Yeat: American Truths


On the occasion of the release of YEAT’s fourth studio album 2093, we’re republishing our 032c Issue #44 cover interview with the rapper, featuring a shoot by photographer BRENT McKEEVER.

Order the #44 cover poster HERE.

hat VINTAGE, ski mask and sniper veil UNBRANDED, shirt CARHARTT WIP
hoodie PHIPPS, watch CARTIER

How do you make rap sound revolutionary to a generation shaped by its cultural domination? Through years of uninhibited experimentation, the SoundCloud legend YEAT (born 2000) has proposed an answer, with a bewildering catalogue of music that succeeds in making the familiar feel foreign again.

hat, belt, pants, and shoes VINTAGE, ski mask and sniper veil UNBRANDED, shirt CARHARTT WIP

If you want to enter the Yeataverse—the world of rap music, lore, and fanaticism that surrounds Noah Olivier Smith, the artist known as Yeat—you must accept a few unspoken truths. The first is that very few of Yeat’s artistic identifiers can be substantially explained, such as his decision to wear face masks, balaclavas, and keffiyehs; his alleged ability to make songs in under 20 minutes; and his many outlandish production choices—like the inclusion of flutes on “Wat It Feel Lykë,” and, most famously, bells on “Gët Busy.” Navigating the Yeataverse also requires some familiarity with the rapper’s unique riffs on his native tongue, which include such words as twizzy, tonka, and krank, and the purely decorative use of an umlaut over the letter E (likë so). It also means learning to appreciate the LA-born-and-based rapper’s most unexpected career moves, such as his decision to create an original track for the children’s film Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022). His song “Rich Minion” not only spawned a viral internet trend known as #gentleminions but also became a radio hit.

jacket GUCCI, shirt VINTAGE, pants CARHARTT WIP

jacket GUCCI, shirt VINTAGE, pants CARHARTT WIP

On Yeat: shirt VINTAGE, scarf RALPH LAUREN, pants CARHARTT WIP. on Symone: top SUNSPEL, bikini SYNC BY SYMONE, pants LEVI’S, shoes BIKKEMBERGS

On Yeat: shirt VINTAGE, scarf RALPH LAUREN, pants CARHARTT WIP. on Symone: top SUNSPEL, bikini SYNC BY SYMONE, pants LEVI’S, shoes BIKKEMBERGS

Yeat, who began releasing music on SoundCloud in 2016, built a devout following with his early adoption of—and whimsical approach to—rage rap, a trendy subgenre that he helped popularize and eventually came to dominate. In recent years, he has proved to be a musical shapeshifter through constant experimentation with an amorphous sound built on his embodiment of various genres and vocal entities, and his out-of-the-box, often extraterrestrial-sounding ad-libs. Although still recognized as a leading figure in the “second wave of SoundCloud” rap, Yeat has also pumped out various radio-ready hits without having to compromise any of the things that make him so unique. In 2021, fans erupted when Drake referenced Yeat’s lyrics in an Instagram story. Now, Yeat fans have made Yeat and Drake’s track “IDGAF” the most streamed song on Drake’s new record, For All of the Dogs (2023). The YouTube video has been flooded with hundreds of comments that say things such as, “Thank you Yeat for shedding light on small underground artists like Drake.”

Working within the Yeataverse also mandates various forms of submission. For a 032c photographer, it means agreeing to show up at an obscure set of location coordinates and conduct a 13-hour-long shoot in a mud pit. For Yeat’s manager, Zack Bia, it means riding in the passenger seat of Yeat’s Lamborghini while he drives through the woods and listens to music from the late 19th century, or returning to his room to find his bed inexplicably filled with Yeat’s collection of Monchhichi dolls—a line of Japanese plush monkey toys that became popular in the 1980s. Most journalists have been denied entry into the Yeataverse, thus far. The lucky few who have entered are those who accept that only a few questions will be deemed worthy of an answer, that all personal matters (family, relationships, his past) are off the table, and that only a fraction of his responses will be sincere.


Only those who are willing to surrender themselves to his lovable brand of mischief will be capable of appreciating the beauty of what Yeat has to offer. Although he is only 23, Yeat has a profound understanding of what listeners truly desire from artists in 2023. When “results” are always just a Google page away, and when everyone is expected to have strong opinions and reasonable explanations for every decision they make as well as everything they stand for, the validation of receiving answers is nothing compared to the rare feeling of being dumbfounded.

In one of the few formal interviews of his career to date, Yeat offered 032c a fleeting glimpse through the fog.

CASSIDY GEORGE: You sent our photographer coordinates to the location for the shoot. Is [that] also where you’ve been making music lately?

YEAT: I wasn’t making music there, but I make music not far from there.

CG: Not only have you agreed to do an interview, you also did some photos without your typical face mask. Why are you open to doing these things now?

YEAT: Everything is evolving. I wanted to do some with no masks, in a completely different style, like hillbilly-in-the-mud, PBR vibes. I also have an album coming out soon, and I want to start rolling out more shit.

CG: By that, do you mean having more conversations or doing more productions?

YEAT: More conversations.

CG: Isn’t that also a big change for you?

