Tyga: 'I Feel Like A Visionary'

27 October 2022 | 12:12 pm | Mary Varvaris

"I sometimes think that for some artists, it's good to keep up the mystique. I don't want people to know what I'm doing every day, every hour of the day, you know?"

(Image: Supplied)

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Tyga is one of the most famous, successful young rappers in the world right now.

He's returning to Australia for the first time in three years, promising a brand-new stage set-up and an extravagant show. Playing headline shows this December, the It's Too Loud I Can't Hear You tour will hit Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. His new banger, Fantastic, will appear on setlists, as well as the hits Taste, Lightskin Lil Wayne, Goddam, and Haute.

"I'm so excited to bring new music and new energy. I'm coming as summertime starts, so the weather's gonna be nice," Tyga laughs. "I feel like you guys quarantined the longest out of everybody. So, I think people are excited about concerts and having fun again down there.

"The shows will be different to what I've done before. Production-wise, sound-wise, and song-wise, I'm changing a lot of stuff. This is definitely gonna be the first time I'm doing something that improves the show at this level. It's gonna be a spectacle!"

Starting his musical career 15 years ago, Tyga gained the attention of Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes with his 2007 debut mixtape, Young On Probation. McCoy subsequently offered Tyga a record deal on DCD2 Records, founded by Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz.

Tyga released his debut album, No Introduction, in June 2008. Later that year, after meeting Lil Wayne at the 2008 VMA's, he signed a new record deal with Wayne's label, Young Money Entertainment. The Fan Of A Fan mixtape, released with Chris Brown and collaborators Bow Wow, Wayne, and Kevin McCall, followed.

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His second album, Careless World: Rise Of The Last King, was released in February 2012. The album signified a heel turn from the poppier rap music of his debut record. In April 2013, Tyga unveiled his third album, Hotel California, featuring 2Chainz and Wiz Khalifa, among many other collaborators.

"Every artist brings something different to a record, so I kind of like to collab," Tyga says about learning from his peers and the music they create together. "I really try to bring them to my world but still keep them in their world, so it just blends the right way."

Kanye West executively produced his fourth album, The Gold Album, which was mired in controversies. Tyga claimed that Young Money Entertainment was holding his music hostage and that he was considering leaking the album. In June 2015, the album was finally released but performed poorly despite his sequel mixtape with Chris Brown, Fan Of A Fan: The Album, released in February 2015, peaking at #7 on the Billboard Hot 200 with massive guest spots like 50 Cent, Pusha T, T.I., Ty Dolla Sign, and more.

In September 2016, Tyga signed with West's G.O.O.D. Music imprint, a subsidiary of Def Jam Recordings. BitchImTheShit2, his fifth album and sequel to his 2011 mixtape, #BitchImTheShit, was released in June 2017. His sixth record, Kyoto, was released in February 2018 and ditched Tyga's previous hip-hop stylings.

Tyga reflects on where he came from and how that influences him today, recalling, "When I was younger, I used to always record myself making my own beat," he begins. "So, I think staying hands-on and remembering when I first started recording in my room; I'm just trying to keep that same rawness and fill into the music, you know? Not try to overthink it too much. And just do as I feel."

The commercial comeback of Tyga began in May 2018, following the smash shit Taste, featuring Offset, which peaked at #8 US Billboard Hot 100 and is certified as 4x platinum by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA).

His seventh album, Legendary, appeared in June 2019 and performed well in Australia, peaking at #12 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The platinum album accumulated over 5 billion streams in under a year. The record came after the release of the singles, Swish, Dip featuring Nicki Minaj and a feature on Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea's platinum single, Kream.

His most recent mixtape, Well Done Fever, was released in December 2020. Since then, Tyga has shared many singles, most notably Sip It, again with Iggy Azalea, and his cheeky hit with Doja Cat, Freaky Deaky, hitting #29 on the ARIA Singles Chart.

