January 21, 2013

YG is more like Chief Keef than anyone gives him credit. He’s Blood affiliated and was fresh from county jail the first time I ever interviewed him. His strengths are everything but lyricism and he owes a significant amount of his success to working with an innovative producer (J-Hawk and now Mustard). He shouts “4Hunnid.” Keef shouts “3 Hunna.” They should totally hang out.

In 2008-09, Y.G. amassed a massive fan base of inner-city LA teenagers through word of mouth and social networks. When the press started writing about him, he promptly became the first West Coast rapper signed to Def Jam since Warren G.  He is the your favorite rapper’s 16-year old sisters favorite rapper. But while Keef’s debut sparked a thousand thinkpieces, Y.G. still can’t get his album formally released on Def Jam. Things might have been different if he didn’t give “Rack City” to Tyga, but I doubt it. What’s remarkable is that he’s managed to stay hot for four years, an eternity in rap that largely caters to teenagers.  Maybe this only has regional appeal, but in his own way, Y.G. is just applied the Too Short template to post-jerkin, ratchet rap. This is carrying on the tradition in its own way.

His latest mixtape is probably the most complete project he’s ever released. The explanation is 0bvious: DJ Mustard handles 80 percent of the production. At this point, I would probably listen to Shyne reading the Talmud if Mustard placed those snaps and snares over it. There are 2Pac interviews, Brandy re-makes, and a Juicy J cameo. It is a conventional raunchy rap tape with just enough weirdness and slaps to keep you almost constantly entertained. And this will inevitably incite a tidal wave of twerking. Y.G’s. goals are modest, but he achieves all of them. This is the mark of a success.

MP3: Y.G. – Just Re’d Up 2 (Left-Click)

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