in conversation

Tyga and YG on Clique Beefs, Contract Lawyers, and Vegan Sex Pills

tyga and yg

All images by Virisa Yong.

After a decade of one-off collaborations, two of Southern Cali’s hottest new-millennium rappers are committing to the bit. Hit Me When U Leave The Klub: The Playlist, released last Friday, is exactly what it claims to be—a playful first joint album venture with Tyga and YG trading verses over certified club bangers. But when they called each other up a few weeks ago, there was plenty more to discuss, from their earliest rap influences (Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, and Easy-E) to the various other ventures, like skincare lines and male enhancement pills, keeping them busy. “I got all types of shit of going on,” says YG. “Got to get into it,” replied Tyga. “Product.”


YG: What up?

TYGA: What’s going on? All right, let’s take it back from the jump. I feel like we’ve known each other for so long, but when did we first connect? Was it 2011?

YG: Nah, bro, it was before that. It was a show at The Glass House in Pomona, and you pulled up. Man, I remember that shit. It was like ’09. That’s when I first met you, but the first record we did was in 2011.

TYGA: That’s crazy. “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” right? When did you know you wanted to be a rapper and take it seriously?

YG: Back in the days, it was these cliques, Hollywood and GMC, that had a fake little clique beef. I was from Hollywood, and a nigga from GMC made a diss song with my name in it, so I dissed the nigga back and we was going back and forth. That’s when I was like, “Damn, I fuck with music, I’m really finna try to do this shit.” When you get into music, though?

TYGA: I started when I was 11 or 12. I had created this little studio in my house with a mic from RadioShack. I went to McDonald’s, got a bunch of cup holders, and made a little recording booth in my closet. I used FruityLoops to make my own beats back then. I wish I would’ve kept doing it, but I didn’t have the patience. I would come home from school, freestyle, record it, mix it, and it became a hobby. Then when [Lil] Wayne started dropping crazy mixtapes, I was like, “I need to make a mixtape. Let me put 10 or 15 songs together and try to do a photoshoot.” That shit took me like six months, but after I saw the final product, I wanted to keep doing it. [I was] going to the mall, passing out CDs, throwing little house parties, performing wherever I could.

YG: Hell yeah. A nigga definitely remember that process of the closet studios and burning the CDs yourself.

TYGA: That was the hustle.

YG: How has your music style evolved since you first started in the industry?

TYGA: I think music and fashion move so fast, and they evolve at the same time. Every three months there’s somebody new getting hot. So you got to evolve with it and play with different samples and features, but I still try to stay true to my sound when I first started. 

YG: Hell yeah.

TYGA: Do you remember our first time recording in the studio?

YG: I think it was when we did “Go Loko.” That’s also when we was talking about doing a collab project the first time, but it just didn’t happen until now. Let’s talk about Hit Me When U Leave The Klub: The Playlist. What’s the story behind it from your perspective?

TYGA: It feels very mixtape. It’s fun and feels raw, but it is curated. It’s a playlist you can just pop on to get you in the right vibe. I do like recording alone, but this is my second collab project I’ve ever done, and it was girls coming through the studio, homies. It was a fun vibe where it didn’t feel like we was working or thinking too hard about concepts.


YG: For sure. How important is it for you to represent your roots in your music?

TYGA: It’s important, for sure. It’s all about your hometown. Like you put L.A. and the West Coast on your back, because everybody got a different story, so every city got a different sound. With both of us being from Cali, and this project having heavy West Coast vibes, do you think the West Coast has changed over the years?

YG: It’s changed from the Snoop and [Dr.] Dre [era] until now, but you can tell that the sound is an offspring of what they created. The sound now is more mixed in with the bass shit instead of the G-funk West Coast shit, but, at the end of the day, it’s all California. The music that was being created back then was gangsta rap music, and now it’s more uptempo party shit, good vibes. The biggest records coming out of the West Coast the past 10 years been all club music.

TYGA: That’s true. Where do you find yourself within the lineage of musicians and rappers from the West Coast? 

