After grinding on the mixtape scene for a few years, YMCMB recording artist Tyga is emerging from underdog status this year. From strip-club joint Rack City becoming a huge breakthrough hit for the rapper, to him being part of the reason why millions believe YOLO is The Motto, Tyga makes it clear he won’t allow Young Money comrades Drake, Nicki Minaj and (label-boss) Lil Wayne hog all the limelight.
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While on the road touring, the 22-year old took 10 minutes out of his schedule to talk to Y&Y. Choosing not to take up the whole of our 10 minutes talking about his tattoos (so I just didn’t mention them at all. No – I didn’t even ask about the ones on his face), we spoke about the release of his album, Careless World: The Rise of the Last Kings, working with Nas and Wale, and (not) writing a children’s book.
Last time you were here, I heard a Westwood interview and he was teasing you about being the underdog in a crew with [heavyweights like] Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj in there. I’m sure that’s not the first time you’ve heard that. Do you take it with a pinch of salt or has that become less of an issue as you’ve gotten bigger in your own right?
I think my fans have always been there, but maybe the more mainstream people are only starting to recognise now with the success of Rack City. But I think my fans have always been there, especially overseas. I starting touring overseas before I started touring in the States.
Careless World: Rise of the Last Kings is the title of the new record. It kind of sounds like a dope computer game or something! Explain the title to us.
It’s more of a story [than a computer game]. Careless World is a place I made up, and the subtitle, Rise of the Last Kings is basically me becoming the king of this world, and trying to help my people, and the things I have to do to get there, and the whole album is a story from beginning to end.
What kind of place is Careless World?
When I first envisioned it it’s like a real apocalyptic type place. It’s almost an end of world type feel, in the beginning. But it gets better as the story goes on and the album goes on.
Obviously, Rack City is still tearing up the clubs, the radio, everything. But at the same time [as Rack City has gained popularity] I’ve been hearing Far Away on commercial radio, but it wasn’t until I paid attention that I actually realised it’s your track. So we’re used to the party tracks from you but I’m getting the idea that Careless World is going to take your listeners beyond the club?
Yeah, it’s definitely more different vibes. It’s definitely good music. It’s more storytelling. Sometimes there’s a party vibe at the same time, but there’s gonna be way more of a story with it. More real situations and stuff.
You’ve got a few collaborations on the album. Kings and Queens with Nas and Wale may be the one that surprises people the most. What do you think about the whole conscious rap and party rap divide? And how do you feel that Kings and Queens maybe responds to that?
I think that’s just a part of the hip hop culture. It’s real competitive and fans are real strict with what they support. Nas has a whole different fan-base that I have, and I have different fan-base than Wale has. [But] I think that’s what music is at the end of the day, nobody has to stay in their lane, it’s supposed to be for everybody. It’s self-expression so I think however you wanna express yourself you should be able to. I think the track’s just perfect. The song which doesn’t go from good to bad or bad to good, it stays consistent.
After the success of your Fan of a Fan mixtape with Chris Brown do you have any plans to do any future projects with him?
We’re talking about possibly doing a Fan of a Fan album, we had the mixtape, so we’re talking about doing an album. Hopefully soon.
So what else have you got coming up other than promoting the album?
I’m on tour right now! I just started my tour in the States, and I’ma bring it overseas in May.
I heard somewhere that you’re writing a pop-up book, is this true?!
[Pause]…Writing a what?
A children’s book!
Oh. Erm, that must have been some random internet stuff I read then. [I move on awkwardly while Tyga wonders if I'm mad]
Other than YOLO, what’s a motto you live by?
Doing the best you can and giving it your all. Because if you don’t try, and continue to try you’ll never succeed. Whether you fail, or you succeed, just as long as you try. And I think you just really gotta take everything (successes and failures) as motivation.
What can we do to make the world less Careless?
Stop being hypocrites, and stop being so judgmental. [For example] Twitter is really good, and the internet is a good source to be able to contact artists, and it’s just way more interactive. But at the same time it’s used the wrong way sometimes, and it sends the wrong message to people who follow rather than lead. So sometimes the internet and all that shit makes people tend to have [someone else's] opinion rather than leading with their own opinion, you know?
Tyga’s debut album, Careless World: Rise of the Last Kings is released in the UK on 12th March 2012.