Earlier this week, Olivia sent me this link with no context, partly because it was so ridiculous it didn’t need any, and partly because almost exactly a year ago, we had an experience with Lil Yachty that we’re still trying to explain to ourselves. It was one of the most surreal evenings of my entire life.
It all started, as many great stories do, with breakfast tacos. I was eating brunch at Guero’s, my personal favorite breakfast taco spot in Brooklyn, with my friend Jessica. “Oh, my company is doing this ticket giveaway to this party at MoMA on Friday — let me know if you want to go!” she said between bites of queso. “I can’t go, but it’ll probably be cool.”
As a former MoMA intern, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that MoMA’s parties are always great (also, randomly, they seem to have parties every single night). I was totally down, so I got tickets for Olivia and me to attend. We were so excited to spend a Friday night being classy at the Museum of Modern Art!
We knew things weren’t going to be what we expected before we even got inside the museum. At about 9:45pm, there were about a hundred 19 and 20 year old kids swamping the outside of the museum, apparently in line to get in. “Is there...a bouncer? At a MoMA party?” I asked. We waited in line, in our Chelsea-gallery appropriate black dresses and heels, while we sifted past art school-looking kids (and high school-looking kids?) wearing mini bandage dresses and John Deere Hats and copious, copious amounts of Supreme.
In the main atrium, by the stairs where you’d go up to the second floor and against the exit to the sculpture garden, a big stage was set up. People were crowded around it and were dancing, but to songs that were popular in like 2010. There was Drake, but there was also like, Flo Rida music being played. It wasn’t exactly edgy, per se. The lights were off except for some crazy colorful lights we’d expect to see at da clerb.
In quick succession, five things happened:
• The line for the bar got very, very long
• We realized that whether you got a cocktail or a beer, you only got it in a tiny plastic cup
• We split up to go to different bars to maximize our drinks *double fisting*
• We each spilled one (or most of one) of our drinks upon ourselves
• The bar ran out of alcohol
Once that was sorted, we took a second to look around and ask each other, “What the hell is going on?” A small, very tan blonde woman in front of us was wearing a giant orange long sleeve t-shirt, 5 inch tall stilettos, and no pants (we realized later it was Yeezy merch, but at this point we were still very much behind). I looked at my phone to actually read what the event was that we were currently at: Pop Rally presents Yung Jake. Ok. Where was the art though? Where was Jake? Why did this feel like a dorm party? It wasn’t bad, it was just so, so far from what we expected.
At some point, Olivia went to the bathroom. Then the lights turned on — all the regular fluorescent lights — and the music turned off, and nothing really seemed to be happening. I was dying to tell Olivia when she came back about the guy I saw blatantly smoking weed in the crowd at THE MUSEUM, but she one upped me: she had seen people doing WAY WORSE in the bathroom.
So, we spent from about 10:30 to 11:30 in the bright, regular museum light doing some of the best people watching of our lives, while the DJ, who we later learned was ILLROOTS, shouted things like “MOMA WE MADE SOME FUCKING ART RIGHT NOW!” and MoMA staff periodically shouted “GET OFF THE STAGE.” The main issue was that to exit from the bathroom, you had to walk down a staircase that’s last step was the stage. You literally had to walk across the stage to leave the bathroom, and once people were onstage, they realized their Snapchats looked way better from there. This article refers to this as a “pregnant pause,” which is extremely amusing. The whole event felt like it was specifically curated to discombobulate and amuse us. We kept asking each other if we were unwitting participants in a performance artwork.
Finally, at about 11:45, the lights went back down again, and a thick vapey smog hung over the museum’s priceless collection. Lil Yachty came on stage and people went fucking bananas. Everyone knew the words to his song and just started screaming them. We danced. “Was he saying… it’s cold like Minnesota over and over? I can get behind a song about being cold,” I said, as we walked our confused butts out of there. After the one song was over, so was the party.
As we got into our Uber Pool, we held our heads in our hands.
“What was that!?” I cried.
“Can you please just...tell us what happened?” Olivia asked our Uber Pool partner (is there a word for this?).
“Oh yes,” said our Uber Pal, in a thick Russian accent. “That was Little Yatch-ity.”
“Little WHAT!?” I said.
“Little Yatch-ity. Like the boats!” our Uber Pooler said.
“Ok, but like...what was that? Why is he so popular?” asked Olivia
“Well, he was in the Kanye West Fashion show!” he said.
“Ahhh, Yeezy Seezy Threezy. That...pretty much explains it,” I said. “Well, what do you do? Do you live in New York?” I asked, riding that Lil Yachty adrenaline.
“I am a famous photographer,” he explained.
“Oh really?” I asked. “What do you photograph?”
“Well I am extremely famous on Instagram,” he said, and proceeded to explain that he took pictures at some club called Ecstasy known for its EDM music. He was extremely offended that we didn’t know his (also famous) friend whose handle was something like @Electrobot69. Things actually got pretty awkward when we couldn’t stifle our laughs at that, and he actually jumped out of the cab early even though that is strictly forbidden in Uber Pools. Our driver was not pleased.
We spent most of the rest of the night googling our new famous Russian friend, but we spent pretty much the rest of the YEAR Googling Lil Yachty. This, we quickly learned, was not remotely difficult because Lil Yachty is indeed internet famous, unlike our Russian Uber Buddy (who actually only had like 1,000 followers…). Lil Yachty’s mixtape, Lil Boat, had come out just about a month before (so OK he was pretty fresh!) and he was getting a crazy amount of press. “He calls his friends the Sailing Team!” Olivia would yell at me from her room, months after the fact. We’re obsessed. We love that he doesn’t know that a cello is not a flute and a flute is not a clarinet. We love his rainbow grill.
That night changed us, and we’ll never be the same. Neither of us, now, can pass a boat without yelling LIL BOAT!