When Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, better known by his stage name Tyga, dropped his debut Young Money album, "Careless World — Rise of the Last King," last February, the then 22-year-old rapper had finally arrived on the scene after being an underground artist for most of his young career.
With a little more than a year removed from the success of "Careless World," Tyga is back with his sophomore album under the same label, "Hotel California," which was released Tuesday.
While Tyga is mostly known for his club-banging, heavy bass tracks like "Rack City" and "Faded," "Careless World" showcased the rapper's versatility and story-telling abilities, and "Hotel California" is no different.
For the listeners that want to try and blow their car speakers, Tyga once again delivers the necessary sounds to do so.
Songs like "Get Loose" and "Hit 'Em Up" are the best that Tyga has ever created, easily topping the club hits that made him popular in 2012. The bass drops heavier on these tracks and lyrically, Tyga separates himself from other "hard" rappers by actually spitting good rhymes on these songs.
The softer songs, which is a style that only true Tyga fans know about, aren't as prevalent as they were in 2012's "Careless World." But when they do show up, they provide an excellent change of pace from all the head bobbing and hand throwing that fans will be doing as they listen. The tracks "For The Road" and "Drive Fast, Live Young" are masterful, perfect examples of how @Tyga (his Twitter username) is more than just a hood rapper.
With a name like "Hotel California," it was expected that the Compton, Calif., native would incorporate more of a West Coast style than usual, and for the most part he makes Cali proud. The songs "It Neva Rains" and "M.O.E. (Music Over Everything)" give the feel of fellow Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar's music mixed with the unique rapping style of the "Last King." The combination of the two will leave listeners nodding their heads as they envision themselves cruising down the beachside of Southern California.
If there was any problem with Tyga's music prior to this album, it was his tendency to only feature his fellow Young Money members like Drake, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. "Hotel California" lays that issue to rest with features from some rappers outside the Young Money realm. Guest verses from 2 Chainz in "Hijack," Wiz Khalifa in "Molly" and "M.O.E.," and Rick Ross in "Dope" make the songs worth keeping on repeat.
While the album didn't top "Careless World" (which is a difficult feat), Tyga definitely came through with another successful collection of songs that will continue to push him toward the top.
Tyga will be headlining Volapalooza 2013 on Friday, April 26 at Thompson-Boling Arena with Beats Antique and DJ Mike Nasty.