Review Summary: With infectuous hooks, catchy beats, and a hungry flow, Tyga proves unfortunately, that still isn't enough.
Tyga has achieved a legendary reputation due to the rapid success of "Rack City." Legendary in the sense that everyone and their grandma has heard "Rack City." Your average music listeners or amateur critics will groan at the mention of anyone associated with YMCMB, aside from Drake. The prospect of reviewing a Tyga album is difficult. If you, the reviewer, dislike the album, you'll be accused of being a hipster who's incapable of enjoying a catchy hook or infectious beat, which is mostly his trademark. If you like the album, you'll have the amateurs shouting he's the worst rapper to ever live, and you're not a true hip-hop fan. "Careless World" was average at best, although I really do enjoy "Rack City," and "Faded" which are, in the context of rap music, easy listening. I don't particularly mind rappers or musicians of Tyga's ilk, even if you're an average lyricist, if you carry interesting and enjoyable production, that's enough for me to possibly give your work more than a single listen. Is "Hotel California" worth a spin? Tyga has basically taken simplistic, snare and synth driven beats and talked about how he's either going to get drunk, high, pop a molly, or *** your bitch. Any tracks that delve into other subject matter are Tyga out of his comfort zone, which makes him sound strained. Like a try hard. And he's at his best when he spits reckless braggadocio and cheesy punchlines. This album tries to establish itself as the definitive spring release, and at times it hits the reckless, yet enjoyable sound casual fans are looking for, while other times it misses the mark by throwing out thought provoking cuts. But you can't handle philosophical or emotional themes if you're an idiot.
The lyrics on the album are simplistic and average at best. Mostly, Tyga is throwing out hashtag rap, which is a colloquialism for artists too lazy to produce complex metaphors or even a simplistic simile. An example is "All I do is chop, butcher shop." from the track "500 Degrees." This is just a random excerpt to demonstrate the YMCMB trademark. You could say that a lady "grasps her finger on my gold/slowly takes a twist/Twista out the game because he ain't got what's on my wrist." Instead of those like Lil' Wayne and Drake who elect for the classic killer line "I'm twisted, doorknob." So, what's the current YMCMB business plan? Just write a bunch of random rhyming words, squeeze them into a short rap, have DJ Mustard hit you with a simple track and that's your main single? It's not difficult to write some more complex or interesting lines, I have a five-year old cousin who can write poems in about two minutes that are superior to your five minute tracks. If you have a dedicated fanbase, it's morally right to give them material you feel is your best work. If an artist releases work this lyrically simplistic or idiotic, and they don't feel it's their best work, that's morally wrong. If they feel it is their best work, then they should admit they are terrible musicians and not the "best rappers alive." Either demonstrate you're worth my time, or admit you aren't, Tyga.
I enjoy the production on the album a lot. It's never overwhelmingly enjoyable, but almost every beat on "Hotel California" is worth a head nod. "500 Degrees", "Dope", "Get Loose", and "Molly" are not only standouts of the album, they represent some of the better instrumental work of 2013. And most of the choices fit Tyga's flow and style of rapping. The synths and snares almost meld with Tyga's rapping to make some perfect anthems for those wishing to cruise around and rap along, strip clubs, and any other situation where Tyga would be appropriate. There isn't another "Rack City" present on the album, but the tracks I've mentioned actually come pretty close.
Tyga's flow is insane on "Hotel California," even though his lyrics may be sub-par. With the thumping, infectious production, he pulls through to give almost every track a sense of "can't touch this" bravada and confidence that isn't believable in Drake, or even Lil' Wayne these days. While most mainstream club rappers often sound insincere when they spit a track about getting money, stealing your girl, or anything of that nature, they sound insincere or bored. Tyga manages to keep up the in-the-moment enthusiasm and almost angry arrogance that makes this album worth being released. To conclude, although this is an appropriation of hashtag rap and unclever lyricism, the insanely hard-hitting simple beats and quality braggiodocio on this work, although getting a bit stagnant, still maintains a sense of artistic integrity. Therh's absolutely nothing here that makes me want to be a serious Tyga fan, but there's still enough for me to be interested in his future projects and hope that he can ascend to something greater. He's got the talent, he just needs to appeal to a slightly more intelligent audience.
Tracks to avoid:
For the Road