Compton-bred rapper YG — “Keenon Daequan Ray muthafuckin’ Jackson” as his mom eloquently refers to him on the intro to the album we’re about to talk about — is one of the leaders in today’s roster of young Hip-Hop kings, right there along with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Meek Mill and the immensely-missed Mac Miller. While Cole is a representative of the south by way of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Meek a proud representation of Philly through and through, Mac giving Pittsburgh its well-deserved props and K. Dot telling the story of living in Compton from a deeply introspective and oftentimes poetic point of view, YG found a way to rep the West Coast from its original G-funk gangsta rap roots from the very beginning of his career.
His platinum-selling debut album, My Krazy Life, turns five years old today (March 18), and is officially available as a 2LP black vinyl by way of Urban Legends. It’s one of those records that will look good plastered on your wall of other preserved rap records, or for a few good spins if you actually own a player to scratch it on. Either way, there’s no arguing that My Krazy Life is a modern day classic. Let us break down why real quick.
Before you go cop the record and add it to your collection, read on to see why YG’s My Krazy Life was so important to the climate of Hip-Hop in 2014 and how it’s shaped the rap game up to this day:
The Album Topped Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums & Rap Albums Charts, While Also Debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200
The week of April 5, 2014, My Krazy Life was held out from the top spot by one astronomical album: the soundtrack for Disney’s Frozen. Granted, nobody was stopping the Frozen train, so we definitely give YG cred where it’s due. However, he was able to top the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and the Top Rap Albums, the latter where it finished at #9 on the year-end list. Overall, it was one of the most successful rap releases of 2014.
The Guest Features Were Phenomenal
Not only was he able to get rap vet Jeezy on the hit lead single, as well as Lil Wayne on the remix, YG also found a way to use My Krazy Life as an opportunity to prove that there was definitely a unity within his rap class. ScHoolboy Q and Jay Rock on “I Just Wanna Party,” Tory Lanez on “Me & My Bitch,” Nicki Minaj on the aforementioned lead single remix as well, Drake on “Who Do You Love?” and Kendrick Lamar on the classic deep cut “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)” were all examples of that. While friendly competition is always in the atmosphere, these MCs supported and rocked with each other heavy.
The Album Helped Put DJ Mustard on the Map
Granted, DJ Mustard had been producing hits as far back as 2011 with Tyga’s top 10 banger “Rack City,” but his working relationship with YG can’t be compared to any rap/producer duo in the game. While they went through a brief beef that has thankfully been squashed, there’s no denying the classic songs they were able to create as a unit on My Krazy Life. We saw them recreate the magic recently on “Big Bank” off last year’s Stay Dangerous, proving that the YG/Mustard union is a much-needed force in Hip-Hop for the majority of us that love a good G-Funk-laced club banger.
My Krazy Life Proved YG Could Represent the West Coast As a Solo Force
Having a tight rap crew to fall back on definitely helps elevate you up the ranks in Hip-Hop, which is why we give YG even more cred for being able to navigate up the charts dolo. While his contemporaries had groups that range from TDE and A$AP Mob to Dreamville and even Young Money, YG held things down on his own under his 4Hunnid imprint, which operates as a record label and fashion brand alike. The leader of his own pack, for sure.
The Universal Praise of “My Nigga”
As controversial as the title is, nobody can deny the takeover of the rap game that “My Nigga” had on Hip-Hop and music in general. A certified quadruple platinum hit, the song also referred to as “My Hitta” made it to the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 (#19 peak position) and garnered YG two BET Hip Hop Awards, including “Best Collabo, Duo or Group” alongside Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan plus recognition for the coveted “Track of the Year” that was awarded to DJ Mustard for production. Even today, drop that track and watch the room go crazy.
Happy five years to My Krazy Life by YG! Shop the new 2LP vinyl release right now over on Urban Legends, and let us know your favorite tracks off the project over on our Facebook and Twitter.