West Coast rappers are killing the game right now between Kendrick, Dom, and of course, YG. For millenials such as myself, we were first introduced to YG on 2009’s Toot It and Boot It featuring the then unknown Ty Dolla Sign, but the young gangsta has come a long way since then. After years of releasing mixtapes and touring all over the country, the Def Jam artist finally drops his debut album, My Krazy Life on March 18.
Keeping with the tradition of West Coast sound, My Krazy Life comprises the dual essence of being both a party record and soundtrack to street life. The third track, “I Just Wanna Party” featuring fellow Compton natives, Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock, sums up the YG’s hip hop presence perfectly: “ I just wanna party, I don’t wanna hurt nobody; but I’ll beat the f*ck outta a n*gga.” Cali rappers have long been known for their ability to fuse elements of funk with hip hop and that’s exactly what this album has to offer. The production alone is enough to get you moving, but unlike Toot It and Boot It and other hits, YG maintains his gangsta core over the most frivolous of tracks.
The success of the album’s first single, “My N*gga” is a testament for other artists who are looking for ways to satisfy labels and crossover audiences while staying true the artist’s identity. The best part of this album is that it doesn’t sound like another commercial push from Def Jam trying to usurp street culture; it sounds like an YG album. “Really Be (Smoking and Drinking)” featuring Kendrick Lamar is really about why people do drugs, “Meet the Flockers” is essentially “How to Rob: Compton edition”. It’s not that YG isn’t capable of exceeding expectations on My Krazy Life; it’s that he doesn’t need to.
Songs catering to women are necessary on any commercial release, regardless of how hood the artist claims to be. YG delivers on tracks such as “Do It To You”, “Who Do You Love?” and “Left, Right”. Songs catering to YG’s gangbanging homies and all the other trappers/hustlers of the world are inherent: “BPT”, “Bicken Back Bein Bool”, “Bompton”, “When I Was Gone”. Despite all of these bangers, the most redeeming quality of My Krazy Life is its relativity. No matter who you are, there are moments in your life where you wax nostalgic about previous bad choices or ill decisions (“1 AM”), or feel disappointed that you didn’t live up to your parent’s expectations and sacrifices (“Sorry, Momma”). YG, someone who the industry tried to pigeonhole into a “type”, created an album that can impact anyone who’s ever made less than great decisions, and had a good time making them.
This debut was extremely important for both Def Jam and YG. The label needs to put out a record that resonates with contemporary urban culture, and YG needed to repay his fans for their unwavering loyalty over the past five years. This project accomplishes those goals so effortlessly that it’s almost hard to accept this as a commercial EP instead of a mixtape.
Best Tracks: I Just Want to Party, Do It to Ya, Really Be, My Nigga