Tribute to TRUE Magazine’s Straight West Costin’ Theme: Game, YG, Tyga
This is TRUE Magazines 16th year on delivering Hip Hop to our readers. We have had over 1000 plus indie artists in our pages and can tell you somethings about Hip Hop that you wouldn’t believe. Our themed issues have been the best thing for TRUE Magazine. It gives our readers a view of what we are focusing on and what to expect. Straight West Coastin is definitely a winner giving the West Coast a voice to the masses. So below we take a couple of Digital issues from that theme to give you a reminder of where the West was in Hip Hop.
TYGA: THE NEW WEST COAST GENERAL – TRUE Magazine Issue #67
Close to the end of his nationwide “Careless World” tour and promoting the numberone album at the same name, Tyga is the most recent Young Money artist to reach the top of the charts and captivate hip-hop fans both across the United States and the world. The Compton-born rapper’s mega-hit “Rack City,” which was produced by DJ Mustard who is also on tour with him, earned Tyga his first solo top-ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. His appearance on the official remix of Drake’s “The Motto” has solidified his spot as a chart-topper and integral part of the Young Money clique. During the Dallas stop of his tour, the 22- year-old rapper took a moment to speak with True Magazine about how he has gotten to where he’s at in his career, his tour and about his recent successes and future plans. He may be young, but Tyga is no newcomer to the hip-hop game. “I’ve been rapping since I was like 12 or 13,” he explains.
“Being the only child you kind of keep to yourself a lot. music was like the only thing that kept me company.”
Rapping transitioned from hobby to career after a chance run-in with Gym Class Heroes front man Travis McCoy at Los Angeles shoe store Flight Club changed his life. “We started talking about music and I got enough courage to give him my little mixtape,” Tyga says. “He was telling me all this stuff he was doing with his band and I thought he was just lying to seem cool. Then one day I saw him on MTV, then I started hitting him up on AIM non-stop!” he says with a chuckle. A second pivotal moment that would change Tyga’s life came during the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. The night before the show, Tygafound out that he would be performing the “Arms Race” remix with Fall Out Boy alongside Travis and Lil’ Wayne. After witnessing Tyga’s first nationally broadcast performance – which he had had one night to prepare for – Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and Lil’ Wayne took notice. It was this night that would lead to Tyga releasing his debut album, No Introduction, as a joint venture between Wentz’s label Decaydance and McCoy’s label Bad Squad, and to him joining Lil’ Wayne in the studio to record verses for his highly-anticipated album, Tha Carter 3. Wayne, who became not only a mentor but a friend to the rapper, has influenced him in more ways than one even playing an integral part first handedly in an area very personal to Tyga; tattooing. It is no secret that Tyga is a huge fan of the art as can be seen by the collage on his body. With Lil Wane doing a little dabbling in the profession himself, Tyga allowed the hip hop heavy weight to create his own art on the rapper’s face in the form of three dots. Wayne tatted the three dots near Tyga’s eye explaining that the meaning was not the same as the “crazy life” definition most would associate it with. The three dots actually mean “laugh, think, cry” which symbolizes the way you can transfer your emotions from one end of the spectrum to the opposite end. Tyga’s tattoos are described by him as a mural of different images each with their own solid meaning. They all remind him of a memory, a specific moment in his life.
