Lil Yachty has come a long way.

From eating ramen noodles in his dorm room to selling out shows, Lil Yachty is a prime representation of the American Dream. Someone who, on the surface, should have never “made it”–according to society’s vice grip on limiting opportunities for disenfranchised young black men (oxymoron?)–Lil Yachty has defiantly adhered to his vision; he’s leveraged his resolve for his limelight residency–a residency that has taken on varying forms.

Coming on the scene in the summer of 2016 with tracks “Minnesota” and “1Night” off his inaugural Summer Songs project, Yachty’s hip-hop entrance was perhaps the most disruptive of the year–or the decade, rather. A then 18-going-on-19-year-old kid, Yachty embodied everything that would make an art’s purist double-over and beg for the return of the “good ol’ days”: His red braids framed his face differently than the shape-ups we were accustomed to; his lack of musical experience made him a target of envy for those who’d spent hours perfecting their craft; the actual product emanating from his nasally voice was so off-kilter that he evoked acute disdain from respected, grown men. But here we are in 2018, and here we are talking about how Yachty’s rise hasn’t been a short-lived experiment–he’s a testament to the great Bob Dylan’s timeless classic, “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. Looking back, Yachty wasn’t the exception existing on the margins–he was the catalyst.

And while countless charlatans have come and gone since Lil Boat’s arrival, Yachty has enjoyed consistent–and increasing–relevance thanks to a shrewd business acumen coupled with a sound understanding of his brand value offerings. Lil Yachty knows that his abilities can’t simply be restricted to the music world–there’s too much talent dripping from his trending-iconic red braids for that.

Following his rapid 2016 hip-hop ascent, fans weren’t the only ones enamored by the eccentric young man. Brands saw the undeniable appeal that Yachty was generating, and decided, unlike the hip-hop purists who offered nothing but slander, to embrace the wave he was pioneering instead of resisting.

Sprite was among the first to invest in the Lil Yachty business with their 2016 commercial, which featured LeBron James alongside the teenaged rapper in an interpolated version of his smash hit, “Minnesota”–this time, his coldness stemmed from the icy thirst-quenching Sprite formula rather than the midwestern state home to the Vikings.

Heeding Sprite’s direction, the outfitter Nautica also wanted to cash-in on the Lil Yachty business. Strategically aligning his tangential “boat” brand with their nautically-themed clothing, the 1983-founded company named Yachty one of their creative directors, empowering him to create clothing lines according to his vision. The same vision that was once deemed too unconventional–the one that would never land on the mainstream scale–creatively influenced a multi-million dollar apparel company’s vision.

Again, it’s 2018, and Yachty hasn’t only stuck around, he’s widened his entertainment footprint– music is simply a part of the Lil Boat brand portfolio. Outside of leading the youth musical revolution and being the ambassador for respected brands, Yachty has garnered attention from Hollywood executives as well.

If you’re scrolling through the current local movie times, you’ll find an assortment of films: One starring Jack Black; a remake of an ‘80s classic; a true story that sparked a revolution; and you’ll find a cartoon kids movie based on superheroes from the DC universe, Teen Titans Go!. A star-studded cast, Nicolas Cage, who voices Superman, and Jimmy Kimmel, who voices Stan Lee, can be found rubbing shoulders with that same kid with the red braids and nasally voice–the same voice that gives life to the movie’s Green Lantern character.

Now, Lil Yachty is supplementing his IMDB resume by helping to resurrect the cult-classic film, How High. He will play the younger brother, Roger, of either Method Man or Redman in the MTV-produced How High 2.

The long-awaited sequel to the 2001 stoner comedy, How High 2 will continue Meth and Redman’s characters’ pot explorations by chronicling their journey to fund an on-demand munchies delivery start-up. With help from their entrepreneurial-inclined little brother (Yachty), the sequel 17-years-in-the-making aims to recapture the original’s magic and cult status by placing the plot in an updated context–prime real estate for Lil Yachty to shine–with what they hope to be an equally enthralling storyline.

How High 2 just began shooting yesterday, September 25th, in Atlanta, and will premiere on MTV some time in 2019.

A guy who once relied on ramen noodles to fend-off starvation has impressively turned himself into a multi-million dollar empire. A guy who, on the surface, had no business being in hip-hop is now one of the genre’s most sought-after talents; he’s the ambassador for the youth movement that currently dictates the scene. That same guy, the one who wouldn’t allow others to besmirch his name, has used that music platform to proliferate his name and brand, leading to an array of opportunities. That very same kid will be starring alongside Method Man and Redman on a screen near you in 2019 in the sequel to arguably the most beloved stoner comedy of all time.

Lil Yachty is anything but traditional. Given his track record and bright future, I’m sure that he’s damn proud of that unorthodox nature, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Lil Yachty is living his American Dream.