I tried hard on this one. I didn’t set out today attempting to post on this, Travie McCoy (of Gym Class Heroes’) younger cousin’s first real crack at the big time. In fact, I wouldn’t have even given the track a second thought if it weren’t for the inimitable pulling power of the guest on that feature tag. It’s precisely the nepotistic, hugely circular fashion in which modern, mainstream hip-hop is being churned out these days that really provokes today’s post. It took a full weekend of walking between Columbus Circle and 69th Street on the Upper West Side of New York to fully crystalise my thoughts on the current state of affairs but having made the journey about eight times in two days with nothing more than a phone with six badly selected tracks on it (rush job, in order of appearance: Groove Armada, Childish Gambino, Khaled, Posner – don’t ask – The Field and SBTRKT) and the capacity to tap into New York City’s Hot97 FM, I can now say with full certainty that the hip-hop radio in this country is a) ridiculously disinterested in playing songs in their entirety without sharp jabs of airhorn, shout-outs and other moves designed to distract and b) ridiculously oversaturated with Maybach and Young Money Music.
That Tyga would even have a leg to stand on if he wasn’t part of the YMCMB conglomerate is seriously questionable. Before coming across ‘Still Got It’ featuring ya boy Drake brought to you by the Trey Songz live in concert weekend live and local reppin’ the heavy hitters for real we at Club 11 tonight spinning bangers for your Saturday night bloooooo bloo bloo blooooooo (my estimation of airhorn sounds), I had very little conception of the 21 year old Compton local’s talent. Bar the generic ‘California Love’ track that riffed on an Estelle song that riffed on a ripper track from showbiz outsider Tony Orlando called ‘Lazy Susan’ (too much information?), there was nothing to particularly recommend the kid who could rap capably enough but had no real distinct style going on. If you asked me to give an approximation of Tyga a couple of weeks back I would’ve answered something like “a younger, slightly angrier, less introspective and more gangsta version of Kid Cudi who has the rangy swagger to get somewhere but could just as easily fizzle out before he gets his one shot at crossover appeal.” Now he’s got Drake on deck and the YMCMB midas touch tickling his career prospects and suddenly, everything’s coming up Tyga.
‘Still Got It’ kills me for its enigmatic excellence. Noah ’40’ Shebib, the producer behind last week’s most anticipated leak and this week’s most celebrated release just knows what to do with his charge, Drake’s voice so that the way it contorts and wraps itself, vocoded around kick drum and hi-hat is so fascinating that you lose sight of and interest in what exactly it is Tyga is saying. 40 is a magician, a total witchdoctor of tone. He’s able to produce myriad tracks that sound like near-enough approximations of each other and yet infuse each with some personal touch. Here, it’s the looping of Drake’s ‘ows’ and some anonymous ‘yeahs’ that sustain interest over a chorus essentially founded on five words. Tyga, for his part, comes to the party and, potentially aware of the significance of this track to his ongoing viability as an artist, delivers some nice intertextual references to Biggie and Ginuwine in a voice that sounds more polished and self-assured and less, as was the case with his earlier work, super-excited and desperately trying. Even chopped and screwed by the unforgiving DJs of New York, it’s hard to doubt the sentiment or the execution of Tyga’s big outting. ‘Still Got It’ is nothing groundbreaking but damn it’s good to strut to over 97 Mhz.
Tyga – Still Got It Ft. Drake