By: Sean Sickler
On May 24, YG released his fourth studio album, “4Real 4Real”. Many fans were eagerly waiting for YG to drop this project. He heavily promoted his album on Instagram until the day of. The original date for the project to drop was in April - as a surprise - but after the late rapper Nipsey Hussle passed away, he pushed the date back. Nipsey’s death took a huge toll on the hip-hop community as many rappers took a step back to mourn his death. The Compton based rapper released two singles earlier this year - “Stop Snitchin”, and “Go Loko” prior to the album. Also shown at the bottom of the cover art, you can see that says “In loving memory of Nipsey Hussle”.
Now that this project has arrived, the guest features are quite diverse from what YG fans are used to. These features include Meek Mill, Kamaiyah, Tyga, Ty Dolla $ign, DaBaby and Boogie, among others. DJ Mustard produced many of these songs as well. Lyrically, he is at his best when his life inspires his music. A storyteller needs a story, and YG nothing less than a storyteller.
In an interview with Billboard, YG said music is his safe haven and is his escape from the dark times in his life."If I'm not doing music, I feel depressed...I feel like I ain't shit. I like to create, and right now, I know where I want to be, and I know how to get there."
In the opening track “Hard Bottoms & White Socks”, it starts with a small applause that would hear in a small club of some sort. YG is talking as if he is introducing himself. This song could have been recorded after Nipsey’s death because he says “Let the marathon continue.” He raps about what he brings to the rap game in a confident manner, no uncertainty in his voice. “I’m the face of this shit.” A slower beat but this is a great intro to lead off the album.
The next track - “Bottle Service” - the beat goes straight in and is at a fast pace. The production is a huge switch up from the intro. It gives off that old-ish West Coast, bouncy vibe. YG’s approach to this track is more aggressive than normal on this track specifically. The breaks in between his verses with the woman calling the guy a scrub are a good addition to the song as well and seemed to work better than a hook would have.
The third track, “In The Dark”, is another collaboration between the YG and DJ Mustard. Both of the previous tracks are as well. The vibe on this song is that West Coast, bouncy type too. It almost can compare to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” w the rapper singing “The freaks come out at night” and the low pitch, menacing laugh at the end of the song. The breathing textures heard are also a great touch.
“Go Loko” was the second single released prior to the album. A guitar, some chords, and a bed speak are all heard in yet another Mustard beat. Another slower track, but sets the mood well. The hook by Tyga is simple and very catchy. His verse is what you would expect from him. Jon Z helps this ethnic track by adding his Latin trap vibes. He comes with a nice groove and great Spanish flow. I had no idea what he was saying but he is a great inclusion to the song.
“Stop Snitchin” - the first track released prior to the album also made an appearance on the album. This was a huge diss track to all of the snitches out there, but mainly rapper 6ix9ine after ratting out his fellow gang members about crimes they committed to reduce his own sentence. Could this song also mean that someone snitched on him? This beat can be heard on Glokknine’s song “5&1 challenge” released in late 2018. Aside from that, the music video is quite a controversial one. Who knows what they were thinking in the process of making this but it is now out there for the world to see.
The sixth track, “I Was On The Block” is heavy bass influenced. The first beat, you can feel the bass hit. YG came in cool, calm and collected for this track. His flow fluid, effortless, seamless. This song brings the gangster rap vibes we all love from YG. “Yeah, I had a meeting with Kanye.” The advice he says Kanye gave him sounds accurate. Then Valee comes in with his whispery type flow and Boogie finishes with his voice slicing through the beat with ease. Personally, I don’t like high pitched voices like Boogie’s but chemistry is shown with these three in this song.
YG came a long way from the funky prejudice of “She Wish She Was” on his album “Still Brazy.” Again, he is great at telling stories and this is another perfect example of the Compton rapper doing so. This is the smoothest rapping can get. Keisha’s story is going good thus far until he introduces two new characters - Chris and Ray. This song has a bunch of twists and turns through both relationships. Keisha meets Ray and he fell in love with her, then Keisha leaves Ray for a hooper named Chris and eventually, Chris goes to the league and cheats on her leaving Ray in the dust.
At this point, the album slows down here once again with “Heart 2 Heart.” This is yet another well-produced track as have all of these tracks so far. YG’s verse is another story about a conversation with his friend. Meek’s verse is about one of his friends being released from jail but from selling drugs, he went back again. “Yeah, my dawg just came home, he just did a dime...Got locked, went up for bail, got that shit denied / On parole, he in the hole, barely calling home” Arin Ray and Rose Gold’s collab on the hook is great together. With all four of these artists coming together, it makes a winning line up.
The album seems to smooth out at this point with the song “Play Too Much.” The beat is delightful and YG’s storytelling keeps on going with this track. Talking about a story that ended with him getting played by a woman. He doesn’t sound mad - but angry. Was this a woman whom he saw a future with? Possibly. “Play Too Much” is the story of a player who got played. This is a record only YG could make.
Track ten named “Do Not Disturb” featuring Kamaiyah and G-Eazy brings back the upbeat tempo part of the album. Kamaiyah’s verse came in hard and finished hard and adds an infectious bounce that can be felt throughout the whole song. In the second verse, YG raps “YG can’t rap? Bitch I got bars,” maybe some crude criticism that inspired him to more effort into his songwriting. Then Eazy finishes with his classic Bay area flow and vibe.
The next track is “Do Yo Dance” featuring Kamaiyah, RJ, Mitch, and Ty Dolla $ign. I can see this track’s music video being Blueface crip walking while YG is blood walking. This can easily be played on radio’s throughout the nation to enhance the feel of the West side. Kamaiyah goes off again on a back to back song. RJ and Mitch also have solid verses. Ty wraps up this song by bringing his soul vibe to the track. This song definitely goes to YG’s roots.
Track number twelve - “Her Story” featuring Day Sulan. Personally, I have never heard her sing before but this song left a good impression on me. This track could be an interlude. She has a good voice, a nice flow and is telling a woman’s story. I am looking to hear more from her in the future.
The deepest track by far on this album isn’t even a song - it’s a speech he gave at Nipsey Hussle’s funeral. “My Last Words”. “My brother from the other color.” He’s very sincere in how much he appreciated and admired their relationship. We love you Nip. Rest in power.
The final track is a little bit of a bonus track I think. It is a remix of “Stop Snitchin” featuring DaBaby. Knowing DaBaby hopped on this beat is something to get hype over. I think DaBaby’s verse should have gone first and then YG finishes the song. But overall this was a good remix and I will be back for more.
Overall, this album was worth the wait. Some might dispute that this is not the “real YG.” The only problem I had with this album is that it did not flow very well. It went from slow to fast and back to slow. I wish it had went slow to fast or fast to slow to make the songs flow better. This was YG at his most inspired and he elevated to a higher level with the album.