With the direction his life is headed right now, there may not be enough room on his inked up frame for all of the memorable moments already accomplished and to come because for Tyga, popularity and business opportunities seem to keep knocking at his door. The positive response he received from fans off of his first single “Coconut Juice” opened many doors for Tyga, including the opportunity to work on a mixtape with Chris Brown. Fan of a Fan was released in May 2010 and spurred the platinum selling single “Deuces,” which earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. This was the song that catapulted him to the next level. Fast-forward to 2012, and Tyga is living out his dreams, including working with one of his biggest musical influences. “I worked with Busta a few times, he is actually on the album,” he says. 2012 has also brought him to another level in the fashion world with his own personal clothing line, Last Kings, partnering with Reebok on a seven figure deal to customize his own shoe. The Young Money artist not only shoots music videos now but commercials as well to help promote the upcoming shoe line. With it only being the end of April, 2012 has already brought much success to the young entertainer including countless sold out shows for his first headlining world tour. Despite all of his success, Tyga remains humble. When asked if he had imagined “Rack City” would blow up like it did he responded, “Not exactly. I definitely knew it would blow up in LA cause of the kind of sound that it has [but] I didn’t think I was going to go worldwide like it did. I appreciate it though.” Regarding his tour, he states, “It’s good, working hard. I’ve had about 40-something shows in a row, two weeks to go after this show and then I will start overseas.” The first stop of his show across the waters will be in Germany in the beginning of May. On the fan’s reactions on tour Tyga says, “Some of these cities I had never been to so the energy is always great. Every region has a different sound of music, so it’s dope that they still rock to my sound just as hard as the West Coast does.” Some of his favorite cities to perform have been “The Bay, like Frisco. Actually New York, Milwaukee, Miami was cool.” And on the songs that make the audience go crazy, “I mean everything but of course when I do like “Rack City,” “Faded,” “Motto,” and I get into that whole sound they go crazy, but energy is like the same throughout the whole show,” shares Tyga. If the crowd’s reaction to Tyga’s live shows is any clue, he will definitely be around for a long time to come.
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GAME THE NEW GOD FLOW – TRUE Magazine Issue #70
“I almost fell asleep putting my kids to bed. That’s why I was late,” Game explains sitting down in a North Hollywood recording studio for a TRUE exclusive. His opulent diamond encrusted Jesus piece is wearing its own miniature version of itself. One might find his adornment of religious symbols out of place or even hypocritical. Game’s affiliation with the notorious Bloods, his history of drug dealing and his physical altercations with other rappers – including a fight with 40 Glocc he filmed on his phone and posted online – have landed him among several criminalizing headlines comparable to the likes of Frank White. Similar to White, his attempts to do good and lead a peaceful life go unnoticed, and he is often caught in the midst of confrontation. “I just be chillin’. These problems sort of find their way right up on me, and I sort of just have to deal with them consciously and wisely,” the 32-year-old rapper says. Speaking as a proud dad, Game’s eyes light up when he converses about his two-year-old daughter, Cali Dream, and two sons, Harlem Caron, 9, and King Justice, 5. The loving and nurturing father is now ready to be a soon-to-be ideal husband to Tiffney Cambridge, his girlfriend of eight years. After proposing to the elementary school teacher, the couple called off their wedding multiple times, but Game finally feels ready to make the long-term commitment. “You can either make the conscious decision to settle down and handle your business, or you can still do the same dumb shit you was doing when you was 20, but you just wasting time basically,” he asserts. Last year, Game was baptized at City of Refuge Church in Gardena, and he expresses that the sacrament has deepened his relationship with God. “I was baptized as a kid, but ever since then, I kinda wilded out and did a bunch of crazy shit, but being baptized has made me feel a little bit closer to Jesus Christ and my religion.” Nevertheless, he takes a “don’t judge me” approach to find a balance between church attendance, chronic smoking and strip club visits. His new VH1 reality show, Marrying the Game, will document his efforts to lead a wholesome life as family man while also dedicating time to the other love in his life – Hip Hop.
