Tyga’s latest release has been making all the headlines, and for all the wrong reasons. Hopping on that same trend Béyonce and Drake popularised, Tyga surprise-released his album independently on Spotify, in the wake of a feud with his label, Cash Money Records. Yet much to the chagrin of the Compton rapper, The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty moved just 2200 copies in its first week. Not only is that half of what recently-abased artist Troy Ave sold, it’s a staggering 533,000 copies less than what ex-label-mate Drake sold with his last album, released in February. Even Theophilus London sold more.
Such appalling numbers made Tyga’s brave comments last year about Drake being fake and unlikeable yet more hilarious, but not as hilarious as when one considers this is a man who dates a seventeen year-old in an utterly-confusing, probably-illegal relationship, recently spent a depressing amount of money renovating the Los Angeles location of his tasteless clothing brand, and connects himself inexplicably to Ancient Egyptian culture despite not having any discernible Egyptian heritage nor historical knowledge beyond the mere assumption that “Hey, if I liken myself to the Egyptian Empire, everyone will agree that I’m powerful and relevant!” What even is the ‘18th Dynasty’? Was this album scheduled to be released on Kylie Jenner’s birthday?
But that’s enough personal slander, I’m worried I may not have enough invective left in my archive for the album itself.
The Gold Album begins, perplexingly, with a short monologue from an old Birdman interview. Given that the pair recently fell out, this is the first of many indications that you’re about to hear a slipshod, perfunctory, steaming heap of excrement. ‘Spitfire’, the track this poorly-chosen snippet opens, does not improve. Tyga immediately compares himself and his underage girlfriend to Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, a comparison that is anything but apt. In the very next line, he states “I’m busy in the jet/like a Spitfire”, despite the fact that the Spitfire was powered by a propeller and not by a jet. When one considers the persecution of Jews under both Ancient Egyptian and Nazi rule, perhaps it would be more apt for Tyga to compare himself to a Messerschmitt. He goes on to sully what is an interesting beat with an auditory rectal prolapse espousing the virtues of money, while equating Martin Kuther King’s dream to conspicuous consumption, and comparing the ruckus he brings to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, an odd reference that leads me to believe this song is four years old. Conveniently for Tyga though, such a comparison is befitting, as I believe this track could conceivably kill 185 people as well. 2/10
Downwards and backwards onto lesser things, Tyga is joined by compatriot A.E. (a rapper more difficult to find on Google than someone who would watch Tyga’s new reality show) as new depths are plumbed in the nauseating and quite frankly distressing ‘Muh Fucka’. Another possibly-interesting beat is ravaged by a bromidic, misogynistic string of verses and tedious flows. Effective explanation eludes me for this track, so I’ve taken the liberty of curating some of my personal favourite quotes from the song.
No bitch gon’ love you like ya ma’ love ya
Shit, the other day my ma’ suffered
It made me a muhfucka
Boy I fuck around and fuck ya mama
Muhfucka, shit, shit, muhfucka
Why you talkin’ shit muhfucka like I ain’t the shit, muhfucka?
Likin’ all my girl’s pics, muhfucka
Ay boo, where the muhfuckin’ freaks at?
Where the muhfuckin’ freaks at?
Where the muhfuckin’ freaks at?
Where ’em muhfuckin’ freaks?
