Is Lil Yachty’s “Poland” Foreshadowing The Next Auto-Tune Trend?

Maybe? Possibly? What is for sure is that Lil Yachty’s “Poland” has become an internet hit.

“I took the wooooooock to Poland.” Sung by Lil Yachty on his viral song “Poland,” it’s a hook that has become inescapable on the internet. People on social media are typing it out in varying ways (although the unofficial consensus seems to be “wock” with seven “o’s”) and, of course, making  countless memes about Yachty’s emotive journey to the European country, riding across the moody waves of F1thy’s production.

A little over a minute, “Poland” ends as quick as it begins. But what stays with you is that hook, specifically when Lil Yachty sings “wock.” He sounds like an operatic goat, and that’s meant to be read in the best, most complimentary way possible. However, his shaky delivery cannot completely be credited to him. Auto-Tune clearly plays a pivotal role in why this hook is so infectious — specifically, its vibrato feature.

Although some refer to it as the “Post Malone Effect” or “Post Malone Vibrato” — he has a natural vibrato but you can hear it infused with this feature on songs like “Circles” — it’s also jokingly referred to as “Billy Goat Vibrato” or “Goat Vibrato,” used to describe anyone who may have a noticeably strong vibrato in their singing delivery (like Shakira, for example).

Now, just like Auto-Tune at its core, the vibrato feature can be used to both subtle and overt effect. The video below breaks down how this works, explaining how the feature can be used on a single word (or even a part of that word) to create a vibrato that helps emphasize the emotion, delivery, and melody of what’s being sung.

As Auto-Tune pertains to rap, we’ve seen time and time again how artists push the tool to its extreme, their experimentation not only showing Auto-Tune’s capabilities, but redefining the sound of rap, too. Sure, most of the artists known for using Auto-Tune already have distinct voices. But it’s through Auto-Tune that they’re able to explore their singing voice and melodic ideas in ways that they may not have been able to — or comfortable doing — before, creating these extremely emotive and playful, unintentionally (and intentionally) funny vocal deliveries that become a crucial part of an artist’s identity.

Which is why Yachty’s “Poland” is so effective, and may end up becoming the next Auto-Tune trend in rap. And, honestly, we’ve been overdue for a new Auto-Tune trend. Future’s high-pitched squeaks, Playboi Carti’s baby talk, and 645AR’s helium squeals have had their time — maybe it’s time for Yachty’s vibrato goat to have a moment, and usher in a phenomenon of vibrato rap.

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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Elijah C. Watson

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