22 year old Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson (Tyga) released his sophomore LP February 21, 2012.
2008, Decaydance Records released Tyga’s debut album No Introduction. Being the cousin of Travis McCoy, my best guess is the connection landed him the record deal. With an executive producer like Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy), how many of us remember his first record? “Coconut Juice” featuring the Gym Class Heroes’ frontman is memorable because of Madden ’09 and the remix featuring future bossman Tunechi. The record sold just under 7,000 copies.
2009 rolls around and the young rapper has a mixtape with Chris Brown, Fan of a Fan. “Deuces” was taking up space in everyone’s iPod, and “Holla At Me” was being queued in Serato’s everywhere.
2010/2011 the features started rolling in. Birdman, Lil Wayne, Sean Garrett, Nipsey Hussle, DJ Khaled & Drake all enlisted the 110 pound Compton rapper of Vietnamese/Jamaican descent. After two singles, one featuring Chris Richardson and the other, a hook from Drizzy Drake produced by 40 the snowball effect was beginning. Then came “Rack City,” a banger produced by relatively newcomer DJ Mustard that you couldn’t avoid like the plague. Every rapper was freestyling on the instrumental and eventually an official remix dropped. Wale, Fabolous, Young Jeezy, Meek Mill & T.I. all added some fire to the track. The hype for Careless World: Rise Of The Last King was at an all-time high.
The record begins with a self-titled track featuring three components. The interlude produced by Arthur McArthur which appears two more times throughout the project. Followed by some chatter about the struggles and tribulations Hip Hop artists face. The track is capped with the same beat sped up and a big “Fuck off, i’m here and this is my record.” If you had a chance to listen to the leaked copy, you might notice a speech from Martin Luther King Jr. missing. The controversy around the album being pushed back was squashed when Tyga decided to eliminate the speech from the track.
After the intro, we have “Lil Homie” featuring and produced by Skateboard P. Feelings about not being able to afford a fresh whip versus having the number one spot locked down. Pharrell smoothly exclaims they “got shit to do” in the hook and evidently, hard work pays off.
“Crank this muthafucker up!” Up and coming producer Jess Jackson created a banger on track 3. With simple, clever, relevant jabs like “Ni**as softer than baby hair, why you acting tough, heard you work at Build-A-Bear,” the album starts growing. Nicki Minaj drops by for some absurd genitalia talk. Not to be outdone by Wayne/Tyga on the fourth single “Faded”, with aggressive bragging rights over a chiming, trunk rattling beat.
“For The Fame” with Chris Brown Wynter Gordon and “Far Away” with former 5th place American Idol contestant Chris Richardson are the pop lining of the record. The hooks, beats, dull lyrics and even featured artists literally scream POP; “she ain’t in for the fame.”
Former Grammy winner T-Pain gets a feature on a song he’s sung before. The album could have done without the recently signed Young Money Pain effect.
Let’s hop back up to tracks 5 & 6. “Do It All,” produced by Jess Jackson has a No I.D. Chicago sound to it. Lyrically, this track would have you believe Tyga’s been in at least one serious relationship and we’ve all been to that breaking point. The instrumental near the end of the track sounds like Kanye’s “Gorgeous” off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
Toronto producer Boi-1da dropped Tyga a gem on “I’m Gone,” with G.O.O.D.’s Big Sean. Sounds like it was created for his go-to artist Drake but who knows really. “And my city color purple, no Celie.” Tyga’s from California, where the Lakers wear purple and Celie is the main character of the novel The Color Purple. Clever young tiger. Big Sean fires up some good lines including “Kush-ups ’cause the weed too strong,” and “I’m a G + 1, what’s that? Motherfucker that’s gone.” G1 Airplane/G + one=Gone/Song title, references and double entendre’s are what excite my ears and mind when listening to music.
Down a few tracks to “Potty Mouth” where Busta Rhymes enters the scene looking like Jaws. This slightly darker, ominous, Dracula-esque beat with violins and soft looping background voices gives the 39 year old recent Cash Money signee a perfect platform to murder for just over a minute.
Tyga gets philosophical on “Black Crowns.” There’s much talk and reference to Christianity on this track (Thank You God Always). “Too much shopping, ni**as calling you a target.” The store Target has way too many options, and Tyga says he’s now a target because he’s made it and has the ability to shop. Hop down to “Love Game” for a second where I just want to note the experimentation with Dubstep at the end of the track. The genre is tolerable in moderation.
“Lay You Down” and “Light Dreams” are both 6’s. Wayne helps share his knowledge on the topic of gang banging and growing up where it’s a relevant factor. Marsha Ambrosius lends a hook for a track summing up how Tyga feels about being in the industry and at the top.
Besides the usual chatter about what money can buy you, “This Is Like” has a silky smooth beat with a hook to match courtesy of Robin Thicke. The following track “King & Queens” features MMG’s Wale and Nas. Arthur McArthur delivered a chilled out, fairly basic, but highly addicting beat. “They say my music knocks, so I hope it open every door,” Tyga wants his music to create opportunity and bump at the same time; a good play on words.
Produced by Cool & Dre and featuring Roc Nation’s J. Cole, “Let It Show” rolls down a suburban cul-de-sac like a hybrid sedan. Strap on that poker face, they can’t show emotion no matter the circumstance. “And I’m still throwin’ 5’s in the tank, ni**a; Cole!” Despite the fame, Cole can still pitch in for gas, he won’t change.
“Make It Nasty” could have been left out, perhaps thrown on a mixtape. “Still Got It” features a hook from Drake and a beat produced by 40 in early 2010.
Overall a great sophomore record from a young artist. Could have done without some of the tracks but how can you complain about 23 tracks for $7.99? You can definitely see all the influence of each and every fellow Young Money artist. I’m glad Tyga got his shot at the big leagues, he did not disappoint.
The album has currently sold 99,000 copies, debuting at No. 4 on US Billboard 200 with 61,000 copies sold first week.