The first time I saw 17 year old LEESTA‘s face, I anticipated the absolute worst. Anyone scrolling the TL that sees a tweet reading “White young thug”, accompanied by a Triller featuring a teenage white dude with a Jew-fro (I’m Jewish, I can say it. Y’all CANNOT say it. I can say it though) is likely to assume the dude is trash. I don’t think you can blame anyone. 99 times out of 100, a literal child labelling himself as the white version of one of the most influential and groundbreaking rappers of the 2010s is going to be trash. On paper, he should be.
But he’s not. And for some reason, Leesta’s gotten a lot of heat on the TL these past few weeks. Whether its jokes about his geographic location (man stays in ALASKA, but not in an igloo, he will remind you), his likeness to Mark Zuckerberg, or his whiteness, people are clowning the kid. Something tells me it won’t be ending anytime soon. In fact, during this upcoming election cycle, I predict that Bernie Sanders will be the first high profile name to come for the artist. The reason? There’s nothing Bernie hates more than the 1%.
Leesta is good (If you’re still reading after that shitty joke, know I appreciate it, and plan to reward you for sticking with me by giving you my reasoning). He is the 1 out of 100. Not only are his vocal melodies captivating and unique, his flow and vocal command are surprisingly consistent for someone who’s only dropped 7 songs. Don’t believe me? Go through his shit and see for yourself. If you listen to those 7 songs and have a different opinion other than “this 17 year old white kid makes catchy, melodic raps over entertaining, memorable production”, you’re lying to yourself.
So why the hate if he’s not making bad music? Why the memes? Is it because he’s a little cringey?
Sure, I get that, but again, the kid is 17 years old. When I was 17 I told a girl I liked her over Words With Friends. Teenagers do cringey shit, I’m giving him a pass. Is it because of jealousy? A little bit! Before he dropped any tracks of his own, Leesta was known in the underground as a successful producer. He’s collaborated with underground legend Lil Tracy multiple times, along with other notable underground artists like Kevin Kazi, Summrs, and Weiland. This is no small feat. So for smaller artists to see that Leesta’s vocal abilities not only match, but possibly exceed (possibly) his production talent, it’s no surprise they feel some type of way about him.
While both of the above points carry some weight, neither are the sole reason why Leesta’s received enough hate from trolls to drop a song about them. The sole reason why Leesta has gotten hate is best illustrated using a lyric from that same song.
I’m better than you, but you knew that
The underground people who hate Leesta don’t hate him because they’re jealous. They don’t even hate him because he’s a little corny. They hate him because he’s good, he knows it, and he knows that we know it. The underground wants super talented people to be quiet and humble, to release music that’s amazing and act like they’re not shit, but Leesta’s not doing that. He’s a talented, well-known underground producer who’s now emerged as a double threat, and he’s not afraid to say it out loud. He might clap back and talk unnecessarily aggressively shit to trolls who try to rile him up, but he backs up that talk with music that’s undeniably appealing. Leesta starts his newest hammad and trademark produced song, “last year”, with a proclamation to his enemies that sums him up as an artist.
2019. Already got more bands than you made last year.
Right away, the kid is talking shit to the people who’ve been clowning him using a mellow, yet attention-grabbing vocal melody. The line isn’t especially unique. It’s simple, maybe even a little cliche, but Leesta doesn’t care. He knows he’s making more money than the trolls because he’s more talented. And they know it too.
This brings us back to the question that we started with, does Leesta deserve the hate? In short, no. I’ll say the kid’s not perfect. He’s made some questionable choices on twitter (in the DMs and on the TL) and he’s quick to lash out at criticism (I can see him coming for me after reading this lol). He takes jokes at his expense a little too seriously, but at the end of the day, does it really matter? I’m going to again say no. When it comes to this multi-talented rapper/producer, in my opinion, the good far outweighs the bad. Leesta’s going up, and whether the haters like it or not, he deserves it. Listen to “last year” below.