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Tyga's self-assured rhymes, natural charisma, and knack for appealing to both the underground and mainstream -- traits he displays with minimum obvious effort -- have translated to platinum success spanning multiple decades. The rapper quickly moved from independent hustling to major-label superstardom. Self-funded mixtapes and a featured role on Chris Brown's Grammy-nominated "Deuces" laid the foundation for his first Top Ten solo pop hit, 2011's prowling "Rack City," leading to consecutive Top Ten albums with 2012's platinum Careless World: Rise of the Last King, 2013's Hotel California, and 2015's Fan of a Fan: The Album, the last of which he recorded with Brown. On the strength of the 2018 Offset collaboration "Taste," another Top Ten crossover hit, Tyga scored a second platinum full-length with 2019's Legendary. The Southern California native collected additional RIAA certifications with featured roles on tracks by the likes of Pia Mia, YG, and Blxst before teaming again with YG for Hit Me When U Leave the Klub: The Playlist, a largely celebratory if low-slung set issued in 2023. Born in Compton and raised in South Central Los Angeles until he moved with his family to Gardena -- just before his teens -- Tyga (Michael Ray Stevenson) began rapping in the early 2000s. Tyga (which stands for Thank You God Always) produced multiple mixtapes that showcased his swagger-heavy style. After recording a mixtape and promoting it around the city, Tyga ran into his cousin, Gym Class Heroes member Travis McCoy, in the Flight Club L.A. sneaker shop. Their conversation went from shoes to rappers, and as Travis' group rose from unknowns to MTV stars, he would always remember that talk and his cousin's unique style. Travis signed Tyga to his Bad Squad label and then invited him along when the punk-pop group Fall Out Boy came calling. Travis and Tyga would appear on the remix to Fall Out Boy's "Arms Race," which also featured Kanye West, Paul Wall, Skinhead Rob, Lupe Fiasco, and Lil Wayne. When the remix became a hit, Tyga found himself performing the track on MTV's Video Music Awards in 2007. He soon entered the studio to do some guest shots for his new friend Lil Wayne before shifting the focus to his solo career. His first single became the hooky "Coconut Juice," a S*A*M & Sluggo production that borrowed a bit of Harry Nilsson's hit "Coconut." As the club track was climbing the charts in the spring of 2008, Tyga was hard at work on his debut album, No Introduction, which was officially released that June. He returned in 2012 with Careless World, a record that featured Game, Snoop Dogg, and Drake among its guests. Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Rick Ross, and 2 Chainz landed on his 2013 effort Hotel California -- his second straight Top Ten album. Among his many guest verses around the time were a pair of hit collaborations with Chris Brown, "Deuces" (nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Rap/Sung Collaboration) and "Loyal." The two opted to take their success to another level with Fan of a Fan: The Album, released in 2015. Later in the year, Tyga followed up with his fourth proper LP, The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty, as well as the mixtape Fuk What They Talkin Bout. "Do It Again," his collaboration with headliner Pia Mia, cracked the Hot 100 and also went platinum that year. Another tape, Rawwest Nigga Alive, arrived in 2016. The release featured appearances by Goapele, Chris Brown, Rick Ross, and 2 Chainz. Before the end of the year, Tyga signed with Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label, though nothing would materialize from the deal. In 2017, Tyga released a series of high-profile collaborative singles including "Feel Me" with Kanye West, "Act Ghetto" with Lil Wayne, and "100's" with Chief Keef and A.E. His fifth official album, BitchI'mTheShit2 (the sequel to a 2011 mixtape), appeared in July, containing the singles featuring West and Keef as well as additional features by Vince Staples, Young Thug, Pusha T, and others. Tyga's prolific run continued a few months later with the Bugatti Raww mixtape, followed in early 2018 by his sixth album, Kyoto. Tyga subsequently scored a hit that summer with "Taste," featuring Migos' Offset. The slinky track broke into the Top Ten of the Hot 100, one of his highest showings to date. In 2019, he issued the quick follow-up Legendary, a typically horny set that included "Taste" and recruited guests Lil Wayne, Blueface, J Balvin, Bazzi, and Chris Brown. Tyga appeared as a guest on a series of singles from various artists in 2020, as well as releasing "Freak," a collaborative song with Megan Thee Stallion. In the front half of 2021, he hit platinum again as the co-star of Blxst's "Chosen" and collaborated with Iggy Azalea on "Sip It" and Moneybagg Yo on "Splash." He also released the solo tracks "Mrs. Bubblegum" and "Lift Me Up." In February 2022, he paired with Doja Cat for the Billboard-charting "Freaky Deaky" and with Chris Brown for "Nasty." The year 2023 saw Tyga team up with YG on "Platinum" and the end-of-summer anthem "Party Time," tracks previewing the duo's Hit Me When U Leave the Klub: The Playlist, issued that September.
© Fred Thomas & Andy Kellman /TiVo


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