- Quality Control
Listen to the track below
“Forever Young” [ft. Diplo]
Lil Yachty was 12 when Jay Z released his late-career blunder “Young Forever,” which was less a soundtrack for abandon than it was trite muzak for yachts and wine spritzers. Since then, hip-hop’s curmudgeonly old guard has framed Yachty as an iconoclast for his apparent disregard of guys like Jay Z, an emcee Yachty has actually publicly revered in interviews, but whose musical relevance exists largely in another lifetime than his own. Jay, after all, wasn’t speaking to high-school crowds in 2009—but in 2017, Yachty is.
Yachty’s “Forever Young,” the Diplo-produced track culled from his messy debut, calcifies what one crowd has latched onto and another has rejected in his music: that he sounds like a happy kid. On its face, “Forever Young” might have spelled disaster, a collaboration that forces Yachty’s innocence through industry machinations to produce a summer hit. Instead of calculated, thought, it sounds smooth around the edges, and the track is one of Yachty’s most streamlined performances to date, the most obvious hit in his catalog.
Diplo’s production is an aggregate of his well-branded summeriness. The synths are pristine and upstroked; the drums tick, thump, and roll predictably; tasteful EDM effects echo and surge. Yachty slips into his own familiar, fizzy pop stance, skipping to the beat in sing-song verses and belting out a soaring earworm hook in a slight Auto-Tune. He never says much, but there’s a grinning, self-confident mushiness that he deploys to win you over while being silly. “If I break your heart/Then I’m a dumb dude,” he raps to a love interest who has a bunch of protective brothers. And when he stammers out, “Together, we forever young” on the hook, it sounds like an upbeat pinky promise.