The track marks the second collaboration with Doja Cat since featuring on her song, Juicy, in 2019. Freaky Deaky is one of the numerous rap songs to interpolate the Suzanne Vega hit, Tom's Diner. The lead single to Tyga's untitled upcoming eighth album is "about 80 per cent done". It will most likely drop "sometime early summer," according to a recent interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1.

He also told Lowe that Doja "is a real artist. And I think we see that from her outfits, her Lives, her TikToks, but that's what makes her her, and she's a real true artist, and that's what I appreciate about her. Working with her is real easy. It's like working with Chris [Brown]. I feel like Chris, and Lil Wayne are two people I can go to the studio with and make a great record in 30 minutes."

Something his fans praise Tyga for is consistency. They can rely on him to bring straight-up club bangers, intense trap, and a personality that outshines others in the game. He finds motivation to continually stand out and create new sounds by pulling inspiration from his forbearers.

"I find inspiration from the love for the culture and music and just being passionate. I'm always trying to figure out how I can give people a different feeling," he says. There comes a challenge, though: how do you retain the old-school fans while evolving?

"I still try to give my fans the same feeling that they fell in love when they first heard my music or, you know, the first experiences they had with my music. I'm trying to figure out how to evolve without evolving too far from my beginnings, you know?"

Tyga launched his fashion label, Last Kings, in 2016 in collaboration with designer Marcelo Burton to create an Asian and Egyptian-inspired streetwear collection; fashion and music are inextricably linked for the artist. "Fashion moves fast, just as fast as music, you know," he starts. It's all part of the art for Tyga. "Whether it's videos, whatever you're wearing in a video, the theme of your stage or your videos, has to all make sense with the music.

"I never really follow a trend and try not to keep up. I stay on the pulse. I see what's next, and I go off what I feel and go off my gut and try to be early," Tyga laughs. He'll never be a trend hopper; he'd rather innovate.

"Sometimes being too early is not good. But no, people always go back and say, Oh wow, this record is great. My record, Ice Cream Man, which I put out seven years ago, has gone viral on TikTok and now it's streaming good again. It's crazy, you know, seven years later, that kids and people discover a song, and it blows up."

Staying away from trends and following his own path comes naturally to Tyga – it's part of who he is. "I've never been someone who has to be on-trend, you know, I feel like everybody's time is different; everybody's success comes at different times. You have to stick to what you know, what your thing is, or what you do best. That worked for me," he explains.

Tyga finds the most joy from his loved ones' happiness; it's something he's thankful for every day. "Having a vision and seeing it through and, you know, seeing people around you happy brings me happiness and joy," he says.

"To be able to have an effect on people, whether it be through conversation or giving presents or friendships or through music, you know, and see how other people are affected by you, I think it's amazing to influence people positively. It's definitely something worth living for."

As valuable a tool social media can be in sharing information, Tyga draws back where he can to maintain some mystery. "It's a lot of information. I think social media is good and bad, like most things. We have too much information and access, but it's good for you if you can take that information and do the right thing with it.

"For somebody like me, a creative person, I feel like a visionary. So, I'm always thinking and seeing a vision and a long game," he continues. "I don't post all the time. Because I sometimes think that for some artists, it's good to keep up the mystique. I don't want people to know what I'm doing every day, every hour of the day, you know?"

When he's not busy creating music or fashion, touring or promoting his art, Tyga enjoys kicking back with a good sci-fi, horror or crime film or television series, including Netflix's The Watcher and the iconic American Horror Story. Regarding cinema, Tyga revealed that his favourite movies are Scarface, Casino, and The Mask, the latter of which he calls an "underdog story and tone" that he resonates with. "It's somebody coming from nothing to something."

You can find tickets to the It's Too Loud I Can't Hear You tour on the MJR website.




Tue 13 Dec - RAC Arena, Perth

Wed 14 Dec - AEC Theatre, Adelaide

Fri 16 Dec - Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall

Sat 17 Dec - John Cain Arena, Melbourne

Sun 18 Dec - Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney