When it comes to delivering trunk-rattling, summer-worthy bangers, Tyga is as reliable as the changing seasons, and yet the Compton native always manages to surprise. The deliciously raunchy and flossy MC (born Micheal Ray Stevenson in 1989) combines his deep fandom of Jiggy-era hip-hop with a craftsman’s approach to rhyming that he picked up while being mentored by Lil Wayne from age 17 on. As an early Young Money signee, Tyga developed a smooth SoCal swag that stood out alongside Nicki Minaj and Drake (see 2009’s “BedRock”), and his work ethic was right in line—he dropped four mixtapes a year back then and began a partnership with Chris Brown that would generate albums’ worth of infectious, bass-boosted jams. Tyga broke out on his own with 2011’s enduring “Rack City,” which not only introduced the world to DJ Mustard’s menacing groove but also spawned an award-nominated adult film directed by Tyga himself. That mix of creative smarts and curveballs powered him through, among other LPs, 2015’s Kanye West-overseen The Gold Album and 2018’s wholly sung Kyoto. But just as fans began to wonder if departures were the new norm, Tyga unleashed a series of party anthems—starting with “Taste” and compiled on 2019’s Legendary—that affirmed his status as the Saint of Slappers who never actually left. Did Tyga ever doubt his place in the pantheon? “Nah,” he told Apple Music. “I sit back and wait. You can get impatient as an artist. You might see somebody else winning, but it’s all timing.” Amen.
BORNNovember 19, 1989