Release Date: May 24, 2019
Record label: Def Jam Recordings
The Lowdown: Nearly a month removed from its scheduled release date, YG's fourth studio album, 4Real 4Real, arrives after a delay issued in response to the untimely passing of his friend and mentor Nipsey Hussle. 4Real 4Real follows uptempo lead singles "Stop Snitchin" and the Latin-inspired "Go Loko" — a nod to YG's abiding respect for Los Angeles' Chicano culture that is as likely to rule summer as it is ripe for a tequila campaign. The track also summons his 2014 debut studio album, My Krazy Life; the title of the release was a play on the name of the 1993 feature film Mi Vida Loca, which placed a spotlight on gang culture in metro Los Angeles.
In 2015, YG survived a shooting at a Los Angeles studio. His resulting paranoia birthed 2016's belligerent Still Brazy, and the effects lingered through his last album, 2018's chest-thumping Stay Dangerous. "I'm the man, bitch, I walk 'round like I'm bulletproof," he rapped, sounding like a man possessed. After surviving an attempt on his life, in what he believed to be a set up, his message was clear: He wasn't going to be caught with his guard down again.
On In the Dark, YG openly acknowledges the darkness that hangs over him. The Compton rapper alludes to the incidents surrounding his protege (and former gang rival) Nipsey Hussle, who just like him, got shot for unknown reasons but wasn't as fortunate to make it out alive. But rather than dwell, he carries his legacy forward by trying to prove that he's the face of West Coast gangsta rap—furthering the old-school, carefree flow of his nineties hometown influences with confidence and swagger.