West Side Story – Tyga

Cussing. Boasting. Mummy: The sacred triptych of hip-hop. Chuck in some territorial posturing (our coast is better than your coast!), big name guest appearances and a video which jizzes a party-popper of misogyny all over MTV Base, and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed rap banger. It really is as simple as that. Promise.

Reducing any genre down to a set of tropes is an inherently glib exercise, but hip-hop undeniably revels in its own caricature, with artists presenting a fictionalised bloating of their lifestyle that depicts consumerism as a synonym of success. Reflected not just in braggadocio lyricism, the hip-hop aesthetic has permeated throughout all aspects of popular culture to become a defining metric of successive generations. Whilst this may all sound a bit Newsnight Review, the evolution of hip-hop is a fascinating example of music borne from marginalised circumstances coming in time to redefine the broader cultural landscape. Simon Schama will be all over this one day…

Now into its fifth decade, hip-hop shows no sign of middle-aged spread, with new blood perpetually revitalising the genre whilst their forefathers continue to offer support in terms of inspiration, tutorage and collaboration. Undoubtedly one of 2012’s most anticipated new-ish-comers is twenty-two-year-old Tyga; an LA-based rapper signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money imprint and benefitting from a slew of big name endorsements. Known to the DVLA as Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, Tyga (pronounced Tiger) first piqued attention with single ‘Coconut Juice’ in 2008, wherein he cannibalised Harry Nielson for a smiley hip-pop confection that drafted in cousin Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes to create a song which sounded, well, a bit like Gym Class Heroes.

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