Brazy Good: YG’s “Still Brazy” – A Review
As YG accurately stated on his G-Funk hit “Twist My Fingaz”, he’s the only one to make it out of the West without Dr. Dre. Had to think about for a second, and it turns out that he’s spot on. To me, what’s even more surprising is how the Bompton native has come to curate some of the most engaging rap records of the last few years (Quick note: YG is a Blood member of the 400 Tree Top Pirus, and Bloods have the tendency of switching the letter C to a B at times. Hence: Compton/Bompton and Crazy/Brazy. He even has a song on his album titled,”Bool, Balm & Bollective”).
It’s surprising because I know him as the “Toot It and Boot It” guy. These days, he’s doing political rap exemplified by the anti-Trump record “Fdt”, which motivated the police to attempt shutting down the production of the video once they got wind of the filming.
In 2014, he released one of the year’s best records with My Krazy Life, a stellar, beautifully sequenced and interwoven album with tracks that bang (“My Nigga”, “Who Do You Love”) and tracks that are more instrospective (“Really Be”, “Sorry Momma”). At first, I was looking for an album filled with party joints, because that’s the type of artist I expected YG to be. But as people kept praising his work, I had to go back to it to see how astute and careful YG is as an artist. With the bulk of the production done by hit-maker, DJ Mustard, it helped My Krazy Life reach certified gold by RIAA standards.
You could tell YG wanted to hit it out of the park with his debut, and he succeeded. But with his sophomore effort, Still Brazy, he somehow suffers no slump with another cohesive collection of West Coast-loaded sound. About a year ago, YG was shot at a recording studio shortly after his daughter was born. The shooting predictably had an affect on him, as he even sought out therapy to deal with the incident.
That also lead him to compose a compelling reactionary record with Still Brazy. On the album, he did a clever Biggie-flip by naming the song where he raps about the shooting, “Who Shot Me?”, and discusses the paranoia that stemmed from the shooting to who he can trust on the title track. He sprinkles mentions of the shooting throughout the album, even on the feel-good “Twist My Fingaz”, my favourite cut off the album, as he says in the chorus,”You shoulda seen how a nigga pulled up in a ride […] Got two muhfuckas wanna fight me outside”.
DJ Mustard is absent here, but the production is never lacking thanks to producers Terrace Martin, DJ Swish, and Hit-Boy among others. The beats boom with tracks like “Gimmie Got Shot”, where YG raps about people always asking him for favours, and “Why You Always Hatin?” featuring Drake and Kamaiyah, where both YG and Drizzy rap about why people hate on their success. The puzzling “She Wish She Was” will have people decrying about sexism, as YG talks about how girls are hoes for creeping with other dudes and not staying home with their babies. YG and his homies brag about fucking other girls and having side-chicks, but apparently girls can’t have side-dick. YG’s guest, Jay 305, gives his take on the matters by exclaiming,”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”. Lol, aight then. YG did go on to say that both sexes should do better and that some female rappers should do a remix to the song.
Still Brazy covers the Cali Rap sound effectively, with inspirations from DJ Quik to Tha Dogg Pound. It’s lighter on club hits, littered with repetitive, catchy choruses, and heavy with content from “Don’t Come To LA” where YG dishes about his anger about out of town people “reppin'” when they’re not actually about that life, to “Blacks & Browns” where he and Sad Boy talk about the discrimination African-Americans and Hispanics face on a daily basis.
The excellent record closes with Hit-Boy’s “Police Get Away Wit Murder”, expressing his anger at the system that lets police officers walk away damn near scot free after killing civilians who are innocent/unarmed. The song ends with, "And they wonder why I live life looking over my shoulder”, alluding to the cool, yet eerie album cover. Considering that YG survived a shooting, walked out of the hospital the same night, that he’s still looking to see who was after him, who he can trust, how to duck the Gimmies, how to not get killed by the police or by his own people, it’s no wonder why he’s so brazy.
written by The W