-The CPT native gives listeners an update on his brazy life and how he’s managed it-
In a 2015 interview, DC rapper Wale spoke vehemently on the Grammy’s committee not accommodating for hip-hop’s/rap’s overall tastes and sensibilities. He used YG’s debut album to support his claim, arguing that the Compton native followed the blueprint of “how every person should present their album … at least their debut” in order to obtain a Grammy nomination. The claim can make one review the debut album to determine if it truly deserves such considerations. After a listen, it can be confirmed that the Grammys snubbed another talented rap artist. Again.
Two years ago, YG practically surprised the rap game with his debut album My Krazy Life. Considering that his club smash “Toot it and Boot it” spearheaded him into the rap game, no one expected for a rapper like YG to conjure such a cohesive, coherent project. In addition, despite all the head-nodding hit singles, no one thought of DJ Mustard being a curatorial executive producer for a rapper’s debut album or album period; but, through his hyper-personal, hyper-local focus, the L.A. DJ prevailed and helped YG deliver one of hip-hop’s most memorable gangster rap albums. Indeed, the scope and consistency of My Krazy Life shared elements of a selective few L.A. classics--The Chronic, Doggystyle, and, recently, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City--that ultimately propelled itself into a classic consideration. Things were looking up for YG in 2014. Then, life happened.
In the past year alone, YG has endured a lot. He witnessed first-hand the complex entrappings of fame and foes, while experiencing his taste of unconditional love with his newborn daughter, Harmony. Then, he publicly fell out with DJ Mustard, his longtime collaborator and friend whose executive producer role helped launch the success of his debut album. Last June, he was shot at a recording studio in the ironic neighborhood Studio city, California, with the single bullet ricocheting from his hip to his groin. And, just last month, another nearly-fatal happening occurred when AK-47 shots ranged out on his video set in Compton. Planed out attack? Coincidence? Hard to say. But what’s not difficult to articulate is that occurrences like this play as white noise in a gang-infested, notoriously violent city like Compton, which is very sad and unfortunate. Clearly, the outcome of events evince that no matter how dear L.A. maybe to YG’s heart, home has limitations. Yet, that didn’t stop the brazen 26-year old from creating another classic in his discography.
Yes, Still Brazy comes as YG’s most sonically and lyrically structed projects to date. With a new and diverse production bench--DJ Swish, CT Beats, 1500 or Nothin, Ty Dolla $ign, Hit Boy, P-Lo, Terrance Martin, George Clinton, and many, many, more--YG once again takes us on a journey of his life laced with the erstwhile days and vibe of West-Coast G-Funk rap in a more, say, experimental way. Compared to its predecessor, the most noticeable difference of the album is YG’s writing. While MKL was good, the lyrics were subpar at best. There were snapshots of brilliance on some songs that had listeners begging for YG to develop the ideas more, especially when he took a more personal route (biggest culprit of this was “Really Be” Ft. Kendrick Lamar, where YG dwells in his vices because of the stress of his street life). On Still Brazy, YG revisits ideas that would’ve suited MKL well and flushes them out more--gangsta rap warning on “Don’t Come To LA”, importance of honesty on “Word Is Bond”, quick escalation of lending money on “Gimme Got Shot”--all while dabbling in new topics--the racial tensions on “Blacks & Browns”, race tension between people of different color and the police on “Police Get Away wit Murder”, the distrust in a presidential candidate on “FDT” (Fuck Donald Trump). Another great note is that the album sounds even more narrowed and controlled. The skits on SB are more straightforward and woven in almost flawlessly, allowing each song to flow into one another, presenting the album as an overall narrative. The features on the album are great as well. Everyone, Sad Boy, A.D. Bricc Baby, Slim 400, Drake, Joe Moses, Jay 305, and Nipsey Hussle, all deliver some solid bars. Yet, the most standout track-feature from the album is "I Got a Question" with Lil Wayne, which is surprising considering the porous work and verses Wayne has created for the past four years.
Critically, the major blemish with this album comes from how it isn’t cognizant of its contradictions. Minutes after YG ghosts a girl on “Bool, Balm, and Bollective”, he reprimands women on “She Wish She Was”, using misogynistic lyrics to describe a girl that has the typical on-to-the-next-one boy mentality. From YG’s paranoid and lack-of-trust position, the song makes sense. But, even then, there is a problem: because YG doesn’t think about the perspective of the girls that “wish” they were n*ggas, like he ponders over the actions of his would-be assassin on “Who Shot Me?!”. Plus, the song feels out of place, since the album’s objective was to be narrative, when considering how it comes right after YG talking about being relaxed. Take this cut out, and you had perfect album pretty much.
Overall, YG delivers yet another stellar project that’s sounds more advanced. Continuing to use and execute on the G-Funk tip, YG solidifies how he’s the only one to make it out the West without Dre as well as this generation of rap’s top West coast gangsta rapper . With another classic under his belt, it’s safe to say YG is not a one-and-done artist. Do ya dance YG, do ya dance.
Review written by: Jessie Pink