Apr 8, 2014

Opinion - My Krazy Life by YG album review by Niles Cavanaugh

"So this YG album I have to review sucks kind of.  Beats all sound the same."
"Well it's probably made to sell."

That was a conversation I had with my homegirl Jazzy about My Krazy Life. When Ramsey assigned it to me he described it as the gangbanger perspective to the same Compton Kendrick Lamar spoke about in his debut album.  Listening to it on the long and taxing drive home from Cherry Hill, I found that Ramsey was right about it.  This album tells a story, albeit loosely, of a day in the life of a Tree Top Piru Blood in Compton.

Being that West Coast hip-hop has been on an upswing the last couple of years (especially with ScHoolboy Q dropping Oxymoron a couple weeks ago), I was intrigued by this concept. As I listened on my trip home, I was sorely disappointed.

My Krazy Life does loosely tell a story of a day in the life of a blood in Compton, or Bompton if you choose. Lyrically and content wise, you aren't being sold a false bill of goods here. The subject matter is somewhat repetitive but makes sense. Smoking drinking, partying, fighting shooting, hanging out with your set f*ckin chicks are apparently what happens in a typical day for a blood around the way. I have no issue with that because you can tell YG isn't bullsh*ttin' listeners in any way shape or form. He's just speaking on what he knows on songs such as BPT or the blood-coded Bicken Back Being Bool. He also frequently uses interpolations of throwback West Coast hits in his rhymes. While he may not have the same lyrical technique and flow finesse as The Game, any of TDE, Fashawn, Crooked I, Murs, or any other left coast MC out there, YG still speaks in authentic language and comes from the heart in most of his raps. He's not going to be in anyone's top 5 dead or alive list, but tolerable lyrically, albeit average.

The main trouble with My Krazy Life is the beats. If you're going to be an average newcomer newcomer in a hip-hop scene that seemingly sees thousands of releases per week, you have to be carried by top-notch production if you don't have the necessary wordplay to stand out. YG doesn't have that. Out of a possible 17-18 songs (depending on the edition you purchased) the aforementioned DJ Mustard either solely produced or at least had a hand in produced or at least had a hand in producing 12 of them. The beats stay true to the album's California roots but largely get repetitive and boring after awhile. I understand that you want any album to have a consistent vibe when it comes to production, but almost all of this sounds the same. In an interview with Hip-Hop DX review, DJ Mustard compared the album to Dr. Dre's classic The Chronic. while that album had a consistent vibe and formula, you could at least tell the songs apart. I got the feeling that the beats were like a modern day g-funk soundtrack of an old video game or something. Combined with the subject matter that's standard at best, you aren't looking at anything Earth shattering.

There are a few gems here, don't get me wrong. I Just Wanna Party is pretty good and comes with a double assist by ScHoolboy Q and Jay Rock. Really Be shows that YG can avoid getting completely eaten alive by current California hip-hop king Kendrick Lamar. 1 AM is too short yet solid, and Sorry Momma is the best song on the album. It's an introspective joint co-produced by Terrance Martin and DJ Mustard that survives an appearance by new guy Ty Dolla Sign. Even the bonus track Bompton has replay value. Overall this album has a lot of filler, and like Jazzy implied, this album was seemingly made to sell. There's an obligatory Drake appearance on Who Do You Love? and the radio smash My N*gga (or My Hitta as heard on the radio) sounds like your average irritating hit hip-hop song of today. The original features label boss Young Jeezy and fellow new act Rich Homie Quan. The remix on the deluxe edition features Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Meek Mill. Clearly this was built for spins and nothing else.

Overall, this album fell short of the expectations that I had. While it does show a gangster's view of Compton, it ultimately sputters once you realize that gangsters don't do much and seemingly don't leave the neighborhood in which they reside. Put these stories over mostly bland beats, and you don't have much of a memorable album. It doesn't compare to good kid, m.A.A.d city or Oxymoron because it lacks the rich production and lyrical diversity to keep up with it's peers. This album will have and audience though. Fans of a new school radio rap will find it catchy. People from Compton and like areas in Cali (shoutouts to Tori who also put me on the album) will be able to relate to some of the culture and references and therefore embrace it. At the end of the day, My Krazy Life sounds like other albums before it and will eventually sound like other albums after it. It won't go down as a classic, or make my top 10 of 2014. It'll just kind of something that happened. It was an album that was made to sell and it shows.

Short backstory: hailing from Compton, YG is a Tree Top Piru Blood who is signed to Jeezy's CTE World/Def Jam. He released a number of mixtapes and frequently collaborated with producer DJ Mustard starting in 2010.

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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