Hip-Hop & R&B Features

YG | Guide to a West Coast Legend


YG: The West Coast Rap King Not Named Kendrick

YG, born Keenon Dequan Ray Jackson on March 9, 1990, is a major force in West Coast hip-hop. Known for his gritty lyrics and authentic storytelling, YG has been shaking up the rap scene since the late 2000s. He’s set to perform on July 16 in Salt Lake City at the Complex. Learn how to win free tickets here.

Beyond his solo success, YG is also involved in the Kendrick vs. Drake rap beef, fueling one of hip-hop’s hottest rivalries. This guide dives into his career, musical style, and impact on hip-hop culture.

From Compton to Charts: YG’s Rise

Growing Up in Compton

YG grew up in Compton, California, a city notorious for its gang culture and violent crime rates. His upbringing heavily influenced his music, infusing it with raw realism. Inspired by West Coast rap legends like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Tupac Shakur, YG developed a passion for rapping at a young age.

Related: A List of My Favorite Snoop Dogg Songs

The Rise of a Rapper

In 2008, YG released his debut single, “Toot It and Boot It,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign. The track gained significant airplay and established him as a rising star in hip-hop. His early mixtapes, such as 4Fingaz and Just Re’d Up, showcased his talent and built a loyal fanbase.

Unpacking YG’s Hits: Stories Behind the Tracks

My Krazy Life (2014)

Produced by DJ Mustard, My Krazy Life was a commercial and critical success. It featured hits like “My N*gga” and “Who Do You Love?”. The album provides a vivid portrayal of life in Compton, blending gangsta rap with catchy hooks and club-ready beats heavily influenced by classic G-Funk and Bay Area Hyphy.

Still Brazy (2016)

Released during a politically charged time, Still Brazy includes tracks like “FDT (F**k Donald Trump),” reflecting YG’s frustration with the political climate. This album sees YG experimenting with new sounds while maintaining his West Coast roots.

Subsequent Releases

Stay Dangerous (2018)

Known for its high-energy beats and street anthems, this album includes tracks like “Big Bank” and “Handgun.”

4Real 4Real (2019)

Dedicated to the late Nipsey Hussle, this album blends introspective lyrics with party anthems.

My Life 4Hunnid (2020)

Reflecting on personal struggles and societal issues, this album continues YG’s tradition of raw, honest storytelling.

Collaborations and Side Projects

Notable Collaborations

  • Ty Dolla $ign: Frequent collaborator, featured on several of YG’s hits.
  • Nipsey Hussle: Close friend and collaborator, known for their track “FDT.”
  • DJ Mustard: Key producer for many of YG’s early hits.

Business Ventures

  • 4Hunnid Records: YG’s own label supports emerging artists and expands his influence in the music industry.
  • Fashion Line: YG has ventured into fashion, launching the 4Hunnid brand, which features streetwear inspired by his personal style.

Legacy and Impact

Influence on Hip-Hop

YG is credited with helping to revive West Coast hip-hop, bringing it back to mainstream prominence. His music, often addressing social and political issues, resonates with a broad audience and contributes to important conversations.

Personal Life and Challenges

YG has faced various legal challenges throughout his career, which he openly addresses in his music. Despite his rough exterior, YG is known for his philanthropic efforts, particularly in his hometown of Compton.

Top 10 Tracks to Know

  1. “My N*gga” (feat. Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan)
    • Album: My Krazy Life
    • Release Date: 2013
    • Achievements/Award: Certified 4x Platinum by RIAA
  2. “Who Do You Love?” (feat. BBL Drizzy)
    • Album: My Krazy Life
    • Release Date: 2014
    • Achievements/Award: Certified Platinum by RIAA
  3. “FDT” (feat. Nipsey Hussle)
    • Album: Still Brazy
    • Release Date: 2016
    • Achievements/Award: Political impact and widespread media coverage
  4. “Big Bank” (feat. 2 Chainz, Big Sean & Nicki Minaj)
    • Album: Stay Dangerous
    • Release Date: 2018
    • Achievements/Award: Certified 2x Platinum by RIAA
  5. “Toot It and Boot It” (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
    • Album: The Real 4Fingaz
    • Release Date: 2008
    • Achievements/Award: Breakthrough single
  6. “BPT”
    • Album: My Krazy Life
    • Release Date: 2014
    • Achievements/Award: Critically acclaimed
  7. “Twist My Fingaz”
    • Album: Still Brazy
    • Release Date: 2015
    • Achievements/Award: Fan favorite
  8. “Why You Always Hatin’?” (feat. BBL Drizzy & Kamaiyah)
    • Album: Still Brazy
    • Release Date: 2016
    • Achievements/Award: Chart success
  9. “Scared Money” (with J. Cole & Moneybagg Yo)
    • Album: I Got Issues
    • Release Date: 2022
    • Achievements/Award: Charted on Billboard Hot 100
  10. “Go Loko” (feat. Tyga & Jon Z)
    • Album: 4Real 4Real
    • Release Date: 2019
    • Achievements/Award: Gold certification by RIAA

YG: Behind the Bars and Beyond

Young Gangsta Origins

YG stands for “Young Gangsta,” a nod to his roots in Compton’s gang culture. At 16, he joined the 400 set of the Tree Top Piru Bloods, marking the beginning of his gritty journey in the rap game.

Love and Breakups

YG and Saweetie were first spotted packing on some PDA in May 2023 during a vacation in Cabo, Mexico, where they were photographed getting cozy poolside. By January 2024, The Shade Room reported their amicable split, ending their seven-month relationship.

Check out “NANi,” Saweetie’s summer anthem. 

Fashion and Films

YG isn’t just about music; he’s a fashion mogul too. His 4Hunnid clothing line, meaning “Forever One Hundred,” reflects his personal style and street credibility. In 2014, YG also ventured into filmmaking with his short film, “Blame It on The Streets,” showcasing his storytelling prowess beyond the mic.

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