July 12, 2016

YG - Still Brazy (June 17, 2016)


Unfortunately I haven't been able to keep up with this blog as much as I have liked; mostly due to other things happening in my life along with the lack of major rap releases that pique my interest. While I am back for now, I must warn you fair readers that I will no longer be able to jettison out posts like I used to as I have crappy time management. Regardless, I hope you enjoy my review on YG's latest work, Still Brazy.

YG has seemed like one of those rappers that always seemed okay to me but didn't really have anything to differentiate himself from any other rappers aside from his DJ Mustard beats. There are many pros to being paired with a producer for a debut album with the main one being a consistent sound. However, the main detractor of being paired to a producer, as other rappers such as Snoop Dogg have noticed, is that a lot of times the rapper is almost like an accessory of the producer rather than being the main man of the show. This is particularly bad for YG as DJ Mustard has been giving his beats to almost every popular artist for the past few years and while I liked his beats at first they started to grow extremely tiresome and predictable. Before this album though, YG decided to part ways with DJ Mustard and whether I think that is a good thing or a bad thing will be described in the review below.

1. Pops Hot Intro
Usually I don't like intros as they just take up unnecessary space, but this intro is a nice throwback to YG's debut album where his mother is blaming the father for their problems.

2. Don't Come to LA (Featuring Sad Boy, A.D. and Bricc Baby)
A posse cut straight off the bat huh? The song starts off with a wordy hook is that manages to work because it sounds menacing rather than catchy. YG's verse sticks to the theme that's in the title of the track with one particular line standing out being "Cause ya'll paying for the lifestyle that's watered down" trying to shed some light on what he deems as fake rappers only talking about gang-banging for sales. The next rapper in line, A.D., has an intense delivery but says 2 really bad lines rhyming "rare breed with rare breed" but he does say one really good line about 2Pac rolling in his grave at what I believe A.D. is implying where the state of rap is right now. Finally, Bricc Babby comes in and is surprisingly really good with his last line connecting well by claiming that people think that they are untouchable when walking into L.A. but dismisses the idea of their safety as even former President J.F.K. got murked. The beat by DJ Swish is a West Coast banger and serves as a wonderful introduction to the album.

3. Who Shot Me?
In this song YG formulates his paranoid thoughts on who shot him mixed in with thoughts that God has a greater plan for him, which is why he survived the shooting. The DJ Swish beat is pretty cool and subdued which serves YG well in this case as he is seen as the main center of attention of this song and handles it well.

4. Word is Bond (Featuring Slim 400)
This song is about how YG means what he really means hence his words literally bond him to take certain actions. Although some might find the song repetitive, simple, and maybe even annoying, I find it really catchy. The P-Lo beat almost feels like a throwback to 90s West Coast rap if anything and I really enjoyed it with its bumping bass and melody. However, this song is almost ruined for me as Slim 400 spits out one of the most atrocious verses I have heard in a while now. Like that was hot trash! I hope this was an anomaly for Slim 400 as his flow is pretty unique at least so he has that going for him.

5. Twist My Fingaz (Featuring Slim 400)
Anybody know anything else from the producer of this beat? It says his name is Terrace Martin and he makes THE best beat on the album for me. The beat is like old school Snoop Dogg except updated, it would be better to listen to this song now though! This is YG's bread and butter and he takes the opportunity to spit some pretty damn good lines that I first truly notice his improvement as a rapper. My favorite lines that YG spits is "Hold up, I really got something to say
I'm the only one who made it out the West without Dre", a reference back to Eminem on "Forgot About Dre" while also claiming that he is the only West Coast rapper to make it without Dre being a grand statement of intent and shows his ambition (although not really true). The hook is a masterpiece on how to make a hook and Slim 400 serves as a good hype man on this song. (I looked up Terrace Martin later and I did not know that he was the same guy who produced a lot of Kendrick's To Pimp A Butterfly. It starts to make a lot more sense as to why the beat sounds a lot like Snoop's old work is because Terrace Martin actually started his rap instrumental creating career with Snoop)

6.  Good Times Interlude (Featuring Syke 800, Duce, Marley Blu and Burnt Out)
Only serves to set up the next song as someone comes up to YG asking for a handout.

7. Gimme Got Shot
YG replaces the name of the so-called leech from the interlude with "Gimme" and impresses me with his creativity in the idea and YG manages to execute this idea perfectly, even providing a good hook. The DJ Swish beat continues the West Coast sound for the storytelling abilities of YG.

