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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

RAPPER TYGA OPENS UP IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH VIBE MAGAZINE "KINGUNCHAINED"

Courtesy of Vibe Magazine Online 
Seated by himself on a small couch, Tyga is waiting for his lunch to arrive. The room is eye candy for architects and interior designers: high ceilings, exposed beams and hanging light fixtures contrast antique elements like the rows of Victorian picture frames adorning an entire wall. Then there’s this claw foot tub brought in for him to recreate Tupac Shakur’s iconic almost-nude photo (Pac’s privates are hidden by gold galore).

Tyga immediately scraps the tub idea. “I just don’t wanna recreate things that have been done,” he says. “Especially something so legendary.”

A large curtain separates him from two bodyguards perched on stools about six feet away. Tyga’s troop for the day includes his publicist, assistant, nanny, barber, and 2-year-old son King. For a man with an entourage, T-Raww is much more of a recluse than one would assume—or maybe he’s just overdue for some alone time.

There’s been a lot of emphasis on crew love in Tyga’s space over the years. It was 2007 when Lil Wayne recruited the Compton native to Young Money Entertainment. That was two years before Nicki Minaj and Drake blossomed into Tunechi’s big money brands. In five years, Drake has sold over 25 million albums and singles combined, and topped the Beatles this year for the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100. Then there’s Nicki, the feisty Queens spitter who can go bar for bar with the boys. Minaj signed with Young Money in 2009 and already has more Hot 100 hits than Michael Jackson (Though MJ’s output wasn’t nearly as bloated as today’s artists). She’s the first woman to simultaneously fill the No. 1 and No. 2 slots on the iTunes singles charts, both of her albums debuted at No. 1 and her “Starships” single had a record 21-week run atop Billboard.

By comparison, Tyga has yet to hit his sales stride, despite “Rack City’s” quadruple platinum certification. His third album, Hotel California, released last year, was a commercial flop. But the separation goes beyond stats.YMCMB couldn’t be more unified. Rich Homie Quan, and Young Thug are the new class of Rich Gang affiliates, while Nicki and Drake remain wholly committed to Wayne’s army. At Hot 97’s Summer Jam this year, Drake squashed his rumored micro-beef with Minaj by hitting the stage with her and Wayne. Tyga’s absence from the love fest, as well as the Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour (Y.G., was added to the tour for West Coast dates) was a tip-off that Tyga wasn’t top-of-mind at home base.

Now, as he readies The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty, Tyga is demanding attention from his team. Everything about the album—whose title is a nod to Tyga’s obsession with ancient Egyptians—is authentic to who he is currently. This album wasn’t made for the La Marina and Toxic set. As Tyga vaguely explains, it’s more “vibe music.” He’s anxious to get the project out, even if that means publicly criticizing the label. The day after VIBE’S cover shoot, he threatened to leak the LP via Twitter if Young Money didn’t give him a release date.
Photo courtesy of Miss Info

YMCMB president Mack Maine shot back through his own tweet, warning Tyga to take ownership of his shortcomings. Minaj then unfollowed him. Days later, he released “40 Mill,” one of the many Kanye West-produced cuts from his new album. Yeah, that Mr. West. He might now have the attention he was looking for.

VIBE: You’ve got a music Jedi helping you with this new record. How did the Kanye collaboration come about?

TYGA: I would always go to his crib or studio, sit in, learn and analyze how he does things. He just told me to come to the studio one day and gave Big Sean and me this long speech. He was saying what it is, and what we need to do as young artists and how we need to take control of this shit. We got the voice and people follow what we do. It was real inspirational. He was like, “If you guys want me to help you produce your albums, and co-executive produce it, I’m here. I just want to help everybody.” So, once I heard that, I was like “Aw man! Let me start!” So I started playing the joints that I was already working on and he started critiquing ‘em. I started switching things up. Like things I wouldn’t even think about on a track, that he thought of, and it just switched the whole vibe of the song. So stuff like that and starting from scratch on other things. I think it’s gonna be good to have somebody that hears music sonically like he does.

It’s gotta be surreal having someone with such an expansive playbook coaching you.
I think I’ve always been inspired by him, Jay Z, Eminem and Wayne. I know how Wayne works. I’ve been around him since I was 17. I always was around Wayne like when he was recording Tha Carter III, so I saw his journey from when he was great, and when he became greatness in the eyes of the world. I took a lot of notes from that. So now just to see another artist [West] that’s considered one of the greatest and how he does things, it’s two different worlds. I don’t know how to really describe it. I get inspired being around Wayne, I get inspired being around ‘Ye. At the end of the day it’s [about] finding what you’re great at. That’s my main thing.

