TYGA plays Kool Haus on April 19. See listings. Rating: NN
California rapper Tyga's first major-label release, Careless World, was a really good pop-rap album. Big, beautiful production and unforgettable hooks masked frequently amateurish lyrics. If Tyga could build on the self-awareness hinted at in standout track Do It All, we might have ourselves a legitimate player.
But on Hotel California, he's emotionally regressed.
Nineties West Coast hip-hop overtones and contributions from the usual suspects - Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa - make it entirely listenable, and creatively recycled Tupac lines on Hit 'Em Up even lend interest, but that's where the album's sunnier attributes end.
Show You is a lost opportunity to reflect maturely on a faltering relationship, as well as a sorry waste of a Future hook. Diss Song and Dad's Letter are departures from the money/sex/drugs staples, but when you compare the latter to Tyler, the Creator's similarly themed Answer, Tyga's lyrical shortcomings are woefully obvious.
Sometimes all it takes is a single brilliant sample on one song to take a hip-hop album from bad to good. First single Dope has that by way of Dr. Dre's Deep Cover, but it fails to push the balance of the album beyond mediocrity.
Top track: M.O.E.