8. I Got A Question (Featuring Lil Wayne)
This song is kind of a dud. The 1500 or Nothin' beat is contrary to the producers name is hilariously slow and plodding. Meanwhile, YG engages on some ramblings and says some of his weakest verses so far. Weezy on the other hand spits some pretty good lines that he probably should have kept for his solo stuff. Bonus points to Weezy for the references to the Wu-Tang. This song should have probably got cut from the album.

9. Why You Always Hatin? (Featuring Drake and Kamaiyah)
While not a DJ Mustard beat, this is exactly what I expected from YG before listening to this album. CT Beats produces an instrumental that is alot more club-oriented than the previous tracks and has that "hey" vocal sample that is seen in many DJ Mustard beats. While I still like this song for some reason (might be the hook actually), it is obviously the "hot single" attempt on the album as seen by the Drake feature on here. You might have noticed that I haven't talked about the verses, but that's because there wasn't anything instantly memorable from them.

10. My Perception (Featuring Slim 400)
This skit was entirely useless. At least it's only 14 seconds.

11. Bool, Balm & Bollective
Terrace Martin and DJ Swish produce a beat that keeps the theme of keeping calm under high-pressure situations. YG tells some pretty cool stories (no pun intended). My favorite line from this song while a bit corny is "I’m friendly like Casper but I wait until I hit to get ghost".

12. She Wish She Was (Featuring Joe Moses and Jay 305)
This song, while probably causing much umbrage to the ladies, is pretty damn hilarious from my perspective. YG himself masterfully leaves the hook "She wish she was a n----a" open as a double entendre as a warning to a girl to not act like a gang-banger with the other meaning being the more obvious warning to a girl to not act like a man. I find this song so hilarious because YG carefully tries to leave both meanings open to the listener before the guests BLAST subtlety out the double decker bus. Some examples include Joe Moses spitting the line "Bitches gon' be acting like Bruce but they wanna be Cait" along with Jay 305's lines "Why girls be calling hoes when they fuck a lot of dude?
Well shit, the answer is this y'all bleed once a month and all we got is a dick". The 1500 or Nothin' beat is much better this time around with its marvelous West Coast flavor weaving around the bumping kick drums.

13. YG Be Safe (Featuring The Homegirl)
Errrm, why is this one here?

14. Still Brazy
I might have to reconsider the statement of "Twist My Fingaz" having the best beat on the album because this DJ Swish and Ty Dolla $ign (wait what?!) beat is one of the nastiest West Coast beats I've heard and bumps hard in the whip. YG rides this beat like he it was his born duty spitting interesting lines about his paranoia and how everything in his life is crazy (in a bad way). The way YG presents his paranoia to the audience shows that it is actually afflicting his way of life with the stand-out lines being "Gotta put cameras all around the crib/Gotta, gotta wear the vest like a bib".

15. FDT (Featuring Nipsey Hussle)
YG is one of the only people that can pull this song off. The hook of this song is literally "Fuck Donald Trump" and the lyrics themselves while not anything intricate is straight to the point with YG and Nipsey Hussle's thoughts on Donald Trump. The DJ Swish beat itself is really simple but perhaps too simple which makes the song drag along. Honestly, this song is interesting to listen the first time but they should have made this song a lot shorter (perhaps even an interlude).

16. Blacks & Browns (Featuring Sad Boy)
YG expresses his desire that was also shown on "FDT" for unity between blacks and latinos against racism, which is interesting in a way because I don't think I recall anybody actually suggest unity between blacks and latinos. Usually rappers and the like only suggest unity under one race umbrella so this is a fascinating development from YG that other leaders of movements should take note of as it might actually prove to be a fruitful strategy. The P-Lo beat could have been better though as it feels too slow along with the strangely calm deliveries of the rappers. In fact, why didn't they make this song more fiery and up in arms. The more I think of it the more I think this song lacked proper execution.

17. Police Get Away wit Murder
This song is similar in topic to the last track but thankfully YG and Hit-Boy (one of my favorite new producers) create a high-energy and pumping song to rant about police mistreatment. I really liked this song and YG's lyrics with the exception of the hilarious line about the Illuminati hiding stuff, which might be part of YG's actual paranoia but still...

Final Thoughts: YG proved on this album that he doesn't need DJ Mustard to have good instrumentals and frankly I like this album's sound more than his debut. YG himself has come leaps and bounds from the rapper he was on his debut and I have to commend him on that. Thank you YG for making a fantastic follow up to your debut and hopefully you can keep this up for your next project.

Best Tracks: "Twist My Fingaz", "Still Brazy", and "Don't Come To L.A."

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