Its been a long muhfuckin’ week, I need my muhfuckin’ dick sucked
Of course, nothing says ‘Drake is fake and unlikeable’ quite like copying songs such as ‘Started From The Bottom’ and ‘0-100’, blatantly imitating everything from verse structure to instrumental patterns. Yes, that’s what ‘Shaka Zulu’ is. Swathed in a medley of absonous beat switches, Tyga’s prevailing mood of puzzling, inarticulate aggression shines through, with highlights such as:
She bowed to her knees, want forgiveness
But all I could think about was coming out of speakers
She a fun girl living on the edge
Poppa ran a hedge fund, all his daughter do is give head
As if that wasn’t enough, Tyga makes a crucial mistake by connecting himself with the Zulu Kingdom, instead of the Ancient Egyptians. The reference to Shaka Zulu himself is at odds with Tyga’s carefully-built association with Egyptian culture, which definitely wasn’t trite to begin with, not at all, nope. One wonders if he knew the difference in the first place. 1/10
The Gold Album‘s fourth sonic excretion graces our eardrums in the form of ‘God Talk’, and it is at this point that I begin to have some sort of existential crisis as I begin to lose belief that I’m listening to Tyga, in place of some weird Drake tribute act. That’s right, this song sounds exactly like Drake’s ‘6 God’. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Tyga levels disses at Drake towards the end of the first and second verses while simultaneously doing some biting that would make Luis Suarez proud, only making this song even more confusing. ‘God Talk’ is so uninteresting, uninspiring, and unattractive that it makes one question whether Tyga wrote the lyrics, or even heard the instrumental before slinking his lecherous carcass into that recording booth. I don’t particularly want to hear about how his “penetration is all revelations”, and nor does anyone else. Quick to find a new and interesting low to end each song with, ‘God Talk’ is concluded with a short motivational message, delightfully-hackneyed in both its message and execution, leaving me with a lump in my throat that could only be vomit. 1/10
‘Hard For You’, however, is a true gem. In what might be the most side-splitting thing I’ve ever heard, Tyga serenades an underage woman through propositions of ‘tutoring’ her. Really. ‘Hard For You’ has to be a contender for the most sexually-discomfiting song of the year, if not the decade. While one could respect the message he delivers (if it weren’t to a seventeen year-old, especially when one considers the level of fame this song’s subject has to deal with, any discernable ‘aww’ is shattered by the most uncomfortable and embarrassing wording choices in music history. Just look at this example:
Lemme guide you, get inside you, style you
Everybody need love just pick up the phone, I’ll come through
And make it hard for you
The YouTube comments for this song really don’t help its case either. Oh well, at least it’s Kylie’s favourite. 0/10
‘Down For A Min’ addresses Tyga’s personal demons, seeking a return to the beginning of his career when he felt invincible. It’s just one of those standard personal, reflective songs, which nevertheless is a welcome change from that braggadocio that seemingly pervades every facet of Tyga’s life. However, this might be the worst song on the album. A dreadful piano-laden beat tries, and fails to cover up Tyga’s afflictive, abrasive, autotuned singing. In what can only be described as a pathetic imitation of 808s and Heartbreak, I fail to sympathise with anything Tyga says while assaulted by a cacophony of dreadful sounds. As per usual, ‘Down For A Min’ gets progressively worse, culminating in a garbled, robotic, Siri-esque rendition of loving words of countenance, presumably from his girlfriend. Many consider the Kardashians painful to listen to, but in truth, even that would be preferable to this. 0/10
‘Pure Luxury’ commences with a struggle-rap beat, as Tyga comes out saying he’d rather kill himself than get tangled up in the drama surrounding him. Okay, maybe don’t diss Drake throughout your entire album then? There’s not much to dwell on here, ‘Pure Luxury’ is a collection of dire, turgid raps that sound like they’re being read off a teleprompter. That all changes, however, when he references one of Nas’ least tasteful lines:
And that’s pure like virgin blood mixed with 1-51 one sip
Make a nigga flip, I ain’t tripping off shit
Something like virgin blood that’s pure and she screaming out “It’s yours”
Then it’s just back to lyrical lethargy. What follows in the outro is an anecdote, presumably Tyga’s own, about his first luxury purchase, a Rolex watch. Heartwarming, I’m sure you’ll have no doubts. However, it’s read in a poorly-imitated faux British accent. Why? That somewhat-simple question appears to be a recurring one for me. 0/10
I actually liked ‘Wham’. Clearly an ignorant song, it gets close to reaching the potential that formula offers up. A weird, minimal beat brings an intriguing listening experience to the table, and Tyga’s flow is less boring than it is anywhere else on the album. Of course though, the sad reality sets in again when you begin to comprehend the lyrics and their message, and true to tradition, the outro is this song’s downfall:
Yeah, you now listenin to the sounds of T-Y-G, if you don’t like what you hear, sit back and shut the fuck up.
Oh yeah, and have a nice day.
