YG Delivers Another Debatable Classic Album With ‘Still Brazy’
Growth is a beautiful thing, especially in terms of artists in music. Compton rapper YG has came a long way in many facets since he broke on the scene with his 2010 hit “Toot It and Boot It”. For one, he has become one of the leading forces in west coast hip-hop, pushing gangster rap to a new level with his branding of his Tree Top Piru set. While rappers DJ Quik and Bompton laid the foundation, YG has done for “Bompton” what N.W.A, MC Eiht and Coolio did for the blue side of town in the 1990’s.
The success can be attributed to the incredible chemistry that existed between YG and DJ Mustard, who orchestrated a majority of YG’s biggest hits and projects. Mustard primarily produced YG’s 2014 debut album My Krazy Life, a critically acclaimed project that helped restore the feeling of ’90’s West Coast Gangster Rap. After a very public fall out over money, the two parted ways, and for the sake of YG’s artistic growth – that may have been for the better.
Despite having a hit debut album and losing a friend to the rigors of the music business, the biggest thing to happen to him was getting shot. In 2015, YG was shot three times at a Los Angeles studio, and in the last year we have seen a major change in the ever-controversial emcee.
“YG ain’t the same YG no more,” said the rapper in a recent interview with Hot 97 regarding the situation.
But he is Still Brazy, and even without his main producer, he sets out to prove he hasn’t been hit with the sophomore jinx.
Producers include Hit-Boy, P-Lo, Ty Dolla $ign, and Terrace Martin, but majority of production is handled by DJ Swish. The ’90’s G-Funk and Dr. Dre Death Row-influenced production returns, and honestly it’s done better than Mustard’s efforts on MKL.
The album start’s off with YG’s father, a nice touch seeing as disappointing his mother was a reoccurring theme in My Krazy Life.
The tone of the album is set immediately on “Don’t Come to LA”, as YG spits venom at out-of-town entertainers paying their way onto notorious Los Angeles sets.
With lines like “You wasn’t banging out of town it’s too late to holler it now”, many will see the verse as a shot at Virginia singer Chris Brown, who has caught flack for his affiliation with Compton’s Fruit Town Piru gang.
But it’s the second verse by Compton crip rapper AD that steals the show, as he issues a vehement warning to out of towner’s.
With the line “Hold on YG, since you came out with BPT, these n*ggas think it’s cool to come down to the CPT”, AD addresses the commercial notoriety Bompton has received.
YG attempts to solve the 2015 ambush that left him shot three times on “Who Shot Me”. YG’s story-telling ability is on full display as he recollects the events that transpired and reveals his paranoia as he determines whether or not the shooting was an inside job. YG rides the heavy bass and chords effortlessly, on a DJ Swish production that sounds like it was gift-wrapped by Dr. Dre himself.
The albums lead single “Twist My Fingaz” sees YG reunited with producer Terrace Martin on a G-Funk inspired classic that is sure to make Warren G smile. This trunk-rattler is sure to get play at the barbecues and in lowrider’s all summer.
YG shows diversity with “Gimme Got Shot”, turning the timeless saying into a banger about friends that constantly look for handouts.
If you liked “Bicken Back Being Bool” you will love “Bool Balm & Bollective”, where YG narrates a day in his life, from dealing with women to the homies.
The two most important songs on Still Brazy are “FDT” featuring Crip rapper Nipsey Hussle and “Blacks & Browns” featuring Sad Boy. The biggest element of YG’s growth has been his acknowledgement of the plight of people of color, and his push to unite Blacks & Mexicans against Presidential Candidate Donald Trump is commendable. Rappers are often criticized for ignoring issues, and YG & Nipsey make a compelling argument for blacks and hispanics to give Trump the finger on “FDT”. YG looks to wake up his people on “Blacks & Browns”, pointing out the issues with inner city education, government assistance and solidarity.
Lines like “They never gave us what they owed us, put liquor stores on every corner, welcome to Los Skanless California” showcase the bloom of YG the artist.
Sad Boy delivers some thought-provoking bars of his own, speaking from the perspective of a mexican – a voice not often heard in mainstream hip-hop.
Lines like “These jobs getting passed around, they dog our people, why we gotta look for work at Home Depot?“ challenge the stereotypes and ideals of the economy.
Superstar emcees Lil Wayne and Drake make appearances on “I Got a Question” and “Why You Always Hatin?” respectively, delivering solid verses.
“She Wish She Was” featuring LA rappers Joe Moses & Jay 305 is the most sub-par track on the album, and it still holds plenty of replay value. On the outset it seems like a misogynistic bashing of women, but YG and his cohorts challenge the ideals and norms of what is acceptable for women to do without being judged.
While My Krazy Life gives the perspective of a young, lost gang-banger, Still Brazy shows the growth, the knowledge that comes with the ups and downs of the street life. While YG now acknowledges a world bigger than TTP, he still is forced to deal with the allure of the street.
Still Brazy is an exceptional project, complete with a movie-like theme and intricate direction. From street tales to club bangers to songs that will make you think, Still Brazy is the complete package.
Believe it or not, YG has scored two debatable classic albums back-to-back. Brazy.
Score: 9 / 10