Following the raging popularity of 2010 hit “Toot It and Boot It,” Def Jam artist YG has released a mixtape and recently announced his upcoming debut album, which is expected to release in early fall. Just before The Daily Californian spoke with YG, he was in the recording studio producing songs for his long-awaited album.
YG has produced two mixtapes since 2010, but this upcoming record will be his first studio album. Although his previous raps are rather vulgar, solely depicting “bitchez,” money and partying, YG explains that his new album attempts to please everyone. “Everything got better,” he said. “The production got better, the lyrics got better, the visuals got better.” With this “better” album, he plans to appeal to “all the people,” ranging from the Top-40 advocates he attracted with “Toot It and Boot It” to his die-hard West Coast fans. He plans to do so by “making songs that sound different,” although it’s rather unclear what that different quality really is. YG notes that in this album, “People gonna be like, ‘He’s been listening to Dre shit,’” acknowledging the important role the West Coast music scene has played in his work.
The West Coast rap industry has shaped YG’s style while he, in turn, has played a significant role in the scene. YG claims that “Lil Wayne, Snoop, Dre and The Game” — almost all West Coast rappers — have had the most influence on his style. These artists, in addition to his Los Angeles location, have shaped his career. He notes that “the things (he) talks about is like West Coast made it all the way,” as “the lifestyle is going to influence the music.” Although he maintains that these artists and the atmosphere in the area have, in the past, guided his work, YG now holds that “everyone’s following (his) style … When you got something good, everyone’s trying to follow it, trying to take it.” However, he failed to mention any artists who are actually doing so. With his confidence, however, YG may actually make it to the top of the rap industry — though a rather different top than that desired by other artists.
While other artists view success in the rap industry epitomized as world-renowned fame, impact on societal changes or the number of music awards received, YG holds that, to prevail, an artist must transform himself into a business. By “taking what you made in the rap industry and turning it into something else,” an artist will be successful. Like “Dre and his Beats” and “50 Cent and his Vitamin Water,” YG plans to sell himself as a brand. Although some may assume this might detract from the value of the music, YG maintains, “If you’re constantly in the studio and (developing yourself as a brand) on the side, it’s good.” He compares this ideal rise to fame to that of athletes: Although they are strewn across advertisements for an array of products, they continue to show up at practice — as he plans to do in the studio.
Upon being asked about his current and future tours, YG beams with enthusiasm. He is “excited about every show” and unable to pinpoint any certain stop that excites him more than the others. His fans drive his performances: “When they turn up, (he) turns up.” As evidenced by multiple videos, YG notes, “If the people ain’t havin’ a good time … (he’s) gonna jump in the crowd” and make them have a good time. Although his lyrics may offend a large demographic, YG’s passion for his work will carry him to a lucrative future.
Contact Sasha Chebil at [email protected].