Are you closer to finding that out?
Yeah, for sure.

It’s a journey.
Yeah, but also my fan base is younger so it’s different. In my world, if you’re a young artist and you don’t have anything in the club for college kids to play, you’re not relevant. You could be a dope lyricist, a great hip-hop artist with great stories, but if you you don’t have something in the club for these college kids that come to your shows…and that’s what ‘Ye was saying. It’s really not about what you did anymore. People don’t even care about history; they just care about what’s relevant. ’Ye was like he always wants to do something that’s relevant and always take it to the next level, and I never really thought about that.


Do you ever feel like the kid who isn’t being allowed to grow?

Nah, ‘cause when I came out, I still had tattoos, so it’s not like I came out and I was like 14. But I don’t know…I love doing music. I love putting music out. I love doing shows, I love putting albums out, but do I love the rap game? No. I do like to be able to make music. I just don’t like all the other bullshit that comes with rap.

What’s the other bullshit?
Gossip, sacrifices, media and all the negativity that comes with it. People think you’re a museum artifact. I can be with my son somewhere eating and people come up and just start rapping. I don’t know if people think rappers are ignorant, so people act ignorant towards rappers. But it’s just kinda like ‘Dude…

It’s what comes with being friends with the Kardashians and Kanye West. How do you try to maintain privacy?
You can’t [maintain privacy]. At the end of the day I didn’t ask to be famous, I don’t have a reality show. I’ve had a million offers to do reality shows. That’s just not what I’m into. I like doing music. I don’t want to be famous. But it’s cool to be more known so you can get the music out [to more people]. And don’t get me wrong; being famous, being a celebrity or whatever, it’s a gift and a curse. You get a lot of good things that comes with it, but also, you gotta know how to maintain your sanity and stay at peace with yourself.

How much does your son play into helping you maintain your sanity?
A lot. He doesn’t understand anything that’s going on right now. But that stuff, it just doesn’t matter to [children], that’s what I had to think about. I [saw] an interview where Jay Z said—they asked him something about all the negativity that he gets, and him and Beyonce and all that—and he was just like the more negative it gets, the more successful [you’re] getting.


Photo Courtesy of Sandra Rose
Do you agree?
In a way because your success sometimes means people’s failure. Some people don’t know why they don’t like you. I think it’s just like, when you’re sitting at home sometimes and you feel like your life is not moving as fast as you want it to move, or as planned, you look at the next person and you’re like, “Look how this person is living!” and then it just becomes negative.

Is it hard for you to maneuver through this life and be a single father?
It’s definitely harder. Like you said, you got personal life things out there and then you got stuff out there that’s like…you can’t even really defend yourself, or else you’ll be spending your time doing it every day. I read something that said I kicked my baby’s mother out the house. Crazy stuff like that, that’s not true. We had our differences, yes. But we decided to take a break and do what’s best for King at this moment.



So it’s all love between you and Blac Chyna?
Yeah. We decided to take a break apart ‘cause you don’t wanna raise an emotionally unstable child, and that’s what it comes down to. It wasn’t my happiness, and it wasn’t her happiness. It was for the sake of King.

You’re saying a break, so there’s a possibility that you haven’t closed that door?
I mean, of course I love her. I had a kid with her for a reason. We were together for two years, but sometimes people need to see what life really is without the other person. [They need to experience life] without Prince Charming and really learn responsibility. You can’t change a person. A person is always gonna be who they came to the table [as]. You can improve a person’s potential, you can help guide that person but at the end of the day, they’re gonna make their own decisions.

Have you seen differences?
I think she’s improving a lot. She’s becoming more focused on her business. Because it’s hard, when you’re sitting there…I’m on tour, you’re thinking about if I’m with girls or not when the main thing is like, "Yo, I’m on tour making money, while you’re living in this big ass house, taking care of our beautiful son." That’s the goal. A lot of women don’t realize this. They watch like…

Love & Hip Hop? [Laughs]
Yeah, Love & Hip Hop. I don’t even watch VH1, ‘cause it’s poison. A lot of women watch that stuff and it just takes them off the focus of what they think happiness is. As you get older the main goal is to have a family. That’s what it’s all about because you can be successful, have a lot of money, or whatever you do in life, but if you don’t have nobody to share it with, or family, it ain’t gonna matter.

