My Krazy Life (Def Jam)
YG’s long-awaited debut record is structured around a familiar conceit – a day in the life of a young Compton kid who can’t seem to avoid trouble – and will provoke appropriate comparisons to Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.
DJ Mustard handles the bulk of the production here and uses a constantly hiccupping bass and hypnotic snares to imbue everything – even threats – with the unmistakable levity that’s become YG’s trademark. My Krazy Life benefits from cohesion and strong sequencing (the lead-in to megasmash My Nigga is notably smooth), while songs like I Just Wanna Party and Left, Right are hedonistic jams sprinkled with distinctive California cultural markers.
But at MKL’s best moments, the emcee looks inward: the G-Funk-heavy youthful reminiscences of Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin) featuring Kendrick Lamar vivid storytelling caper Meet the Flockers and the R&B-leaning Do It To Ya.
YG may just want to party, but the layered storytelling displayed here proves he could be the next transcendent, endlessly original West Coast superstar.
Top track: Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)