything about Bon Iver or Pink Floyd or Black Sabbath or James Brown.”

“I wanted to show people a different side of me — and that I can do anything, most importantly,” he added.

Yachty’s unique inspirations are evident throughout the album. He also made history with the song “WE SAW THE SUN!” He wanted to incorporate the soothing voice of the late painter Bob Ross into his project somehow. By sampling a segment from his beloved series, “The Joy of Painting,” Yachty became the first artist ever to snag a clearance from the TV star on a track.