Tyga Loses Stripes with New Album

Courtesy of Republic Records

Courtesy of Republic Records

Hip hop remains a popular genre of music in the United States, although it takes a certain, rough — and dare I say “ratchet” — essence to stand out and achieve the top chart popularity that rappers such as Lil Wayne and Chris Brown have reached.

It is not often a rising artist can compete with kings such as these, but in 2011, Southern California’s Tyga defied such authority. In a short time, Tyga’s explicit rhymes and body-moving beats solidified his place at the top. With the release of his first album in 2011 (“Careless World: Rise of the Last King”) and the debut of the wildly popular song “Rack City,” the gritty, unapologetic image that clearly labeled Tyga soon attained popularity.

His second album, “Hotel California” debuted on April, and  it did not give Tyga a chance to display texture and diversity in his music. The theme, “Hotel California,” is aesthetically displayed by the cover. Gazing at the grand majestic tiger lounging by a peaceful, marbled pool, I hoped Tyga had created an album that gave ode to California, with a classy texture but still laced with his signature biting ferocity. However, I was greatly disappointed.

The album felt irregular, inconsistent and almost cookie cutter. Although there are some potential hits, the recently released album severely lacks at the beginning, races to make up lost ground at its end and barely makes it across the finish line. The album began with an obvious turn-it-up club song called “500 Degreez,” but the song is generic and only emphasizes the exhausted theme of sex, money and drugs to the maximum.

Proceeding after “500 Degreez” is “Dope.” Tyga raps with no clear connection to the title. “You kissed her in her mouth/ ask her how my dick tastes” precedes the repetitive chorus “All my sh*t dope.” This song, as well as a few others throughout the album, reminded me of unimaginative remixes of “Rack City,” with their same clapping beats and Tyga’s unchanged rapping rhythm. Tyga doesn’t want to mess with a good thing, but spewing overly explicit lyrics that happen to rhyme with an unoriginal message and overused beats is not the best way to introduce listeners to a new album.

On top of his album’s weak beginning, Tyga is outshone by the pool of big name artists he enlists. Not even holding his own in the decent song “Hit Em Up,” Tupac and Jadakiss take the glory, while Tyga sounds like the Chris Brown of “Look At Me Now.” Tyga again remains an awkward piece to the puzzle in the song “Show You,” but his lyrics are outrageously explicit, and his unchanging, gritty voice is almost painful to listen to when paired with Future’s smooth, caressing chorus that reminds me of T-Pain’s “Can’t Believe It.”

As the album unfolds, Tyga makes a few attempts at showing depth with a few slower songs, but they are all attempts. His best attempt, “Diss Song,” lacks clarity. It is unclear whom Tyga is addressing; from talking about gang banging with a homie to having a daughter with a lady in one verse, the preschool rhymes are shallow, especially the chorus, “I ain’t tryna diss you/ I just wanna know the issue,” while the strumming guitar and smooth, danceable beats had me fooled.  However, there are some standout songs toward the end of the album — the robotically catchy “Molly” and the California-themed song “It Never Rains” had me impressed.

Tyga tries to milk his “Rack City” reign through his new album. Ultimiately, Tyga fails in the area of lyrics and song meaning. Ladies, drugs and money remain ostentatious themes, riddled with vulgar language and raunchy, sexual descriptions. While the “Hotel California” has a select few high points, it just isn’t a decent, memorable representation of Tyga.

Not recommended. Few songs are worth a download.