Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic
Released April 9, 2013
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
When you think of Young Money, you think of three names: Wayne, Nicki, Drake…and in no particular order. Sure, you have at least 5 more artists that are legitimately signed to the label. However, you get the feeling that they won’t see the light of day, and if they do, the sun may or may not shine in their direction. Enter Compton rapper Tyga, who, actually, had one of the more promising YMCMB releases last year with his Careless World LP. With “Rack City” being one of the biggest hip-hop hits of the year, it only made sense for the lil homie to go back into the lab and cook up another joint. his third overall release (and second for Young Money), Hotel California, is an obvious nod to his homestate, as Tyga attempts to capitalize on his momentum.
The album starts off with the decent “500 Degrees,” which features Lil Wayne, who offers a verse more cohesive than 90 percent of IANAHB2. The song’s also a throwback to Lil Wayne’s landmark LP of the same name, which took a cue from Juvenile’s landmark CM album 400 Degrees. The cues don’t stop there. The single “Dope” follows, and EVERYBODY should know what that bassline is. But, I’ll digress. The song plays like a more hardcore version of “Rack City.” Officer William Roberts checks in for his typical guest 16. The song’s not bad, it just doesn’t break any new ground.
Unfortunately, you’ll find yourself saying that a lot throughout this LP. Save for the exceptional verses on “Diss Song,” and the Jadakiss featured “Hit Em Up,” there aren’t a whole lot of standout moments here. “Molly” suffers from a lack of a good hook, “For The Road” is a breakup song that’s cool. “Show You” couldn’t be saved by the Future hook. “It Neva Rains” is a formula that should have worked, but for some reason, it didn’t. The beats are good: most of the songs have good production behind them. Truth is, Tyga didn’t grow much as an artist from the first LP to the next. Beats can’t save you if you’re the problem. Unfortunately, the stakes are a little too high for him not to do so at this point. Let’s hope he gets an opportunity to focus on his songwriting a little more before his 2014 LP hits.