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Admit it. You weren’t really expecting much from an artist like YG. Actually, I don’t blame you, but that’s only considering that we’ve been bombarded with new music in the past few months that just wasn’t memorable. But these days, you’d be a fool not to notice LA wants our undivided attention, as they do every couple of years. Kendrick Lamar helped carry the torch before passing it on, but more importantly a void continues to be filled by west coast rappers. YG’s My Krazy Life is a rough around the edges, grittier version of K Dot’s debut. Unraveling his tales from the hood relentlessly.

With 90% of the production handled by DJ Mustard, the duo have surprisingly good chemistry as evident on the single “Left, Right.” Even though the DJ is a hot commodity at the moment, his signature sound doesn’t find itself going dull on the disc. Instead, if anything, YG helps heighten it. You’ll notice the Compton MC takes on the task of using his debut to tell a front to back story, and for the most part it’s a home run. Every track seamlessly transitions into the next, making it that much easier to embrace. “Bicken Back Being Bool” has a crystal clear influence from early Snoop Dogg work. But the transition it makes into “Meet the Flockers,” a song where he walks us through how to properly rob someone’s house, is a highlight. “F*ck that laptop go and get the jewelry box” as he schools us, but you don’t have to intend on robbing someone to be intrigued by the listening.

Initially, I wasn’t too interested to indulge in YG’s debut after hearing his first single “My Nigga,” but the music geek in me gave in. The song ends up propelling the album and it’s story, before taking us into the softer piano-driven “Do It to Ya.” Laced with an enthralling chorus from Cali Native TeeFlii, it serves as just the tip of the iceberg. YG walks us through the intimate times with his side chick, before getting the call that his main girl is cheating on him too. Even though it can be viewed as bad karma, that doesn’t stop him from detailing his heartache on the spiteful “Me and My Bitch.” “She f*cked a nigga I knew ain’t really fucked with his crew/ I did a song with his brother and she fucked with him too,” he raps.

YG kicks up the guest appearances, with Drake stopping in for the club favorite “Who Do You Love?,” before Kendrick Lamar drops by for “Really Be (Smokin N’ Drinkin’), with a verse that could’ve been an outtake from his “Swimming Pools” single. Things take a darker turn on “1am.” Telling the story of sneaking out of the house to catch a lick, before being left behind by his friend. Easily one of the standout cuts from the album. 

What differentiates YG from his Compton affiliates is he knows how to work with his lyrical shortcomings. Instead of taking on the task of hogging the spotlight for his debut, he willingly shares with MC’s more capable (see ScHoolboy Q & Jay Rock’s monstrous contributions to “I Just Wanna Party”). What he does differently is express vulnerability in a way that’s been seemingly forgotten. His ode to his mother on “Sorry Momma” is one that’s worth noting. Although not the first of it’s kind, it meshes with his otherwise (k)razy lifestyle and adds balance. YG simply offers listeners a visual to his experiences leaving it rebelliously open for judgement. Add this one to your kollektion.