Check out some quotables from our in-depth interview with YG. The Bompton leader talks Kendrick Lamar, the sacrifices he's made for "F*ck Donald Trump," and why his new album is so dark.
There have been few debut albums over the past decade or so that have made a bigger impact than YG's My Krazy Life. The album transformed him from a purveyor of the "ratchet" club sound to a masterful storyteller and a recognizable heir to some of LA's all-time greats. With his new album, Still Brazy, he intends to become a West Coast icon. After his successful debut, YG's life didn't get much easier, which is reflected on Still Brazy, by far his darkest work yet. Still, the album shows remarkable evolution -- in his storytelling, his understanding of the album format, and his ability to relay his frenzied state of mind.
YG is the subject of HNHH's new June/July Digital Cover story: "From the City of Bompton." Read the full story here, and check out footage from the LA photoshoot below.
Here are some of the more interesting tidbits from our lengthy conversation with YG. He explains both the continuities and differences across his first two albums, responds to comparisons to Kendrick Lamar, and asserts why the whole rap game should to respect him and Nipsey for "Fuck Donald Trump."
On the real-life story of "Still Brazy":
It [the album] happened over two years in my life. I mean, it's just a lotta paranoia and dark shit. I was in a dark space. I fell out with a lot of my good friends, including Mustard. I had my daughter, which was a good thing -- a great thing, a blessing. Three weeks after I had my daughter, I got popped. I got shot right after that. I don’t know who shot me. I’m really not trusting nobody.
My whole life -- life's fucked up. All kinds of dark shit happened, man. It's just dark, bro. Yeah, so some records are gonna represent paranoia for sure.
On comparisons to Kendrick Lamar:
You heard the first album. He tell his story from his side, and then I tell my story from my side. And it’s similar. We telling two different sides of the story, but we really talking about all the same shit. It's the same lifestyle -- he's on one side of the joint, and I'm talkin' 'bout the other side. But the music is not the same. His beats is not the same, his shit is super different and my shit different. We come from the same place, we talk about the same things, but it's just a different side of the story.
On making a classic album:
We know why the album was such a classic. Because when you compare it to all the music that’s coming out today, there really ain’t too many classic projects. Especially from the streets? There ain't too many of those. So the competition is not really there. It’s only a couple of mothafuckas who drop projects, so the albums I’m competing against is not even classical albums, period.
We know why the people was calling the album classic, so all we did is take that and apply it to the second album, you feel me? The album got a storyline, got a concept. I put you in my shoes. You gon' feel like you paranoid, like you got shot. You gon' feel how I’m feelin, and I'ma break shit down for real, straight to the point. You feel me?
On the narrative focus of "Still Brazy":
I wanted to make My Krazy Life sound like a movie, you feel me? Sometimes you gon' need a lot of voices or sound effects just to connect the dots and make people feel like they watching or listening to a movie. This album [Still Brazy], is more like a narrative album, and I'm narrating through through the album. I'm narrating on top, and you've got the scenes behind it. It’s different than the first album. The first album was just scenes. This is not driven by the scenes; it’s a narrator’s journey.
On Terrace Martin:
Me and Terrace, we started to work heavy on My Krazy Life, but I’ve been knowing him before then. Every time we see each other, we always talkin' about working on music, so the time came when we really came in from the gate. Terrace Martin started working on Still Brazy from the start. Combined with the fact that me and Mustard had fell out, so we wasn’t doing no music.
I called Terrace like, "Hey bro, I need you to come through. I ain't really fucking with the homie, we ain't fucking with each other, so I need you to come through so I can make my album and shit.” He like, "Alright bro." So he had a moment to really have fun and do some different shit than he ain't been doing in a long time. Terrace Martin making a lot of different kind of music right now. He’s from LA, and he’s young, so the type of shit I’m doing, he’s still got that in him.
On the "Still Brazy" album cover:
That's just how the last year and a half, two years of my life been. Looking over my shoulder, you feel me?
On "F*ck Donald Trump":
That just put us [him and Nipsey Hussle] on a whole 'nother level, rap shit. On some respect shit, talk about me different -- put some respect on my name -- 'cause there's a lot of corny-ass mother motherfuckers in the rap game, hip-hop culture that really ain't doing shit. That ain't following protocol.
On his shows getting cancelled after "FDT":
I don’t get it. I don’t feel it. I understand it, but I don’t feel it. It ain't right. Y'all doing all this because of what y'all think or how y'all think. Y'all stopping me from making money, taking care of my people and expanding, and being the most I can be and doing the most I can do. Y'all tryna stop that. And it’s like that’s fucked up. Because I’m really out here doing a lot of good shit, giving back to the community. Me and the mayor, we linked up, my nonprofit. I do all my shit out of Compton with the mayor. And I do a lot of shit, bro. I'm putting my people in real situations, changing they lives.