In case you didn’t realize it, West Coast hip-hop is in the midst of a major resurgence. From the across-the-board success of Kendrick Lamar, the underground cult of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, to the growing popularity of Schoolboy Q — the West is beyond back; it’s thriving in a myriad of styles. In the case of the Compton, Calif., born rhymer Y.G., it’s the unapologetic gangsta-ism that made Los Angeles rap so famous a generation ago. He is the brash descendant of Eazy E and Spice 1, and his debut My Krazy Life channels everything from N.W.A to early 50 Cent.
The project, recorded between Los Angeles and Atlanta, features the gunplay, misogyny and drug references that make people loathe gangsta rap, all filtered through Y.G.’s inspired sensibility. That’s right — this album doesn’t make any apologies for it’s unabashed gangsta-ism, but like the best of the West Coast classics of the 80s and 90s, it presents that lifestyle from a point-of-view that can be as riveting as a Scorsese movie.
Mostly produced by Y.G. regular DJ Mustard, the album boasts some booming, synth-heavy bangers, and Y.G. proves to be a captivating storyteller.
The opener “B.P.T.” is pure West Coast, referencing everything from G-funk’s sonic trademarks to Ice Cube‘s N.W.A reunion “Hello.” Schoolboy Q makes an appearance, holding his fellow Compton repper down on the “I Just Wanna Party,” territory revisited “Did It To Ya,” a more than capable party track. “My Hitta” with Rich Homie Quan and Jeezy, is an album standout — the most repeatable track on a strong record.
Though it’s largely a winner, My Krazy Life has missteps. “Me & My B—-” doesn’t quite reach the emotionally evocative brass ring it was obviously going for and the Kendrick-assisted “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)” is surprisingly by-the-numbers; but this is an assured debut.
Y.G. has room for growth, and as stated above, this isn’t for you if you have a distaste for that typical gangsta s—. But this is another feather-in-the-cap for West Coast hip-hop aficionados who were looking for a new voice in the streets with no reservations about recalling the R-rated raps of the genre’s heyday. It’s Y.G.’s turn now.