If you asked me a year ago if I liked YG, I undoubtedly would have told you ‘no’. There was just something about My Krazy Life that felt completely dependent on the album’s features and lacking in that main event, that is, YG himself. Now, two years after his first studio album, the rapper has ripened his sound and found direction in his verses, flow, and persona.
Still Brazy is a record centered around the core thoughts and concepts that YG holds to himself and the world around him. There is not a hidden message or allegory to be examined here, simply raw and relentless rhetoric. From the very first track, it is easy to tell that YG has full reins over his work this time around. Features are provided for backup and contrast, not to give an incentive to listen to his music. On Who Shot Me? YG raps about his thoughts of paranoia centered around his bullet wounds from an unknown assailant. Now that he has acquired fame, he realizes that his allegiance to the Bloods has placed a large target on his head and the idea that the person(s) who attempted to kill him is still out there is understandably frightening (and provides for an interesting narrative). This message of fame leading to negative consequences is also utilized in the latter half of the album on the self titled track.
While I do enjoy most of the songs on this album, there are concepts on particular tracks that I believe will become stale and dated within a year. As much as I love the boldness of FDT at this moment, I see it as an easy publicity stunt for a rapper that is still on the rise. Especially when cringy verses are delivered that rhyme “answer” with “cancer”. Another complaint that I have is with Police Get Away wit Murder. I like the message YG has to send about the awareness of police brutality, but there are issues with the vocal delivery and production on this one. Instrumentally, the sound feels muffled and could use a better melody. Vocally, YG sounds too silly for such a heavy subject and the chorus is rather shallow and tasteless. For an album that runs like a freight train, this closer is simply too weak to be anything satisfying.
Focusing on the production of the rest of the album, I could not be more content with it. YG maintains the same ’90s NWA-esque instrumentals and beats that he had on his first record. The difference this time around is that he adds infectious hooks and singalong choruses that make these tracks stand out. The coolest features to me are the use of synthesizers and piano riffs to create that ‘smooth criminal’ vibe that is very much prevalent throughout the length of this piece.
YG has created an album that is truly worthy of praise. He has taken ratchet music and made it into a sound that is honest and personal to him and gives an interesting perspective on the realizations and experiences that occur when one is in ‘fame limbo’. My honest opinion of this album is a 7.5/10.