For up and coming musicians, an open door is a gift and a curse. For some, it can be daunting to come behind superstars, lost in their shadows with a "Bleek" (word to Memphis) future. For others, it can be glorious, as was the case with Snoop and Eminem. So, when you hear "So and so's protégé has a new album," you may have your legitimate doubts. All of this is said to bring us Tyga, a young emcee who is on Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment and Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz's Decaydence. His cousin, lead vocalist for Gym Class Heroes, Travis McCoy has added his endorsement and the Compton-bred rapper seems poised for success. Talk about an open door, right? The man's got a first class ticket, an open door and excellent room service. But, is that enough to turn out a great album?
"Diamond Life" kicks the album off, with some lyrical substance. "My taste of fame couldn't compare to what I seen/ Them dyin', government lyin'...Moms cryin'." His next verse gives more insight, explaining that he wants to share some of his life's stories. "Just thought you would love to know the person, far from perfect."
Tyga stays in the lane of pop more often than not with "Supersize Me," which stumbles after "Coconut Juice," a widely popular, catchy hit for the Summer. Without missing a step, he strikes back with the introspective "Don't Regret It Now," where he tucks some inspirational tales about broken families as Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump assists on the hook:
"What about little Jason up in prison/You think an 8 year old had bad intensions?/ Pulling a trigger on dad, just barely hit him/ Just wanted to protect mom from the brutal hittins/ But, he a kid so it's their word against his/ Mom won't even testify, scared of husband/ So, he in for some years/ Don't even know what he did/ But he can't regret it now cause it's too late."
He follows this with some terrible love songs. "Pillow Talkin'" is a nice, albeit generic attempt at a love ballad, but "Aim" (about AOL Instant Messaging lovers) and "First Timers" (a weak attempt to remake Slick Rick's "Teenage Love" with a horrid rock hook that sounds like a boy band from the 90's recorded it) stain the album with flaws. "Cartoonz" is a conceptual song gone awry. "EST. (80's Baby)" is another flawed concept that makes little sense.
He revitalizes his own cause with the laid back "Summertime" that speaks to Los Angeles like the Black Mamba. Another highlight comes in "2 AM," where he discusses his step father's abusive ways, his grandmother's racist attitude, his mother's selfishness and his drive to "do something right" with his life. His ability to derive soulful rhymes from his life's tribulations set this kid apart from many out now. That passion for truth is worth congratulating.
No Introduction is a nice album for the teens with a few gems sprinkled in between. While the album isn't exactly great, it does have a lot to applaud. He's got many bright spots going for him. He can make some catchy tracks, sure but what impresses is that the guy with so many co-signs refuses to falter by being a fake Weezy or fall into some cliché trap of a thug emcee's act. When he is himself, he can command attention. It's also fair to note that there is some talent here. Whether on an alcohol-free anthem for the radio or a somber song to inspire, the kid's got potential to make excellent records. Still, mindless tracks don't make for a good track record, so making songs about AOL love and having some awful rock-heavy hooks just lends corny to awful. He's already got all the co-signs necessary to break into the mainstream world, and once Tyga captures his attitude, his muse for life and allows himself to dig deeper, he has a chance at carrying the Compton legacy even further. No Introduction isn't the best entrance, but the door didn't slam in his face. On the contrary, the door is still wide open.