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American Gangsta: YG – My Krazy Life, A Decade Later

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Rapper YG and DJ Mustard attend “Blame It On The Streets” Special Screening at Tribeca Cinemas on November 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Before the rise of Drill rap, on March 18, 2014, West Coast rapper YG and producer DJ Mustard released the last certified Gangsta rap album, My Krazy Life. The duo set forth to create a work representing themselves as offspring of West Coast legends Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, a task where they succeeded and made their legacy.

From the mud

Rapper-YG-credit by Youtube Music

Keenon “YG” Jackson, a Compton, California native, first buzz attempt with the 2010 dance jingle called Toot It and Boot It ft. Ty Dolla Sign. The track was an okay two-step record that gained attention in the Los Angeles (LA) hoods but peaked at number 67 on Billboard. After spending time in jail for a parole violation, YG linked with LA native friend Dijon “DJ Mustard” McFarlane, and the two went on to create a mixtape titled The Real 4 Fingaz, which gained a fanbase across the internet.

The chemistry between YG and DJ Mustard was a lightning-in-a-bottle type of musical magic. The two began to build a growing audience at their performance shows across Los Angeles County that caught the attention of a visiting icon from Atlanta, Georgia. “I actually attended one of his (YG) shows, and I couldn’t believe it,” Jeezy told Revolt. “I just felt like he needed that, you know, that other half, the other link. You know that got that wisdom and the knowledge, and that can help him in the areas he probably doesn’t understand as a new artist.”

Jeezy felt impressed by YG, so the Snowman signed the young Compton rapper to his (Jeezy) label CTE World, which had a distribution deal with Def Jam Recordings. Now, with a Big Homie cosign, YG and DJ Mustard set off together to make a bounce-boogie G-Funk album about their everyday Californian lives.

Another G-Thang

YG MY Krazy Life Album Cover credit by CTE World/Pushaz Ink/Def Jam Records

My Krazy Life by YG is an album that plays like a Rated-R documentary into the inner-city hood life of Compton, California. The audio scenery isn’t the palm trees and sunny smiles one sees onscreen, but rather the smirk-faced gang life that’s unpretty to the politically sensitive eye. The horn sounds off with YG yelling, “N***a, N***a, N***a!!! ” on BPT is an unapologetic stand-off record saying, “FU, this is where I’m from!!!”  I Just Wanna Party Ft. Schoolboy Q & Jay Rock hit an emotion from the baseline that feels like the three rappers are gearing up for a drive-by. YG is telling you who and why he is by rapping, “Mama ain’t raise no fool. Daddy told me never leave the house without my tool.”

Left, Right is a track with a sonic hit that comes straight from Death Row Records’ lost vault. “If you really love LA music and you love like Dr. Dre, Snoop, Pac; you gonna relate to this,” DJ Mustard told Vibe magazine. “Me and YG are about as close as it’s gonna get for our generation.” No examples show a greater truth to Mustard’s statement with songs like street anthem My N***a ft. Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan, the backyard gangsta boogie Do It to Ya, and summer house party track Who Do You Love? Ft. Drake.

YG also displays crafty yet easy-to-follow lyricism on My Krazy Life. In the song Bicken Back Being Bool, the Piru Blood raps a story replacing Cs with Bs when he rhymes, “Smoking on a bigarette, eating a bowl of bereal.” That commitment is authentic to YG’s world. “it’s a day in the life piece, ya feel me,” YG told Snoop Dogg on GGN. “I’m giving you a part of my story. I’m giving you situations I’ve been through. Showed you how I deal with situations, and giving you the culture, the West Coast, how we living.”

Sons of the Chronic

My Krazy Life is an album that is almost everything Gangsta rap critics warned about in the 1990s. The threat of the then children who would grow up in a world influenced by The Chronic and Doggystyle. A world where women on records are disrespected, and gun violence is praised. Yet, although the criticism is necessary, the artistry of YG and DJ Mustard is the same as their predecessors, where they create music that reflects inner-city American life. That same life combines watch-yo-mouth language, domino/spade games, and gang activity into a cookout music session on display. The imperfections and immaturity are the rawness that makes a guilty pleasure album. YG and DJ Mustard’s contribution uses subject matter that raises the unanswerable chicken or the egg question: Should society blame the music or the social conditions that resemble this Krazy life?

The post American Gangsta: YG – My Krazy Life, A Decade Later appeared first on American Urban Radio Networks.

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