YEAT: I’ve always had a master plan. Even if I don’t remember what I planned five years ago, my gut always reminds me. The only thing that’s changed in my life in the past few years is that I’m richer. Now that I’m dirtball rich, I can really just lock in and do whatever I want. Evolution-wise, each album has been a pretty big level-up. Between the last record and this upcoming one, it feels like a ten-album difference in time. People have no idea what it’s going to sound like. It’s, like, 2093, dystopian society.

shirt CARHARTT WIP, hoodie PHIPPS, belt and pants VINTAGE

CG: Do you feel like a recluse? Maybe even a misanthrope?

YEAT: Yeah, I’m like that. I don’t care about fame or clout or any of that shit. I’ll pop out for a thing here and there, but very, very rarely. I’m not interested in going to the club or the strip club and spending a million dollars. There’s nothing wrong with that, I’d just rather not. I like recording.

CG: Do you also intentionally isolate yourself from external creative influences?

YEAT: The only music I listen to is old-ass music, and I only do that if I haven’t made a song in a couple of days. Usually, I only like my newest song. Obviously, I love the GOATs of rap, but I can’t listen to them. If you sit there listening to other rappers all day, you start to sound like them, even subconsciously and even if you don’t want to. I’ll listen to some songs on occasion. If Drake drops a new album, I’ll listen to a few songs.

CG: What do you consider to be “old-ass” music?

YEAT: Like, 1880s to 1960s. Actually, one of my favorite songs is from the 1700s.

CG: How does one delve into music from the 1880s?

YEAT: YouTube. But I also love records. I find stashes in certain cities or learn about them through books.





CG: One of the most distinctive things about your music is your various vocal personas—sometimes you sound like 16 different people on one record. On AftërLyfe (2023), you feature yourself on certain tracks as the aliases Kranky Kranky and Luh Geeky. What distinguishes them from Yeat?

YEAT: It’s just how I was feeling at the time. I was in my geeked-up phase, you feel me? I don’t know if I’d do that again. It was a one-time thing. I can be country, I can do rap, pop, EDM. It’s true that I can switch it up like crazy, but it always sounds like me.

CG: In your interview with Complex—your only magazine interview prior to this one, which happened over text—you mentioned that you had an alien encounter when you were 11. Was that a joke?

YEAT: That was deadass. It was real. I won’t go into too much detail because I’m not sure if they want me to talk about this right now. The aliens, I mean. I will say one thing though, they are really tall—and looked almost human. I remember everything on the night that it transpired, second for second. I can tell the difference between a dream and reality, and I know I was awake. That’s also my first memory. Everything before that feels fake. Sometimes I think I might not even be from here, because I have dreams about other planets.

CG: People have often described your sound as alien.

YEAT: People want the future. At the end of the day, I make music for myself because I love to listen to it. If other people like it, that’s lit. I’m trying to break sound barriers, but it’s all for my own ears. I’m lucky, because I don’t have to tell my producers what to do. They just send me anything that sounds really different or futuristic. I’ll just think of a new style of sound, and they’ll send it to me. If I think about it, it happens. I have always been like that. I believe that if I believe something, it will for sure happen. But you also can’t fiend for anything.

CG: You’ve never had to relinquish any dreams or desires because you wanted them too badly?

YEAT: No, never.

CG: Will this next album will be executively produced by Noah Olivier Smith?

YEAT: Either Team Noah or Team Yeat. I’m always team this or that. You never know what Monchhichi is doing.

CG: Your addition of bells to your track “Gët Busy” played a huge role in your ascent. There seem to be many things buried within the layers of your songs.

YEAT: I engineer myself and record myself, but I never officially learned how to make beats or produce. To this day, I still don’t know what I’m really doing. I started by just putting things inside tracks. The bell was easy: I was just, like, “Imma slap a bell on there, ’cause I like it!” There’s so much more, though. If only you could see how many tracks I have on songs. With the amount of ad-libs and soundscaping that I do, there are sometimes 90 vocal tracks. Sometimes you can’t tell it’s my voice because it sounds more like a beat.

CG: Has making this new album given you any more clues about your home planet?

YEAT: That’s really what I’m trying to figure out. This album gave me more clues than I expected. I don’t know the name of it yet, but I feel like there’s a G in there somewhere, and maybe a 4 or a 3.

CG: The name has both letters and numbers?

YEAT: Well, that’s how they do it in space. I think I can actually communicate better with numbers than letters sometimes. I mean, on certain days there are no words for me at all.


CG: When I hear that a musician is concerned with numbers, it makes me think of streams, followers, and income. Is that what you’re implying?

YEAT: Definitely none of that. For example, I don’t send addresses, I just send coordinates. I can just look at the numbers and know where it is, based on the equator. But often the numbers also relate to some of my businesses and companies. I actually have a few, but people don’t know about them because they’re privately held, and I don’t want to deal with shareholders.

CG: Is there anything else in your life that you are as obsessive about as you are with making music?

YEAT: I like guns. I have a lot of them. I love customizing them and shooting them.

CG: Do you have any favorites?

YEAT: The Deagle [Desert Eagle] has to be one of them, but it’s not the most fun to shoot, because it hurts. The .308 Scar is crazy. I love a good Benelli semi. The Scorpion is lit. I’m also really passionate about mixies.

CG: What do you mean? As in, like, mixed drinks? Remixes?

YEAT: It can be a mix of anything, like air and water. Vodka and grapefruit. Just some sort of mix.

CG: You’ve been described as a futurist. Are you optimistic about the future?

YEAT: It could be good or bad. It just depends on what team you’re on.

ski mask and costume mask UNBRANDED, shirt WOOLRICH, robe UNBRANDED, pants HANES


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