YG: I feel like Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, Eazy-E. I’m from Compton, Eazy-E from Compton. Snoop Dogg was the biggest gang member rapper, and 2Pac’s approach—

TYGA: He was a thug.

YG: He was thugged out. I got a little bit of all that. Who are some of the artists who inspired you?

TYGA: Definitely Snoop and Dre for the West Coast sound. With 2Pac, it’s more just his overall style of being a rap star, shirt off, the way he move. And of course, Lil Wayne and Eminem. We just shot a video with Lil Wayne and he still feels the same.  His bars is still up to par. When I’m 40 or 50, I still want to have that youthfulness and be in tune.

YG: Wayne definitely got that shit. I feel like we make the same type of music, so it’s like Snoop Dogg and Dre doing music with each other, you feel me? We live in the same world, come from the same place, use the same producers, so the music always compliments each other.

TYGA: I think West Coast people that’s super tapped in with us are going to get it. This project is way overdue. We could have done this project 10 years ago. I feel like it’s going to make artists on the West Coast come together.

YG: Yeah. What else is on your playlist right now for a night out?

TYGA: If you on some party shit, you really got to give it kind of to the girls right now. Female artists are going crazy. If you with a gang of girls, all they be wanting to hear is Sexyy Red and Ice Spice

YG: The girls got it right now.

TYGA: But if I’m just vibing, I really listen to more melodic R&B from PARTYNEXTDOOR, Bryson Tiller, or Brent Faiyaz.

YG: Is there a moment in your career that you’re especially proud of?

TYGA: Definitely when I put out “Taste” because I was able to do it independently without no major label, no nothing. I just let the music speak, and that it ended up being one of my biggest songs. Like, “I can do this shit by myself.” On that topic, if you could give one piece of advice to your younger self at the start of your career, what would it be?


YG: Man, do not sign that deal that I signed without a lawyer looking at that motherfucker. The whole shit would’ve been different.

TYGA: Nah, for real. You got to read these contracts. When I first signed, I don’t even think I got no advance. When you young, you’re just excited. 

YG: The paperwork don’t matter if you ain’t doing shit, but if you start having motion, that shit is going to matter. You don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, so you just got to make sure a nigga’s stepping right whenever a nigga steps.

TYGA: So what can fans expect next from you?

YG: I got these 4HUNNID sex pills finna come out. They’re all-natural vegan male enhancement pills. I got some TV and film projects in the works and a podcast I’m about to announce real soon. I got all types of shit of going on.

TYGA: A sex pill is crazy. I got to see it. Is that like the honey? That shit ain’t going to give you a headache after?

YG: No, nigga. [Laughs] The homies is going crazy over these like, “When is they dropping?” I’m finna have them shits all over all the gas stations and 7-Elevens. I’m going to text it to you right now. 

TYGA: Oh, it’s called Cherry Bomb. The branding is fire.

YG: Yeah, they’re little red vegan pills. The ingredients is all herbs.

TYGA: We need to have these shits at shows, throwing them in the air. [Laughs]

YG: Exactly. This shit fire. How about you?

TYGA: After the album I’ve been working on, I got this men’s skincare thing I’m about to do. My whole thing is a three-step routine. Most men not doing a mask unless their girlfriend or their wife is like, “Let me do this for you.” You got to be consistent with it, because the problem most men get is razor bumps and ingrown hairs.

YG: Them motherfucking ingrown hairs, boy.

TYGA: It’s no joke, so this is gonna help all that.

YG: That’s dope. You gotta have something for the back of the neck, because them barbers be having niggas’ shit fucked up.

TYGA: [Laughs] You got to put on that toner to get right after it’s burned. It’s going to be branded more masculine, because the only men’s skincare out there is from Axe or Old Spice. There’s nothing that’s marketed cool and young. Right now everybody’s into health. People want to look good and they want to feel good. It’s a whole other world. Got to get into it. Product.

YG: Product, nigga.