Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and the rest of the crew at Top Dawg Entertainment continue to dominate the Los Angeles rap scene. As of late, however, Compton native YG has begun to make some noise.
Gaining the majority of his popularity from his 2013 hit singles “My N-a,” featuring Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan, and “Who Do You Love,” featuring Drake, YG finds his first studio album, My Krazy Life, faced with considerable expectation. Already several mixtapes into his career, YG actualizes all his promise with My Krazy Life. The album is packed with floor-shaking bass lines and distinctive stylistic features-it also includes a compelling storyline detailing his gang initiation, sexual experiences, and seemingly endless encounters with crime.
The voice of YG’s mother opens the record-she calls the rapper by his less familiar, government-issued name. (“Keenon Daequan motherf–cking Jackson! / I hope you ain’t outside hanging with them gangbangers / You gon’ end up in motherf-king jail, like your damn daddy!”) Thus, the story begins. YG ignores his mother’s request and succumbs to the influences of the streets. He explains on “BPT,” the following track, “My whole family tried to save me but it didn’t work.” He continues by boasting about his experiences in unsavory detail.
The album presents a muddled, less coherent version of the storytelling listeners so greatly appreciated on Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid m.A.A.d City. On “Meet The Flockers,” the sixth track of the album, YG details a step-by-step process of executing a home robbery (a crime for which he was sentenced six months in prison in 2009), detailing what to steal and how to steal it. The portrayal of past actions continues in “Do It To Ya” and “Me & My B-h,” back-to-back songs in which the Compton rapper reminisces (quite graphically) about past sexual experiences.
Storytelling remains a common theme throughout the album, but it is difficult to gain any sort of valuable message. The rapper’s thorough descriptions of the past conclude with his arrest, but YG shows no sign of regret or desire to act any differently. If anything, his message is entirely in agreement with his past: he supports putting aside differences and simply having a good time.
In the third track, “I Just Wanna Party,” YG teams up with fellow Compton rappers ScHoolboy Q and Jay Rock, producing a bass-heavy song with a captivating chorus, in which YG repeats the lyric “I just wanna party / I don’t wanna hurt nobody”-three times. He seems committed to this the idea of setting aside differences, featuring ScHoolboy Q, a former Crip, on the track-he is allegedly a member of the Bloods himself. Kendrick Lamar appears on the album eight tracks later, telling a similar story in “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin).” Kendrick and YG rap about life’s stresses and finding relief in smoking, drinking, and-well, partying.
The album concludes with a somewhat improperly placed apology to his mother on “Sorry Momma.” He raps over a smooth saxophone played by Terrace Martin and is accompanied by Ty Dolla $ign on the chorus. The song’s laidback beat stands out from the rest of the album. While the production and lyrics succeed, the placement of the song feels odd. The sincere apology and candid appreciation for his mother displayed in the song seems rather out of place concluding an album that glorifies acts of crime and disobedience. He heavily contradicts his entire message in this final track.
Overall, YG’s 14-track chronicle of past experience is somewhat muddled and lacks any substantive message. The album is missing diversity in its production, and it offers few notable songs.
YG gives his listeners a candid view of his “krazy” life with the help of many notable featured artists and producers. It’s an average debut album, best suited for a party or another occasion that doesn’t require really listening to the music.