YG is an MC who excels in saying a lot with very little — take “Stop Snitching,” a masterclass in mean mugging with a chorus of six repeated words, each one delivered with such stern intensity that the presented central idea that double-crossers will eventually be exposed as straight punks (“you got fear in your heart so you cooperate”) becomes less a cautious warning and more of an outright threat. Or even “I Was on the Block,” which YG opens with bursts of short, single-syllable phrases that build off one another until their central intention emerges: to build-up Bompton’s braziest as a man of fine-taste, one who, when he’s not forcing his recent girlfriend to be “dykin’,” regularly converses with Kanye West about being “an asshole.” Suffice to say, this is an act with relatively little depth and a large amount of callous misogyny, and one that runs its course after about six tracks on his latest album, 4Real 4Real. But those first six tracks have a lot going for them, especially the DJ Mustard-produced, Mariachi-influenced “Go Loko,” which features Tyga performing his most melodically tolerable chorus in years (and also has an assist from Jon Zm rapping in Spanish about mixing Four Loko with xanax).
But most of this goodwill is pissed away once YG tries to get ‘conscious’ with the alarmingly misanthropic “Keisha Had a Baby,” pedaling a tale of a two-timing gold digger who, in a cosmic display of irony, is cheated on herself — and saddled with all the blame for being in her current situation. From there, things only get more dire, with G-Eazy — AKA greaser Macklemore — even showing up at one point to pile on the toxic chauvinism (“Lookin’ around the room, I fucked every bitch in it”). The album ends with a surprisingly touching, albeit completely unearned, ode to YG’s “brother from the other color,” Nipsey Hussle. In a clip taken directly from Hussle’s memorial service, YG contends, proudly, that, “The mothafuckin’ marathon continues.” If his most recent project reflected that same unwavering determination, then these words might ring as righteous; instead, they come off as pretty empty platitudes.
Published as part of What Would Meek Do? | Issue 9