As a child, Jayceon Taylor grew up in several foster homes due to his parents’ involvement with dealing and doing drugs. His high school years were filled with gang-related rivalries at Compton High School where the predominantly Crip population clashed with his connections to the Cedar Block Primu Bloods. Due to dealing drugs on campus, the six-foot-four basketball star lost his basketball scholarship to Washington State, and he continued living a life of crime until he was shot five times in 2001 during a drug deal gone awry. When he awoke from a three-day coma, he had an epiphany and made the decision to focus on music to escape from the hood. Set on studying classic Hip Hop albums like Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, Dr. Dre’s Chronic, 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me and Nas’ Illmatic, Game developed his style. His grandmother (who described him as game for anything) blessed him with his moniker, and he established his own label, Black Wall Street Records. His mixtapes caught the attention of Diddy, but it was Dr. Dre who became his mentor and signed him to his Aftermath roster in 2003. In 2005, his widely praised debut album, The Documentary, not only topped the charts, but its success became highly responsible for reviving West Coast Hip Hop, which had been dominated by East Coast, Southern and Midwest rappers. Since his debut, Game remains one of the best-selling artists on the West, and all of his albums including Doctor’s Advocate and The R.E.D. Album have debuted on the Billboard charts at #1 with the exception of one. The multiplatinum artist has crucially paved the way for other currently popular Los Angeles acts like Dom Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar’s Black Hippy imprint and the Odd Future camp. His last album on Interscope has got him weighing his many career options. “People calling hinting around,” he states, and he mentions the possibility of a transition over to Cash Money or Maybach Music Group. Now ready to drop his fifth album, Jesus Piece, Game has already got the streets talking with his controversial stained glass cover featuring a Black Jesus wearing a red bandana across his face and ornate gold jewelry. Due out December 11, his first concept album was formerly titled F.I.V.E.: Fear Is Victory’s Evolution until Kanye West influenced its new theme and direction. Its features include Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, Scarface, DJ Premier and Master P. The first single “Celebration” featuring Lil’ Wayne, Chris Brown, Tyga and Wiz Khalifa samples Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s classic “1st of the Month.” Though the group often views most uses of their tracks as disrespectful, they commended Game’s usage of the song and appear on its remix. Holding the West Coast on his back and “LA” inked on the right side of his face, Game believes he deserves the utmost respect from upcoming rappers. With a spiritually new mindset, he does his best to keep to himself. “I don’t know why I’m the *igga *iggas always wanna try. I don’t know. I try to make better decisions, you know, on how to stray away from drama and all of that, but if it’s right in my face, I’ma defend my honor, and I’m probably gonna win every time,” the heavily tattooed MC declares sternly True to California style, Game is rocking a white tee paired with crisp khakis and red Nikes. Cameras flash as we speak amongst the soundboards, and his charming personality and good sense of humor shine through as he replies to my questions with a pleasant and laid-back demeanor. He engages me in conversation as we discuss his show Marrying the Game and how his perception of religion has evolved as he readies to drop another sure-to-be lucrative album. How did the “Celebration” collaboration come about? Basically, Sap did the beat – one of our young producers. Cool and Dre tightened it up and once they played it for me, I already knew what it was. We’d been tryin to flip that “1st of the Month” beat since, like, my first album. Me and Cool and Dre. We finally did it, so I took it over to Record Plant and played it for Chris (Brown). I told him what to do, and he killed it. I sent it to Tune. He loved it, so he killed it. One night I was in the studio working with Tyga and played it for him. He jumped on. Then I was working with Wiz, and there wasn’t no more room on the record, but Wiz was like, “I gotta be on this shit,” so he found a little space, and he jumped in it. Pretty much just happened with me just calling my homies and letting ‘em know I needed them on the record. It was pretty much that simple. You’re a big bTNH fan. What was it about “1st of the Month” in particular that made you want to sample it so badly? You know, I just always felt like I could flip it, you know what I’m sayin? It’s like when you grow up, and you learn classic music, and you’re a fan, you always flip the words sometimes when you playin’. I always wished instead of them sayin’ “1st of the Month,” I wish they said, “Put the purp in the blunt,” so I flipped it like that. Pretty much that was it. I just love that beat. It was that and “Thuggish Ruggish Bone.” My two favorites as far as mainstream Bone goes. As far as album cuts “Mr. Ouija” was my favorite record. Now they my homies, but growing up, they were everything. How did you get bone on it? Just LA. Pretty much just growing up in this Hip Hop shit. You come across everybody. I ran into Bone early on in my career. You know, they’re managed by Steve Lobel, a good friend of mine. Ever since then, me and Bone been tight. You were baptized last year. How has your perception of religion changed? Getting baptized ain’t do nothing but really make it official for me as an adult. I ain’t no Pastor Mase. Like, I love God, but if a *igga out of line, I’ma bust him in his face. If I wanna go to the strip club, I’ma do that. If I wanna smoke weed, I’ma smoke weed. I feel like I can do all the things I wanna do without being criticized, you know?
