Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and The Game made a massive mistake when they crowned Kendrick Lamar the new “King of the West Coast” in 2011. This isn’t a stab at Kendrick’s talent; he’s one of the greatest rappers we’ve seen this generation, if not the best. A true king of West coast Hip-hop should embrace its signature style, G-funk. G-funk set the west apart from other regions due to Bay Area minds and Dre’s genius. Kdot certainly didn’t build his career around this sound and style, though. Instead, YG, another rapper from Compton, California (Bompton for the rest of this review) built his persona around the alien-esque synthesizers and smooth bass. With his sophomore album Still Brazy, YG champions the style like no other MC in the game today.
Still Brazy picks up right where My Krazy Life left off, delving right back into YG’s gangbanging lifestyle but with a more matured and world-weary YG. This is reflected in the lyrics and themes that are present throughout the duration of the album. For instance, the incident that saw YG take a bullet to the hip is addressed multiple times on the album, even getting its own song in “Who Shot Me?” Bompton’s own plays off the structure of his last album, flipping the script for the intro, a skit performed by his father as opposed to his mother who started off the last album. “Bool, Balm and Bollective” is the spiritual successor to “Bicken Back Being Bool,” as YG delivers the chorus in a manner similar to the earlier song. He addresses current socio-political issues like police brutality, making his own version of “Fuck tha Police” on the much more blatant “Police Get Away wit Murder.” And then there’s “Fdt,” an unabashed roasting of the current Republican presidential candidate.
There’s one major difference between Brazy and Krazy, and that’s the absence of DJ Mustard, YG’s cohort in revitalizing the G-funk sound. Mustard was a big contributor to the YG’s debut, making the move a daring, yet unnoticeable gamble. Terrace Martin could be responsible for this as he makes a triumphant return as producer and shaper of this album just like he did on My Krazy Life. Ty Dolla $ign also helped on a few tracks as does Hit-Boy, P-Lo and 1500 or Nothin’, but a majority of the production credit goes to DJ Swish, a 19-year-old that’s credited on just under half of the tracks. All of the producers do an excellent job of creating the classic G-funk sound; all of the songs on the album are confirmed to be whip-able and not listening to the exotic synths while cruising down the boulevard would be a disgrace.
What is most impressive, though, is that YG made a hit album with a paucity of big-name collabs. Both Drake and Lil Wayne reprise their roles on My Krazy Life, but other than those two, the features are lesser-known West coast natives. This promotes the feeling that this is a true homegrown West coast masterpiece by making the smaller names shine. Oakland’s Kamaiyah outdoes Drake on their shared track, serving up an infectious chorus that you can’t help but join in on. Sad boy also delivers on two different tracks, once on a hook and the other with a fire verse.
All of these elements combine to create the epitome of a summertime classic that couldn’t have been released any sooner. Try as you might, there’s no way you won’t be hearing cuts off of Still Brazy blaring from rolled down windows on every block or at pool parties and barbeques. YG certainly won’t be touring as an opener for long; with this release, he’s surely deserving of a headliner role. Regardless, G-funk is alive and well thanks to the real West coast king. So keep it four hunnid cause summer is here, and it belongs to YG.