When Lil Yachty dropped his Let’s Start Here album last month, Uproxx’s review contextualized that Lil Boat “is not the first rapper to release an alternative project,” but the album “isn’t just a departure from his own oeuvre; it also differentiates itself from its peers.”
And Let’s Start Here is a first for Lil Yachty in an even more unexpected way.
Yachty was revealed as Billboard‘s new cover star on Wednesday, March 8, and within the cover story written by Lyndsey Havens, Motown Records VP of A&R Gelareh Rouzbehani detailed how Yachty was able to posthumously feature famed painter Bob Ross on “We Saw The Sun!” (Ross died from cancer on July 4, 1995.)
Per Rouzbehani, Ross’ estate initially declined. “I think a big concern of theirs was that Yachty is known as a rapper, and Bob Ross and his brand are very clean,” she told Billboard. “They didn’t want to associate with anything explicit.”
She added, “With a lot of back-and-forth, we got the call. Yachty is the first artist that has gotten a Bob Ross clearance in history.”
Elsewhere in the Billboard cover story, Yachty discussed the difficulties of planning his subsequent tour and the desire to collaborate with Tyler The Creator.
“I would love to do a project with Tyler,” Yachty said. “He’s the reason I made this album. He’s the one who told me to do it, just go for it. He’s so confident, and I have so much respect for him because he takes me seriously, and he always has.”
Tyler was correct in pushing Yachty to put Let’s Start Here out in the world, as it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Rock & Alternative Albums, Top Rock Albums, and Top Alternative Albums charts. Most recently, it served as the perfect palette from which to paint an impressive Rolling Loud California set last weekend.