How is this album different than The R.E.D. album? You know, as an MC, man, with age, comes wisdom. As an artist, once you get comfortable, you start to grow. I don’t feel like I’ve reached my peak yet. I feel like I’m still on the way up. I’m still a student of Hip Hop. I’m still learning. This my fifth album. People don’t even get five albums, and I feel like everything happened so fast. The last seven years flew by, and I’m just going, man. Tryin’ to be the best that I can be. You called it Jesus Piece because Kanye inspired the album a lot,right? I had a title track On the album that was supposed to be called “Jesus piece ” With Kanye on it, so once I scrapped that album I Just Figured, Why not Stay With the track that i Love the most and Just call it that? Once i did that in Like two Or three weeks, a whole new album had been formatted. I just felt comfortable running With that. Is he on this album a lot? He’s just on one or two songs. This is your last album with Interscope Records. Where do you plan on going from here? I don’t know. Everybody’s asking. I be getting phone calls. Everybody from…just hollerin’ at Cash Money and choppin’ it up with (Rick) Ross. We’ll see, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m definitely, at this point, you know, I gotta big team and a bunch of kids. I gotta family to take care of, so I’ma just do whoever got that money and that net. We gonna count that shit. We gonna count it down and count it up. See what it do .
Can you elaborate on the concept of your new album Jesus Piece? What does it symbolize? It’s basically…you believe in Jesus, right? Of course. Right. You in church every Sunday? Try to be. Are you? Nah. Not all the time. Well, then you understand the concept. It’s basically about having a love for God like we all do, but not wanting to be judged and criticized. Your relationship with God is your relationship with God. It’s between y’all two, and not to be judged by nobody on the outside. On the same token, *iggas walking around with Jesus pieces will go and spend fifteen or twenty thousand on a Jesus piece, but *iggas don’t go to church, and if they do go to church, they won’t put a dollar in the collection plate. It’s a constant struggle, battle between the streets and religion. Musically, it’s incredible. Lyrically, I think I’m the best that I’ve pretty much ever been all my career. I’ve got a lot of dope MCs and singers on the album that make it all make sense collectively at the end of the day. You’ve proposed to Tiffney Cambridge a few times. Do you find it difficult to settle down? I think it comes with age and as your kids get older and you start to get into soccer practice and basketball games and homework and baths, and “daddy this” and daddy that,” it settles you down whether you ready for it or not. Can you tell me about Marrying the Game – the VH1 show coming out? It’s just a show based on the reality of my everyday life which I think everybody will be surprised to see. I think a lot of people might think of Game and might think that I’m in Compton selling crack or doing drivebys, but really I gotta family, and I be at home kickin’ it. I still be in the streets. I was just in the hood earlier today choppin’ it up with my brother and chillin’. It’s basically just my reality. It airs on November 19. Everybody will be able to see what it’s about, but I think it’s a good watch. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time with your family? Just that. Just kickin’ it with my kids. My family. Just being in the house. Just Chillin’, Man. Just being there. it’s a bunch of love, and it’s cool. at the end of the day, When you walk in the house from the outside in this cold world, you go in. it’s your comfort zone. You feel warm. You know, you get the “daddies” and you get the love and you get the hugs and kisses and the food. You feel love. You feel wanted, and that’s home. Home is where the heart is. That’s what they say. How you did you link up with R-Mean for “Lost Angels?” My little homie Cash brought R
Mean around, and I liked him, so I did a song with him. I didn’t charge him or nothin’. I just did it ‘cause I liked him. He’s a cool guy. We actually did it awhile ago. He must have sat on it and held it till it was the right time, but I feel like when he dropped it, it was a cool time for him ‘cause he got a lot of notoriety. Armenians is like Black people anyway. They be doing some shit. I don’t know how they all get Lambos. Every Armenian *igga I know got a Lambo. It’s crazy. Armenians getting’ money, man. I never see them *iggas go to work either. All they do is go to church in all black. They never go anywhere. They all be outside talkin’ like all day and never go in. That’s it, but I fuck with the Armenians, man. What’s in store for the rest of the year and early 2012? For the rest of the year? Shit, man, I’m really just gonna focus on the rest of my album. Make sure that everybody in the world know it’s coming and what the caliber of music is on it. Just finishing that. Finishing the project and working on this new label situation I’m trying to configure with Stat (Quo). That’s it. Gotta couple artists I’m excited about. Just working, you know what I’m saying?
