Interview by LowKey // Photography by Evan Taylor Gunville and Carlos Arias // Styling by Darius Baptist // Grooming by Jackie Sanchez/Dermalogica
Despite the uncertainty of a release date hovering over his newest album, Tyga maintains the enthusiasm of an artist who has a project truly worth sharing with fans.
“Thank You God Always” isn’t just an acronym for California rapper Tyga – it’s also his motto for life. Growing up without a father and having a mother do a bid in jail while in his teens, Michael Nguyen Stevenson has seen his share of hardships. Adversities of this nature would normally break the strongest of characters, but Tyga views his situations as motivation for becoming the person he is today. The Southern California native’s constant infatuation with music led him to a chance meeting in a shoe store with Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, and instantly McCoy became a fan of this young rapper’s skills. As his mentor (as some would call it), GCH front man invited Tyga to join the band on tour. While working and recording with McCoy, Tyga would have another encounter that would ultimately change his life.
After the release of his independent album, No Introduction, Tyga met rap monster Lil Wayne. Already an enormous fan of Weezy’s music and flow, Tyga sent him songs that he’d recorded and hoped would lead to a future endeavor. After much time had passed, Tyga eventually received the call of a lifetime beckoning him to start making music with Lil Wayne, and as the adage goes, the rest is history. With stellar performances on hit Young Money singles “Roger That” and “BedRock” off We Are Young Money, Tyga has positioned himself to step up and take center stage. And the release of his current smash hit, “Rack City,” shows he’s ready to reach the next level with his highly anticipated Young Money/Cash Money debut, Careless World: Rise of the Last King.Between recording sessions, promo touring, photo shoots, interviews and all the fixings of being one of the hottest rappers in the game, trying to get an interview from a hip-hop artist isn’t always an easy feat. Catching Tyga at home during the early hours of morning, blogger LowKey, founder of hip-hop culture site YouHeardThatNew.com, got some downtime in with the workaholic to find out about any industry pressures, what success means to him and why everyone will remember his name after entering his world.
LowKey: First off, I want to say congrats on all your current successes. “Rack City” is blazing the charts. How are you dealing with the sudden success? Tyga: Honestly, I’m really feeling impatient. I can’t wait to get my album out, start touring and giving my fans what they want to hear. That’s how I’m feeling right about now – excited and impatient. As far as recent success, I feel appreciative of the fans’ support. I want to take that and just keep moving on and growing.
LowKey: You once stated how you had to get behind “Rack City” and really push it out there for people to hear. Do you feel your hard work has paid off? Tyga: I have a lot of songs that I feel could be bigger than “Rack City,” but overall, it was a good start. It gave people an awareness of me and what I’m doing.
LowKey: You have also taken to criticism that, lyrically, this song may not be at a particularly stellar level, and that it’s more of a party anthem. What’s been your response to that Tyga: People tend to think the term lyrical has to mean you’re telling a deep story or you’re pondering on some philosophical theory. I made this song to party. I always want to be able to give you something for both sides, and that’s what I set out to do with this album. True, if you’re looking for a deep, lyrical song, then “Rack City” isn’t the cut, but if you’re looking for a party song to bang to, there you have it.