Also, what I realized is black women don’t have a lot of role models as far as other black women. On some real shit, there’s black women that don’t look up to Oprah or Michelle Obama, because they’re looking at Instagram, they’re looking at VH1. I think that’s what the real problem is. It’s no real black [female] role models. As a black man, we have a lot of role models. Like looking at Diddy, Russell Simmons, Jay Z, Kanye, Tupac, those are people we can super relate to, so it’s easier for men.

You appear to be a wise 24. Do you feel older?
Yeah, exactly. I think life is just about being happy now. But you gotta’ really know what’s going on and that’s really what’s going on. Like black women man, it’s sad right now.

Is that what the relationship taught you?
No, I already knew that so when I was ready to do that, and I had a kid. I had a kid for a reason, not by accident. I was tryna’ build something. A lot of people don’t realize that until it’s too late, so all you can do is continue to help people and move forward. Maybe something will go off in that person’s head or whatever one day. But I can’t blame her ‘cause I understand. It’s how we were raised, and then you go look at a white family—not to sound racist or anything—but those families stick together. It’s way different.
The Kardashians fit the profile. Speaking of, you’re not dating Kylie Jenner?
Kylie? Nah. See the thing about Kylie… I’ve known Kylie and the whole family for four years. I introduced Chyna to Kim about a year ago. So everybody’s been cool, but like it’s just so hard, their world is different. If somebody wanna hang out, cool, I’m not opposed to hanging out with somebody. I hang out with her [Kylie], her sister [Kendall], I hang out with Scott [Disick] sometimes, I hang out with Khloe sometimes. But people wanna take the situation [with Kylie] to the next level.

The perception that’s out there on you doesn’t match the real life individual.
Yeah, my biggest song is “Rack City.” It’s just like a party song about a stripper. But anybody that meets me knows I’m a genuine person when they talk to me. I just didn’t want to make music like this, I didn’t want to be labeled, and I didn’t want to be no backpack rapper. I wanted to make music I can party and have fun to and that’s what I like doing. But if you talk to me, it’s a whole other thing.

“I don’t like Drake as a person. He’s just fake to me. I like his music; you know what I’m saying? I think his music is good, but we’re all different people.”

Is Young Money a part of the creative process on this album?
Nah. I tend to distance myself from them.

Are you trying to break out on your own?
Yeah, I’m tryna’ go independent. I don’t really get along with Drake. I don’t really get along with Nicki.

Why?
I don’t like Drake as a person. He’s just fake to me. I like his music; you know what I’m saying? I think his music is good, but we’re all different people. We were forced together and it was kinda’ like we were forcing relationships together. It is what it is. But I been friends with Chris [Brown] for like six years. That’s my real genuine friend. We hang out all the time. He lives up the street from me, so we don’t just do music we hang. I think being signed to Young Money, everybody felt like they had to force a relationship ‘cause Wayne put us together. At the end of the day the reason why I signed to Young Money is because of Wayne. Not because of Drake, not because of Nicki. It was because of Wayne and my relationship with him. I try to be cool with everybody, but sometimes, everybody just has different personalities, motives, and different characters. When you realize that, you realize that’s not a place where you want to continue to grow.

You made a comment about you and Chris being real friends. How did you support him in the middle of all he’s gone through?
When he was going through everything, I didn’t care. We just clicked. I don’t look at the media because I know it’s not real what they put on you. You gotta vibe with a person. I know when I used to vibe with him he wasn’t the person that people were making him out to be.



Did you reach out to him or go visit him while he was behind bars?

No he didn’t have visitors. I visited him when he was in rehab because that was close to my house so I used to take my son up there. Hang out with him whatever….but I think basically, he got his album out, which is good. I think this album that we’re gonna put out [Fan of a Fan 2], people are really gonna’ gravitate to it.

Have you decided when it’s coming out?
Nah. [Chris, Trey Songz and myself] are going on tour soon, but me and Chris’s album might not drop [this year]. It’s supped to drop Christmas but, if it doesn’t I think Valentines Day is cool too. We gotta’ figure out what’s best and the right plan but all the music is there.

What jewel would you deliver to the younger version of yourself? 
Distance yourself from people and stay focused. When I had a kid, my focus changed. I wanted a kid, so my focus started to change ‘cause ideally I don’t wanna’ be talking to all these girls.

You’re the family guy.
All that other stuff, it’s just in the way. It has no meaning. So you try to find more people and more things that are meaningful. A lot of this stuff in life, it’s not meaningful. Why would you waste your time doing a bunch of nothing?