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YG SHOWS YOU WHAT THIS WEST COAST IS ABOUT – TRUE Magazine Issue #76
Compton native YG is unarguably killing the game right now by rising to the forefront of West Coast hip hop. Collaborating with hit producer DJ Mustard, the duo is responsible for the wave of that “turn up” music, which involves club bangers and that ever so popular “ratchet” sound. With his breakthrough single “Toot It and Boot It” featuring Ty Dolla $ign back in 2010, YG has finally left his mark. With the release of his debut album My Krazy Life, YG proves he is here to stay.
24 year old Keenon Jackson, born and raised in Cali, goes by the stage name YG, which stands for Young Gangsta. His biggest musical influences growing up include Lil Wayne, Dr. Dre, and Tupac. In an exclusive interview with True Magazine, we sit with the Los Angeles native to discuss his new album and his thoughts on the current hip hop scene of the West Coast. We asked YG how he got into music, and he hit us with “somebody made a diss record, and I dissed them back.” This short one line response is a perfect indication of how growing up in the streets affected his music and career as an artist. Sharing this hometown with some of hip hop’s greatest such as Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Quik, and Kendrick Lamar, YG does not hesitate to address the real life struggles he faced. With his dad getting locked up at the age of 15, YG turned to the streets, heading down a path of gangbanging, violence, and even jail. “I mean it made me who I am,” YG states. “I did the shit I did. That’s why I have the record I made. So I don’t think if I was like how I was, I probably wouldn’t be a rapper, because I probably wouldn’t have nothing to rap about.” This leads to the main topic of discussion: the release of his debut album, My Krazy Life, which is undoubtedly a monumental step in his career. With many mixtapes under his belt, including “Fo Hunnid Degreez,” “Just Re’d Up,” and “Just Re’d Up 2,” we asked YG what his favorite project was. Without hesitation and an approximate 0.5 second response time, he answers “My Krazy Life.” He claims, “That’s real shit. And I’m not just saying that to promote.” The passion and excitement that comes from the young emcee in his reactions only solidifies the quality and success we can expect from his new album. “You can expect a lot of fast pace shit going on. A
story line. A lot of hits. It’s a good body of work. It’s different from the mixtapes.
It’s my best body of work.” What most people may not know is that the project was originally titled “I’m 4rm Bomptom.” However, Young Jeezy, who executive produced the album, was not pleased. He felt with the original title, the whole world would not support it. Did YG want a certain type of people as his audience or the whole world? YG wanted the whole world. He eventually agreed and changed the title to “My Krazy Life.” He admitted he liked that concept more, claiming “It’s everything. The album is crazy. It’s me.” We asked the significance behind spelling “krazy” with a k over a c. His response was simply: “I change c’s to k’s. It’s just k. That’s what I do. I just do that.” Good to know. With the content of YG’s lyrics being comprised of repeated drugs, sex, and violence, a concern arises regarding the age group of those who are exposed to his music. We asked how he felt about kids, specifically the younger teens, listening to his music. “I be seeing little kids rapping my shit- little girls. I be like ‘damn this shit is crazy.’ It’s like… I don’t know man. It’s good and it’s bad. Because you can lead these kids in the wrong direction. But at the same time, I ain’t the only one making music like that. Everybody rap about sex and all this shit.” In his defense, YG says he’s been doing stuff for the kids on the side, which is evident in his actions. “I’m involved in a lot of charity events. On Christmas, I took 16 underprivileged kids shopping in the mall. I spent like 200 dollars on each kid. It was in Los Angeles county. I do my lil shit on the side.” YG’s recent single “My Niggaz” hit number 19 on the Billboard hot 100. We asked YG what it’s like hearing his music constantly being played at all hottest nightclubs across Los Angeles. His response again reflects the drive and passion he has for making the type of music he does.