It’s literally inconceivable that that outro could sound cool, and it ruins the song for good measure. ‘Wham, however, is the only song on this album I can envision getting played in the club, something weird when one considers how successful a formula that has been for Tyga, and that recent (and fairly good) releases such as ’40 Mill’ and ‘Hookah’ are nowhere to be found on this album. 3/10
‘Pleazer’ caused more controversy than most songs on this album. Despite Tyga clearing this problem up by saying the song is two years old and that if made now “it would be way more special and classier”, the songs lyrics were considered filthy and discomfiting by news outlets and listeners alike. It begins by criticising fake bodies as well as fake designer clothes, highly ironic given that his new girlfriend has fake lips. There’s so much to say about this track that it would be overkill to detail everything wrong with it, so I’m just going to link the Rap Genius lyrics instead. It’s not hard to deduce what’s wrong with this track. Its lyrics are deeply misogynistic, sexist and chauvinistic, in addition to being morally reprehensible and borderline-paedophilic given his current relationship. Despite his claims that this was written about his previous girlfriend, Boosie’s guest first is nothing if not recent, given that he mentions “Kardashian pussy”. This song would already be vile even if it were written about the the most floozy of women, but the fact that it exists on this particular album in 2015 means Tyga should probably be on a register somewhere. A personal favourite has to be “T-Nasty, ’bout to catch a felony for it”. That statement may prove to be more realistic than Tyga originally-envisioned. 0/10
‘Hollywood Niggaz’ has been slated the worst song on the album by many critics, and I can see where they’re coming from. A cringeworthy pre-hook builds to a first verse comprised of pathetic Drake disses, boasts about money, and rape threats.
Don’t leave your bitch alone in the room with me
Tying rope or comatose her in a coma homie
I sit here incredulous, because that isn’t even the worst part of the song. That’s the hook. Tyga then goes on to say in the second verse that he “don’t drive no Honda nigga, only fuck with foreign whips”, oblivious to the widely-known fact that Hondas are indeed from a foreign country, and reminiscent of his automotive mistake in ‘Spitfire’, a charming meta-reference. This song is distilled awfulness, a veritable sonic bowel movement. 0/10
The Lil Wayne-assisted ‘4 My Dawgs’ perplexes like no other. Succeeding a weird intro (sampling ‘Cry Little Sister’ by Gerard McCann), Wayne sings the hook. Now, this is an artist notorious at the moment for his hit-and-miss features, and I’m afraid on this occasion, it’s the latter. This hook sounds more like I Am Not A Human Being II-era Wayne than anything else, something that fails to correlate with his disses towards Birdman on this track (“Fuck you pay me”), a more recent development in itself. It’s utterly absonous, and only gets worse throughout the song as Wayne delivers it more vociferously time and time again. To be sure, it’s rivalled for awfulness by Tyga’s verses, which are also rendered in garbled autotune, leaving them platitudinous and monotone. The instrumental on ‘4 My Dawgz’ is deeply redolent of 1980s power-ballads, further ensuring any listener is put to sleep, only to be awoken intermittently by Wayne’s embarrassing bouts of artistic pain and aggression. 0/10
‘Bloodline’ closes this album in a flurry of drums and beat switches that are nothing if not imitations of Drake and Kanye West songs. A song about doing all he does for his family, Tyga comes out with a barnstorming first verse (relatively-speaking), a welcome change from his 20bpm congested swag raps that permeate this project. Of course, he says nothing of value in the first verse, and the song’s only redeemable element is thus sullied. Tyga fails to adapt to the second beat on this song, a simple drum-roll, sounding out of place and off-rhythm in addition to his failure to say anything relevant or important, which, let’s face it, is unacceptable. A fitting end to this album. 1/10
With the notable exceptions of DJ Mustard and Young Thug, Tyga’s greatest successes are almost always owed in part to a more famous friend or collaborator. It’s been proved time and time again, by Travie McCoy, Lil Wayne, Drake, and Chris Brown. However, The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty proves that even with a cosine from Kanye and the Kardashians, Tyga still fails to function, this time going off on a truly horrendous tangent. The man catches L’s like Ash Ketchum catches Pokémon. Upon reflection, it’s no wonder this album made less money than Kylie Jenner makes per Instagram post.
This album gets a 0.7/10 for its efforts.
Best Tracks: Boosie’s verse might be considered funny by his fans.
Worst Tracks: Spitfire, Muh Fucka, Shaka Zulu, God Talk, Hard For You, Down For A Min, Pure Luxury, Wham, Pleazer, Hollywood Niggaz, 4 My Dawgs, Bloodline.