The West Coast Don marks Yukmouth‘s [click to read] first album since leaving Rap-A-Lot Records. Crafted by 13 different producers, the album features a plethora of guest appearances, including an unprecedented collaboration with R&B crooner T-Pain [click to read]. Kicking off with the hard-hitting Scarface-inspired “Cocka Roaches,” the self-proclaimed Don fires a warning shot at other west coast talent, aggressively spitting, “You never can kill a fire-breathing dragon with a dome shot, faggot / But I can make you spray yourself with your own glock / How the fuck you the king of the west, and you ain’t welcomed on your own block?“
In an attempt to achieve more airplay, Yukmouth has scattered more R&B-assisted cuts throughout the project than previous efforts. The album’s lead single “I’m A Gangsta” provides a midtempo, smooth balance between Ray J [click to read] and newcomer Dysonn‘s singing and Yuk and Crooked I‘s [click to view] gritty lyricism. Although, in comparison to previous collaborations on “Kalifornia G’z” and “Wake They Game Up,” the Slaughterhouse member’s latest verse is comparably shortchanged. While probably not “greatest hits worthy,” the T-Pain-assisted “44” provides a potential future single with commercial appeal. On the hustler anthem “Up All Nite,” The Jacka [click to read] and Yukmouth are reunited after a two-year hiatus alongside Matt Blaque and Glasses Malone [click to read]. Rhyming on the The Slapboyz-produced track, Mr. $1.7 Million mockingly spits, “How it feel to lose yo girl to an out of shape, nigga? / All that time at the gym, didn’t even matter / You don’t gotta slim down when yo pockets getting fatter.”
For the melodic “Blind Livin'” has Yukmouth, Dysonn, and Tha Realest reminisce on P-KillerTrackz‘s mellow guitar riff instrumental. Over the Rap-Rock fusion, the fellow The Regime member rhymes, “I love my nigga that’s down to kill / Then escape the crime scene and come by and chill / He was blind though / So sick in the mind yo / He never worked with feelings / He was so blind bro / He’s blind livin.'” Fed up with snitching, Yuk pays homage to the incarcerated Black Mafia Family boss on the piano-laced “Big Meech,” featuring a cell phone conversation with the infamous Detroit native. On the Knock-produced “Go Home,” Yukmouth preaches about prison life, rhyming, “And be cool with them deputies / Respect they gangsta / Cuz they’ll slide one of these inmates a blade to straight shank ya / Catch you while you out on the phone / Or in the shower alone / He got shanked eight times in the dome.”
Bonded with an Arab-esque synthesizer hook and 808 drums, the street single “Da Town” provides an ode to the birthplace of Hyphy by four Oakland natives. On the mellow, macked out P-Killer Trackz-produced “Pimpin 4 Real” Bay Area legend Mac Dre is lyrically resurrected alongside Dysonn and The Regime member Dru Down. Holding true to tradition, the album culminates with the quintessential The Regime posse cut “Sum Dem Murder,” with producers Arson and Knoxx sampling lyrics by M.I.A. on the hook.
While Yukmouth‘s solo albums have always been a mixed bag, The West Coast Don is arguably Yuk‘s weakest solo effort to date, with lesser-known production, excessive usage of Auto-Tune, and unflattering filler tracks like “They Like My Swag,” and “Got Gwop.” More broadly, the album falls short of recent The Regime solo projects such as Tech N9ne‘s Sickology 101 [click to read] and Tha Realest‘s Witness Tha Realest. Surfacing one year after Yuk‘s disappointing Million Dollar Mouthpiece, the album was undoubtedly rushed. Although a seemingly bigger budget may help the onetime Luniz star show his Bay stardom to new markets, the album lacks the focus in sound and thought necessary to endure in fast-moving times.