YG is confident. YG is invincible. YG is vulnerable.
It is not that often that you see such a hardcore rapper reveal these types of emotions in one album, but YG mixes them and plays the feelings off of each other not only over the course of the whole album but in single songs, too.
Additionally, the Compton (Bompton?) rapper gets much more political than he has in the past, something that was not expected by many fans and that has not been seen in gangsta rap since the early ‘90s. Time to dissect this complex album.
YG’s style is like if the styles of Ice Cube and Killer Mike had a love child. Though YG needs a few more albums at or above the level of Still Brazy, he takes the main components of the styles of those two legends and mixes them well.
He always speaks the truth, such as on “Gimmie Got Shot”, a track warning against asking him for money and nice things. Charles Barkley would most definitely approve of that song. Along with that, let’s get into some other highlights of the album.
The singles from Still Brazy were very strong and received a lot of attention between their releases and when the album dropped.
“Twist My Fingaz” was one of the summer in 2015.
Then there is the much-needed anti-Trump anthem “FDT”, where YG, a blood, and Nipsey Hussle, a crip, unite to show that the good of their nation is greater than the good of either one of their gangs.
“Still Brazy”, the album’s title track, is a solid song where YG raps about how him being shot and getting rich impacted his family and loved ones and how it has brought more people to him. It’s rather repetitive because those are some of the main subjects of his album, but it has a great beat and catchy hook, so it gets a positive review as a single.
Finally, the Drake-featured “Why You Always Hatin’” was the final single and although the foundation of the song is an idea that has certainly been done before, YG and Drake play well off each other while bragging about their success, and even though YG’s verses are better than Drake’s, Drake shows encouraging signs of rapping ability that he did not reveal on Views.
Overall, it is a great album, and it is probably the rap album of the year. It brings gangsta rap back to heights it has not seen since the turn of the millennium but it gets political and insightful at the same time, such as on the songs “FDT”, “Blacks & Browns”, and “The Police Get Away wit Murder”. Even the interludes are tolerable! There is just one error on the entire tracklist, and it comes in the form of “She Wish She Was”, a slut-shaming anthem about a girl who wishes she was a man so she could have sex without the social consequences. It goes against the fundamentals of gender equality, which brings the album back down to earth, in a sense.
The best subtlety in the album is at the very end, where he says, “Now y’all know why I’m living life lookin’ over my shoulder”. Most importantly, that statement comes at the end of the song “The Police Get Away wit Murder,” as that sentence most pertained to the subject of that song, but it also involved many other themes of the album. YG speaks about all of the danger and tragedy he has seen in his life: being shot, gang violence, police brutality, greedy fake friends, women, and Donald Trump. He is running from all of those things as he deals with his newfound fame, and he has learned that looking back at the dangers chasing him is important so he does not lose focus on accomplishing his goals.
This style of gangsta rap has not been seen in at least a decade, as the focus on social and political issues has been rather untouched since NWA’s “F**k Tha Police”. It is clear who YG’s influences are, but he separates himself from them and creates his own, unique style. He spits poignant bars while making catchy hooks over good beats, so there is something for every type of hip-hop fan in each song on the album. To sum it up, if you want to hear frightening stories of gang violence, being shot, success along with its challenges and consequences, and a true G’s political perspective, then you will love Still Brazy. It stays true to its style while not getting repetitive, and because of that, the 17-track album seems to fly by, leaving listeners wanting more.