Subscribe via iTunes | Google Play | Radio Public | Stitcher | RSS The Lowdown: YG is a Compton native with two excellent gangsta rap albums under his belt. The world may have changed around him, but for better and worse, YG has not. Though it doesn't quite reach the heights of his first two, his new album, Stay Dangerous , is another solid project from one of the best on the West Coast.
That YG has maintained such a following is a bit surprising. The Compton (sorry, Bompton) rapper doesn't think outside the box. Instead, he's so normal in terms of presentation and delivery that you wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. As of yet, there's no shtick that can memeify YG, be it a deliberate vocal tic, a particularly absurd or hilarious lyric, or even a signature piece of clothing.
With his 2014 triumph of a debut, My Krazy Life, YG transitioned from an anonymous L.A. mixtape rapper to a dynamic artist establishing a fresh lane for West Coast rap in the wake of Kendrick Lamar's ascendance. He took a cache of buzzy and bouncing beats from his friend DJ Mustard and offered a gripping take on growing up in Compton, an origin story filled with charming swagger and bristling confidence.
After years of branding himself as the premier West Coast gangsta attraction, YG has been faced with a career crossroads. It's a First Rap World problem if you will -- he simply needs to expand his fanbase. His debut studio album was a near-production masterpiece and its follow-up revealed his thuggery could evolve to a political and even intellectual level.
YG got unexpectedly political on 2016's Still Brazy, linking up with Nipsey Hussle on “FDT,” that year's most scathing indictment of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Two years later, the Compton neo-gangsta rapper is still no fan of Trump—the president gets another “fuck you” in the very first line of “10 Times,” the opening track of YG's Stay Dangerous—but for the most part, the new album takes a step back from the topical, recalling instead the sound and subject matter of YG's 2014 debut, My Krazy Life. That's not just because 10 of its 15 tracks are produced by DJ Mustard, whose work on YG's early mixtapes helped to make stars of both both the rapper and producer.