After recently releasing his debut album, No Introduction, Tyga is on his grind to prove he’s not just another forgettable artist. Yes, he’s the cousin of Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy, but Tyga has also done the near-impossible – impressed Lil’ Wayne so much that he was almost immediately signed to his Young Money imprint.
Tyga’s debut features party-themed hip-hop aimed at a younger generation and was recently MTV’s Artist of the Week. The Urban Daily recently spoke with him about his introduction to hip-hop and why old-heads just don’t understand.
The Urban Daily: First off, how did you ever get the rap name Tyga?
Tyga: My mom, actually. She always said I looked like Tiger Woods when I was a kid so she named me that. Then I kind of put my own flavor to it.
TUD: You’re originally from Compton…why didn’t you decide to base your rap style on hometown rappers like Eazy-E, Dr. Dre or The Game?
Tyga: I’m not the same person they are. Even though we grew up in the same neighborhood, I’m not them. I wanted to go into a different route and a different style than their rap, so that’s how I got my own sound.
TUD: The Internet boards say you’re a pop-rap artist, how do you feel about that classification?
Tyga: As long as they talking about me, it’s alright. The thing is… pop music is big, it’s huge. So, I have no problems with being classified that.
TUD: You’re known for having a crazy amount of tattoos. Can you tell me the story behind the tattoo that’s the most important to you?
Tyga: Above my eyebrow I have a tattoo that says GED Inc, which stands for Getting Educated Daily – that’s my crew. Of course I also got the Young Money logo and the Gym Class Heroes logo to represent my affiliations.
TUD: How did you hook up with Lil’ Wayne?
Tyga: We met at the VMAs last year. We were both performing for the Fall Out Boy Remix. We met and just stayed in contact. Eventually, I started sending him songs.
TUD: There’s a lot of talk about what Wayne is like when he records. What have your experiences been?
Tyga: It’s cool. It’s a lot of freedom. He could just be there chillin’, getting some tattoos, smoking, whatever. It’s just real comfortable and everyone’s free as far as what they want to record.
TUD: I’m sure you’re aware of Travis’s fight during Warped Tour. Do you know anything about the situation?
Tyga: I wasn’t there, but all I know is – it had to be something that made him really mad. Trav’s a really cool person and it takes a lot to get him worked up, so whatever that guy said must’ve been bad.
TUD: There are rumors floating around that you had a piece of jewelry removed from you. Can you comment on that situation?
Tyga: Yeah, I got a video up (see video below). It’s a spoof of the whole rumor, and it’ll be at the biggest hip-hop blog sites. I don’t want people to think I got it taken away, but I’m not here for all that. I’m here to be a superstar. People just want to slow you down and I’m not here for the beef.
TUD: There are also rumors that you have an issue with Yung Berg. Can you address that?
Tyga: Me? Really? I don’t even know him. I’ve only met him once.
TUD: A lot of rappers started getting political when Obama announced that he was running. How do you feel about Obama?
Tyga: Man, I think people want to see him in the White House. I hope he wins, and I know a lot will change if he do. I think the music industry will be way better. Everything is just down right now, and you can tell he has the love for the music – he even mentioned Lil’ Wayne in an interview. He’s not focused on just one thing; he’s into changing a lot of things. Music is the second or third most powerful thing in America. Everything is looking towards music and entertainers right now.
TUD: How do you feel about a lot of old-heads going at younger artists, claiming they don’t respect hip-hop?
Tyga: I just think the new generation don’t really recognize what it was back in the day. I was barely alive. I didn’t get into hip-hop till like five years ago, so I’m just not from that era. I listen to Rakim and KRS-One and all of them, and a lot of these guys are mad at us. But you can’t blame us because we weren’t around. It’s no longer relevant, so we have no need to know that stuff. It’s just a different time, and all we could do is make music for our era.