Album Assessment: The Legacy of Gangsta Rap Stays in Good Palms on YG’s 4Real 4Real

The Lowdown: Practically a month faraway from its scheduled launch date, YG’s fourth studio album, 4Real 4Real, arrives after a delay issued in response to the premature passing of his good friend and mentor Nipsey Hussle. 4Real 4Real follows uptempo lead singles “Cease Snitchin” and the Latin-inspired “Go Loko” — a nod to YG’s abiding respect for Los Angeles’ Chicano tradition that’s as prone to rule summer time as it’s ripe for a tequila marketing campaign. The observe additionally summons his 2014 debut studio album, My Krazy Life; the title of the discharge was a play on the identify of the 1993 characteristic movie Mi Vida Loca, which positioned a highlight on gang tradition in metro Los Angeles.

That tradition — the nice, the dangerous, the ugly, and his lumbering, oft-reluctant ascent from the detrimental trappings of it — is what dictates the tone and trajectory of YG’s 4Real 4Real. Fueled by energy and paranoia, the rapper’s newest is 2 albums faraway from a 2015 taking pictures that left him wounded and arguably extra of a beast than he was prior. Appointing himself to the fashionable Rushmore of Angeleno gangsta rap on the outset, YG reprises the hard-driving tempo of 2016’s Nonetheless Brazy and his 2018 album, Keep Harmful, whereas leaning into introspection on songs like “Onerous Bottoms & White Socks”, “Keshia Had a Child”, “Coronary heart to Coronary heart”, and “Her Story”, which finds him gracious in ceding the highlight to collaborator Day Sulan.

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The Good: Although abrupt endings and an absence of easy transitions between tracks makes the fabric robust to devour at factors, the factor that YG’s 4Real 4Real does finest is slap. A lot much less unctuous and heavy-handed than foundational west coast classics, YG and DJ Mustard’s tackle the sound is noticeably crisp and minimal with out sacrificing the ticking percussion and muddy bass undergirding its Cali predecessors. The toughest-hitting instrument on 4Real 4Real, nevertheless, is YG’s voice. Singular in its delicate steadiness of hubris and joviality, his supply gives the sharp punctuation to manufacturing that’s worthy of reward for sustaining a constant stage of craft and being impossibly catchy, if not essentially probably the most thrilling the rap world has ever heard.

There isn’t a wild pattern manipulation to dazzle beat fanatics. 4Real 4Real avoids the cavalcade of session musicians and complex preparations which have fortified releases from his Bompton up to date Kendrick Lamar. As a substitute, probably the most evocative and plush moments pair spare, futuristic takes on trunk manufacturing with YG’s chest-beating savagery. Longstanding artistic relationships with devoted collaborators attain the purpose of maturation as YG hits his stride alongside Mustard, Hit Boy, and others on effervescent bangers like “Bottle Service”, “Within the Darkish”, the G-Eazy- and Kamaiyah-assisted “Do Not Disturb”, and the pink cup bounce “Do Yo Dance”, which is perfected by a characteristic from Ty Dolla $ign. Buoyed by these forces, 4Real 4Real is a delayed album that feels proper on time.

The Dangerous: Opening with Nipsey Hussle’s mantra (“The Marathon Continues”), closing together with his memorial tribute to Hussle, and scrawling one other nod to the slain rapper into the album art work, YG presents himself and his inventive output as a residing monument to the legacy of his good friend. None of that is dangerous. The transfer is admirable. Expectations that YG will run Hussle’s marathon to the letter ought to finish there, nevertheless, as he’s not inclined to imagine the rapper’s much less brooding and extra solution-driven strategy to success. Nor does he appear inclined to relish the journey out of adversity and poverty in a fashion that focuses on gratitude. The closest he will get is the Valee- and Boogie-assisted “I Was on the Block”, when he presents: “They like, YG a show-off/ I’ma throw it in your face/ I informed y’all. Earlier than the cash, didn’t know y’all/ Now you on my dick so I’ma maintain y’all/ Yeah, I had a gathering with Kanye/ Yeah, we had a great convo/ These was the phrases from Kanye/ Fuck being humble, act a asshole.”

As a substitute, YG trades aspiration for flexing and enterprise acumen for busting heads. “I don’t need no rap beef/ ‘Trigger I’m actually gon’ slide, verify my rap sheet,” YG raps on “Cease Snitchin”. Luckily, all the aforementioned traits are nonetheless desired in rap. The expansion YG sees on 4Real 4Real is most clearly sonic and inventive. Much less laser centered on outward emotional maturation or a departure from the standard modalities for channeling rage within the streets. Much less a prismatic opus that marries his journey so far with a transparent cinematic arc or equally expansive manufacturing, it’s a collar verify for important indicators that finds the chip on YG’s shoulder probably the most vibrant factor about him. His acute understanding of his function as a translator of the town’s gang-adjacent rap aesthetic and a tangible instance of success distilled from lower than favorable circumstances is disrupted by a bitterness that resembles some mixture of survivor’s regret and a deep want to chin verify the common forces he feels are antithetical to the g-code; YG zeroes in on snitching as probably the most egregious offense, which is probably going why the equally named anthem is the one observe with double reserving on the whole launch.

The Verdict: 4Real 4Real carries a number of the most introspective writing from YG so far. Referential of the classic gangster type and traditions that encourage all the pieces from his hybridized look to his politics, the album is a thumping acknowledgement of the mantle he carries not simply as a pillar of contemporary gangsta rap however as a person who has stared down the barrel of a gun within the Metropolis of Angels and lived to inform about it. A feat that has discovered males of all stripes mendacity prematurely jettisoned and susceptible. The job of placing on for the underbelly of the West Coast is left to YG whether or not he prefers it or not. Whereas he’s not alone, he’s a rapper of an echelon that isn’t reserved for each expertise rising behind him. Lonelier on the prime than normal with out Hussle, YG remains to be probably the greatest fitted to the duty. Unsurprisingly, his buy-in happens by the midpoint of “Onerous Bottoms & White Socks” with the confident quip “Pac ain’t the one motherfucker with the juice…” In that second, it turns into clear that so long as YG and rappers minimize from the identical material — the uncommon breed with the moxy and road credibility to again up the tales they inform and the shit they’ve talked — proceed to stroll the earth, the legacy of gangsta rap will stay in good fingers.

Important Tracks: “Onerous Bottoms & White Socks”, “Go Loko”, and “Her Story”

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