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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 24, 2019 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 3, 2018 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Love it or loathe it, unashamed gangsta rap exists, and in 2014, it thrives with folks like Chief Keef and other Chicago-based thugs ruling the youth side of the genre, while Southern smokers take up the rest of the chart positions, including plenty of freaky hits for Gucci Mane and glitzy baller smashes coming from the Miami-based Don Rick Ross. That leaves gangsta rap's birthplace, the West Coast, with little representation, but the 24-year-old -- and sounding much younger -- Compton kid known as Y.G. wants to bring all the gold home to the land of Cube, Snoop, Dre, and Eazy-E. Besides that, on his Def Jam debut he's got that smartass killer attitude of the N.W.A. crew in their early days, combined with a little of that Geto Boys' ramshackle kamikaze style, although they were, obviously, born in Houston. My Krazy Life is an excitement-packed journey back to the days when the hardest gun talk and most thrilling, plus provocative, put-downs came from the underbelly of the Golden State, but as much as the album revels in murder, misogyny, and mayhem, Y.G. has got that "music as a way out" thing going into overdrive. He's making sure, as his furious Momma yells during the intro, he's not winding up in jail "like your damn Daddy!", and becomes a "people person" the only way he knows how, by enlisting that Parliamentary funk during the party starting "Do It to Ya" which comes with an "Ass up!" and etc. chorus that can't be repeated in mixed company. The Breaking Bad cast would even balk at the drug consumption quest Y.G. remarks on during "Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin')" featuring Kendrick Lamar, and yet his rattling through street slang and drug combos is the inspired stuff of early E-40 or Too Short without the relaxed pimp stance. Instead, Y.G. is an aggressive playa, and the slow and supposedly "sweet" numbers like "Me & My Bitch" cause speed bumps on an otherwise alive album, but the superstars like Kendrick, Drake, and Schoolboy Q are shuffled in smoothly, and when Rich Homie Quan and Jeezy come through on the great "My Hitta" the chemistry is perfect. The album's secret weapon is DJ Mustard who offers numerous productions that are pop like Young Money and bottom-heavy with G-Funk as the blueprint. Think of 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' delivered by an inspired rapper in a post-Nicki Minaj world and you're close to the thrill of this inspired debut. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 18, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 3, 2018 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 17, 2016 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 24, 2019 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 17, 2016 | Def Jam Recordings

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So crazy he follows up his 2014 debut My Krazy Life with Still Brazy, Compton rapper YG is a swaggering contradiction. He can spit gangsta lyrics like "I go broke rob fools for their jewelry/Stick yo hand up like you guilty" (from the cold highlight "Don't Come to L.A.") and then remain chill in the face of adversity because he's "Bool, Balm & Bollective," as now all Cs are turning into Bs. On top of that, he's a G-Funk as fubk on "Twist My Fingaz," where a crooked beat and "I'm about to pull a full Suge Knight/And push the issue on sight" both bring reminders of Death Row in their heyday, but "Why You Always Hatin'," featuring Drake and Kamaiyah, bounces with the hyphy sound of the Bay Area. Beatmaker Swish is an asset to the handful of tracks he helms, especially when he goes minimal for the anti-Donald Trump track "FDT," which allows the MC to unleash a string of caustic and compelling insults. All of these different angles and genre-jumping make a long album seem much smaller, and tacked on the end there lies YG's greatest statement to date, "Police Get Away wit Murder." Elevating the "don't hate the player, hate the game" cliche to another level, the track presents the rapper's everyday reality to the judge, with "It get real in the field, your honor" and "AK get dangerous, shotgun and the mac too/You would have told your kids to hide/At the front door squeezing on that trigger with pride." Heavy stuff, and a fitting end to a heavy album that doesn't pander to what's PC, what's on the radio, or what safe, suburban America believes. Alluring G-Funk and infectious songs of strife are what attracted suburban America to Suge, Snoop, and Dre, and while the Game grows older and Kendrick's music ventures further out, YG offers a West Coast way to keep their heads ringin', and maybe shake something loose in the process. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 24, 2019 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 25, 2016 | Def Jam Recordings

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On Black Friday 2016, five months after he released Still Brazy -- his second Top Ten album -- YG returned with this EP-length commercial mixtape issued by Def Jam. It begins, somewhat oddly, with the announcement that the third volume of his Just Re'd Up mixtape series is on deck. After that, an aggressive sequel to "I'm a Thug" snaps into action with YG in unapologetic and celebratory form: "Now I got that money, everybody love me." That's a standout, as is "I Be On," a low-profile DJ Swish production with an appearance from 21 Savage. A third highlight is "One Time Comin'," a protest track that targets antagonistic authority, serving the same placement and purpose as the finale of Still Brazy. YG and DJ Mustard re-connect on "Get Out Yo Feelin's" and "Down Bitch," though neither one is a highlight. ~ Andy Kellman
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 1, 2019 | Sire

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Comedy/Other - Released April 25, 2016 | The Muse Ent.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 10, 2018 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 28, 2017 | Def Jam Recordings

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FDT

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 5, 2016 | Def Jam Recordings

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FDT

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 13, 2017 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 3, 2018 | Def Jam Recordings

YG made artistic strides throughout 2016 with the scathing protest track "FDT," fully realized second full-length Still Brazy, and intermediary mixtape Red Friday. A clutch of unapologetically hedonistic singles in 2017 kept the Bomptown rapper visible and also pointed toward the approach taken with his third proper album. More functional than creative, Stay Dangerous recalls -- with a 2018 perspective -- the predominantly callous spirit of the early mixtapes. The album backslides across familiar territory in routine if efficient style, with looming highlights such as the DJ Mustard co-productions "Suu Whoop" and "Too Cocky" putting new twists on the tried and true form. Almost all the moments of reflection are fleeting and flanked by contradictory boasts. The contrast is sharpest on "Deeper Than Rap," in which YG regrets the time he's away from his daughter, reaffirms his predilection for "stank hoes" "that fuck on the first date, dick all in they face," and reveals to his grandmother that he's uncertain about Christianity -- all in one verse. There is no such inconsistency in "Bomptown Finest," a kind of G-funk blues number that closes out the album as a major payoff for listeners eager to hear YG rap about his complex life outside "Pussy Money Fame." ~ Andy Kellman
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 25, 2016 | Def Jam Recordings

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 17, 2016 | Def Jam Recordings

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