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ith a rap lineage that includes N.W.A, Eazy E., Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Quik and The Game, Compton, CA is mostly known for gangsta rap. But with the success of West Coast newcomer YG and his breakout single “Toot It & Boot It,” it seems like a new generation of Compton emcees are leaning away from the G-funk era. “It’s still poppin’ in Compton,” he says of his infamous city. “Niggas still getting shot and killed, ain’t nothing changed. But I saw what the West Coast music was doing…it wasn’t even gon’ be no more. That means it’s time to switch up something, so I did it myself.” What YG did was create a regional buzz that quickly grew to over a million Myspace plays and thousands of views on YouTube. When Island/Def Jam Senior VP of A&R Max Gousse saw YG perform at a nightclub in Hollywood, the Def Jam rep was blown away by the crowd’s reaction. “He saw the whole club singing my words,” YG recalls. “He flew me out to New York two weeks after that to perform in front of L.A. Reid.” YG’s performance was enough to win over the music executive, and a few weeks later, he was signed to Def Jam. “They signed me without knowing what my single was gon’ to be,” he explains. “I keep telling them, ‘Toot It & Boot it,’ but the label wasn’t sold on it. But it keep buzzing in the streets and then they just hopped on it.” Despite the label’s initial resistance to the song (which means “hit it and quit it”), the streets infatuation with “Toot It & Boot It” forced Def Jam’s support, which has subsequently led the song to a rising Billboard Hot 100 spot at press time, even to the surprise of YG himself. “I didn’t even make this song to be my single,” he says. “I made the song a year ago and put it out. And then everybody was on it. Now it’s on the radio, so it’s a blessing.” With his debut album slated for a 2011 release, a follow-up single featuring Chris Brown, and a role in the upcoming movie Where’s The Party At?, everything seems in place for YG. And he believes his new school approach to music is the key for West Coast music to return to prominence. “We gotta to make music that everybody can relate to, and just not sound like that West Coast gangsta music, like that old school shit,” he says. “We gotta come with some new shit that’s gonna catch everybody’s ears. Like ‘Toot It and Boot It,’ everybody is on that. We just gotta make more records like that.” Words by Randy Roper Photo by Julia Beverly

6 // OZONE WEST

Patiently Waiting

Ozone West #85  

Ozone West #85

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