November 14, 2016

When Lil Yachty arrives, he immediately takes over the aux cord. On the set of UO’s latest shoot for the exclusive Nautica + UO Collection, the 19 year old artist opens up Spotify, makes a playlist called ͞boat͟, and rap duo Rae Sremmurd’s latest single comes banging through the speakers. He’s set to open for the duo later that night in New York in a show that’s bound to be described as nothing other than lit. Though Yachty considers himself neither a rapper nor a rockstar, his musical style carries with it the syrupy trappings of Atlanta rap and his shows unfold with the blistering energy of a punk concert. In person however, his raucous stage presence stands in contrast to his friendly and soft spoken demeanor. His infamous pizza-only diet is exaggerated only in the sense that he also keeps hot dogs on hand for the photoshoot. He seems to be in a perpetually good mood—and rightfully so. 2016 has been a banner year for Yachty. Running on the momentum of his 2015 singles, One Night and Minnesota he released two mixtapes, Lil Boat and Summer Songs 2. We took a moment to catch up with Lil Yachty to talk about his love for vintage Nautica, his forthcoming first album and his dreams of creating a tour that’s more like a musical.

UO: Your name came from your group in high school, Yacht Club. How did that club influence your style and artistry?

They inspired me, entirely, to get into music. But my style, I just get that from me.

UO: You made some of your biggest tracks with The Good Perry. What was it that first drew you to his beats?

We were in a Cookout drive-through, and he was playing his beats for me, he says, it was just me and him, late at night. And it was fire.

UO: Can you walk us through the process when you two work together?

We usually work alone. He doesn’t like to work with friends around. I like to have my friends around, though.That’s our main difference. When we work together, he’s either giving me beats before I go, or it has to be just the two of us in the studio. If he’s making a beat, I’ll give him ideas or he’ll give me a beat he’s already made for me. It’s just a vibe.

UO: Who do you make music for?

The youth. Teenagers.

UO: Is there a philosophy that you live by every day?

Not really, I just try and keep it positive. I try to keep a positive image. That’s most important.

UO: Your love for vintage Nautica is well documented. What drew you to the brand?

It just kind of fit with my name. My old manager told me about the brand a long time ago, he was like, whoa you’re Yachty, you should wear Nautica.͟. That was like a year ago. I just started going crazy finding all Vintage Nautica.

UO: It just felt right to bring it back?

Uh-huh. Which I did.

UO: Do you have any favorite pieces?

At home I got some crazy Nautica pieces. Crazy. Oh my God.

UO: What are you working on currently?

My album. I’m making this album so that my next tour can fall into the album. My next tour isn’t going to be like a regular tour, it’s going to be like a musical. It’s going to be crazy.

UO: Do you have any advice for young artists trying to make music on their own terms?

Stay creative. Follow your dreams, don’t give up. And just stay original. Stay in your own lane and stay creative.