By JackThe importance of Compton as a hub of rap excellence cannot be understated. The list of influential MCs incubated there is endless. 28 year old adopted angeleno Tyga, is not on that list.
Best known for dating Blac Chyna – another celebrity who patently can not spell – as well as an ingénue Kylie Jenner, Tyga also does music. He’s risen to prominence with a meatheaded take on the club-minded trap that has come to dominate the charts.
Over fifty plus minutes, Kyoto makes a compelling argument for Tyga himself being forced down a well with a caber – along with trap in its entirety. This album is absolutely endless, and one of the most miserable listening experiences of the year.
The set dressing is familiar: cash money, ‘ice’, dollar bills, rubber bands (to hold the same). Usually these are totemic – and speak to a struggle against the system, or at least against prejudicial assumption. Tyga’s references are by rote – he knows rap songs are supposed to be about bling, and he happens to have some.
I’m not above having some yappy kid extolling the virtues of stacks and supercars – but at least sound like you mean it.
‘Temperature’ is not a bad way to start, with a dancehall flavour that is smooth enough to please the ear, if not the brain. Kyoto‘s downfall is its foolhardy effort to engage the latter when it barely has a grip on the former. The whole project is soaked in a drizzle of icky, pseudo-sophisticate huxter spirituality.
‘King of the Jungle’ and ‘Hard2Look’ have no pace at all, moving with a fuddled and stumbling gait. ‘Come Ball Wit Me’ unintentionally mirrors this scene from Scary Movie.
808s, monotone synth melodies, programmed hi-hats recur with the predictability of carousel horses. ‘Train 4 This’ appears to borrow the cadence of that Nelly-Kelly Rowland collab. ‘Leather in the Rain’ is engaging enough to make the C-List at the shop floor in Zara.
Drake & Kanye deserve credit for making smoothed-off, electronic R&B a viable ticket. Their success only highlights the necessity of range – and personality – to fully inhabit this style. Tyga lacks presence. Some of the arrangements have a pleasing sheen to them, but that’s where the fun stops.
Kyoto was conceived as a chance to “step in front of the narrative and create my own story.” Truth in advertising: Kyoto reveals Tyga to be a trend-aping hack, with the stunted flow you’d expect of Jason Mendoza. The presenting na’vi on the cover art says it all.