YG is a old-time carnival magician. His levitation routine (My Krazy Life‘s initial acclaim) looks dope from the audience seating (playing the singles) until you get too close (play the rest of the album) and see the wires (it’s bad). Oh, and DJ Mustard is his flash powder, or something like that…whatever, he just doesn’t fit into this metaphor!
Sorry to be so negative, but this album was much too overhyped for eggshell-walking. Between the thundering introduction that is My Nigga, and all the love that the album was getting, I just knew I was in for a West Coast banger! A 2014 Chronic! Another step in the resurgence of great West Coast gangsta music! Instead, My Krazy Life has pretty much every problem that’s endemic in current hip-hop:
1. It has no sonic identity. Put another way, it sounds like everything else that’s popular. Not so with its smash single, My Nigga, which has a laid-back criminal vibe that I hoped would be present in other songs. It’s not really G-Funk because it’s missing the high-pitched melody typical of that style. Instead its melody lies within sounds that rumble out of the subwoofer. The rest of the album doesn’t have this style though. The second single, Who Do You Love, sounds exactly like 2 Chainz’ I’m Different. Much of the rest of the album sounds like songs DJ Mustard has made for others in the past few years, and it relies much too heavily on too-simple melodies composed from tired, old synthesizer sounds. Wait, is bad synth usage an identity?
2. It’s shallow. My Krazy Life is a class in basic hip-hop. It has a strip club song, one somber song about YG’s love for his mom, aimless gangsta boasts, random bragging on party songs, and a couple songs for girls. Sure, Me & My Bitch flips the girl-song script by telling the story of a relationship ruined by her, not YG’s, infidelity. But ultimately, it’s still a song about love with a sappy beat and bad R&B singer hook. And YG’s rhymes are, as a rule, average. Nothing in his flow or writing style warrants repeated listens.
So interesting is a height only reached on the few songs that break from this mainstream hip-hop mold. Meet the Flockers is a detailed home invasion robbery manual that approaches g-funk in sound and even features DJ scratching. On Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin), YG and Kendrick Lamar describe the stresses that inspire substance abuse. 1 AM features a robbery YG does with a friend who then betrays him, and Thank God has a different friend explaining that robbery’s immediate aftermath to YG’s mom.
These songs all succeed, despite the basic rhymes, because they have interesting topics and the beats are good. None are produced by Mustard. The West Coast influence is much clearer on these, especially on 1 AM with its hook that quotes “rollin on dubs, how you feel hoopty-hoop nigga what” from Dr. Dre’s The Next Episode. But none of these songs are outstanding, and they number far too few to outweigh the mud that surrounds them. YG’s life must not be so krazy after all.
Verdict: Average 2010s mainstream hip-hop. In other words, bad!
Highlights: (bka medium-lights)
1. Meet the Flockers
2. 1 AM
3. Do it to Ya (mainly cool for sampling Tha Dogg Pound’s Let’s Play House, but does it so well that it must be mentioned)