“I love it. I already been out, It feels good to sell a platinum record. That’s what you in it for what you doing music. You want to make music you love making. And you want to see people that support your shit, fuck with your shit. At the same time, you want platinum records and Grammy’s and all that good shit. Ya feel me? It’s weird. A lot of niggas get a platinum record and may be gone tomorrow. Nobody know who they is.”
Speaking of the Grammys, there was much stir and controversy regarding who deserved the spot of best rap album. It seemed a lot of people did not agree that Macklemore’s The Heist outdid Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. YG was one of those people, and felt strongly about the matter. “I was mad. Kendrick had the best rap album. I fuck with him. Hip hop ain’t no subject matter. I know Macklemore, his music. He wasn’t rapping about no street shit. Like hip hop is from the streets. That’s where it came from. When you put shit in that category, you feel me, it’s supposed to be real rap shit, hip hop, street shit. I ain’t heard Macklemore’s album, but I know he wasn’t talking about no street shit. So for Kendrick not to win, that is fucked up.” Next, YG addresses what it’s like being one of the faces representing West Coast hip hop, with artists such as Kendrick, DJ Mustard, Ty Dolla $ign, Nipsey Hussle, and Dom Kennedy right by his side.
“We painting a picture for everybody. We motivating everybody. I’m out here getting money, motivating everybody out here to do something positive. Even though there’s negative shit going on on the side. We just leading the people. To do that, fuck the face. I feel like if you put in work, do what you supposed to do, how it supposed to be done, it’s gonna be the face of the West Coast in itself. It feels good, to be a nigga that these people be listening to. And you can say something and do something that’s powerful.” Turning the tables, aside from the music business, YG has also taken on the role of an actor. In 2012, he played the supporting role in a film with Snoop Dogg called We The Party.
“My acting career, I feel like… I’ma do a lot of movies. Yeah. I’ma go wherever that takes me. The rap shit come first, period. The movie shit come second. That shit easy though. I got all types of movie shit going on,” YG says. Tell that to the swarm of aspiring actors and actresses in the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area and see what they say.
We then asked YG where he liked to party, and he names two of Hollywood’s hottest nightclubs currently. “Around the streets, we be doing nothing. I be in the streets. Only when I start to turn up… I just be outside. When we party, we go to Hollywood. Supperclub, Greystone, all that good shit.” Besides the music, the acting, and the partying, YG enjoys football and basketball. He says he is a die hard Michael Jordan fan. With the false assumption of the Los Angeles native being a Lakers fan, YG quickly responds, “I been fucking with OKC since 2007. James Harden and all them niggas from LA. Westbrook. We all fam. To see them go to the NBA and start doing they shit, it made me become a fan.” Back to music, YG’s most recent single is a collaboration with Drake, “Who Do You Love?” off of My Krazy Life. With the video dropping shortly after, YG describes working with Drake as a crazy experience. We then asked if there were any artists he would like to work with in the future. “No, I’m good. I collab-ed with everybody I wanted to already. I’ma just collab with the people I have. I’ma collab with them again.”
We also inquired about YG’s entourage, as it seems he is always traveling in a herd of 10+ people. When asked if he was ever alone, he responded, “Yeah, at the crib, I’m chillin alone pretty much. In the studio, when I’m really working on something, I’m by myself. I can’t have all the homies around. I get distracted.”
All in all, it seems YG has successfully and strategically lured us in with his undeniably catching beats and ratchet club bangers. Now that he has our attention, he is able to hit us with some of his realest struggles on the streets, aka his “Krazy Life.” He promotes the album by setting out on his first headliner tour, kicking off in Syracuse and hitting 30 different spots before rapping it up in San Diego. His second to last stop took place in his hometown of Los Angeles, at the House of Blues on Sunset. Eager fans continue to wait as DJ Mustard hits the turntables for a short run. As YG enters, you notice the stage is theatrical and reminiscent of his childhood and hometown. Running through the tracks on the album, the crowd loved it. Guest appearances included Terrace Martin on the saxophone during “Dear Momma,” Ty Dollar $ign performing hit single “Paranoid,” and Travis Barker on the drums for “My Nigga.” The crowd ate it up.
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