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Albums of 2014 #14: YG: My Krazy Life

Spoiler alert: on the whole, the 14 records that make up this year’s short-list are pretty light on what one might call “bangers”. You could argue that My Krazy Life, the debut studio album from LA rapper Keenon “YG” Jackson, wasn’t really party music either, revolving as it did around the kind of no-nonsense straight-talk that made life in his ‘hood seem anything but glamorous, but underpinning these tales of thugs, wannabe gangstas and those doing whatever they had to do to get by were some of the heaviest, catchiest hip hop beats in recent memory. Whilst long-time collaborator DJ Mustard’s trademark “ratchet” sound – sparse, minimalist strip club music given a radio-friendly melodic makeover – was pretty much ubiquitous in 2014, it was YG who dared to stretch it across the hour-long album format, to surprisingly thrilling effect: loosely themed around “a day in the life of YG” (incorporating the botched burglary that led to his six month prison stretch in 2009), My Krazy Life was a less cerebral companion piece to his friend Kendrick Lamar’s own 2012 Compton-set concept album, designed to make the listener bob their head rather than scratch it. If none of the personas Jackson inhabited were anything we hadn’t heard a thousand times before – the gangbanger who just wanted to party, the player with a six-figure Bank of America account, the sexual self-publicist boasting about how nobody could “beat the pussy up” like him, the guy smokin’ and drinkin’ to escape the horrors of everyday life, the humbled hustler apologising to his momma for his screw-ups and the pain they had caused her – his laid-back and occasionally clownish delivery (along with the G-Funk-on-steroids production from Mustard and cohorts) was maddeningly infectious, earning the album a place between Lamar and spiritual godfathers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in the lineage of classic West Coast hip hop.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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