By Thomas Johnson
Def Jam Recordings
My Krazy Life (2014) and Still Brazy (2016) are stone cold, watershed moments in West-coast gangsterism, not to mention two of the tightest conceptual albums in the greater gangsta rap oeuvre. Both transport the listener deep into YG’s cold psyche, allowing them to witness Compton’s secrets through his eyes and understand the circumstances of surviving another day in one of the most notoriously dangerous neighborhoods in North America. In a violently hectic manner, they affirmed YG as one of the most complete auteurs of his generation.
With that in mind, Stay Dangerous feels like a step backwards. It’s a perfectly serviceable album and choice cuts (“Big Bank,” “Slay,” “Bomptown Finest”) are guaranteed to be heard rattling car windows for the remainder of the summer. But the cohesion that made his first two albums so enthralling is no longer there. Reuniting with DJ Mustard, YG largely conceded the adventurousness that illuminated the darkest folds of his grey matter for a kind of manufactured consistency. YG sounds best at his most paranoid or fatalist. Here, he just sounds comfortable. Stay Dangerous is most certainly a victim of the standard YG set for himself, but when he’s proven his ability to take you into his world, simply talking about it just won’t cut it.Def Jam Recordings, Record Review, Stay Dangerous, YG