When Lil Yachty burst onto the scene last year, he seemed like something out of a hip-hop purist’s nightmare: an Auto-Tuned warbler who half-rapped, half-sang his lyrics like a half-asleep ILoveMakonnen, favoring beats that sampled “Finding Nemo” and “Rugrats,” wearing his hair in red Raggedy Ann braids and calling the Notorious B.I.G. overrated. (He eventually apologized for that last one.)
But while Lil Yachty might be a nightmare for some, he’s a dream for others — namely, his legions of teenage (and thereabouts) fans who are less concerned with where hip-hop has been than where it’s going. On his debut album, “Teenage Emotions,” the 19-year-old (who turns 20 on the day he performs at Echostage) explored his titular subject, mostly sticking to the money-power-women pronouncements — and often, particularly abhorrent examples of locker-room talk — that are common to hip-hop.
Occasionally, Yachty negotiates the metallic, mechanical trenches of trap-rap like his contemporaries and collaborators Migos, but he’s more memorable when he floats over dreamy, video-game-inspired synthscapes, celebrating life and all of its possibilities. “Everything in life could always be better,” he croons on the reggae-flavored “Better.” “Don’t settle for less, ’cause then you miss out on more.” Good advice, whether you’re one of Yachty’s fellow teens or one of his 30-something haters.
Show: Wednesday at Echostage. Show starts at 8 p.m. echostage.com. 202-503-2330. $36.25.