Label: Young Money / Cash Money / Republic Records
Released: April 9, 2013
Okay, lets get this out of the way first: it was a huge mistake for Young Money rapper Tyga to name his third album Hotel California. For those old enough to recall the classic Eagles album it references, it positions Tygas effort in an unenviable and inevitable position of comparison despite the fact the two LPs are in different musical genres; for those too young to know the Eagles album exists, the reference is completely lost.
This odd sort of paying homage to earlier, better works is a mistake Tyga makes consistently throughout this rather weak, flaccid effort. The album opener is titled 500 Degrees and features mentor Lil Wayne. But, wait. In the early aughts, Wayne had already made a song (and album) called 500 Degrees, a diss-of-sorts to former labelmate Juvenile. And while the YM capo fares better than his protégé, the song itself is still a bland affair.
The Tony Toni Toné sampling It Neva Rains is another terrible track, with its laughable attempt at mimicking Kanye Wests signature soul style and meshing it with out-of-place Vocoder effects. Hit Em Up, featuring a bored Jadakiss, not only borrows the title of one of Tupacs most visceral songs, it also dares to layer Tygas wack lyrics with vocals from Pac himself! Its a song thats sure to earn the side-eye from many a listener.
The list of offenses goes on and on. Songs with names like Get Rich, Dont Hate Tha Playa, Get Loose, and Enemies are exactly what you think theyd be about and Tyga does nothing to put a unique spin on such tried-and-true themes. The production, handled by a squad of C-list beat makers, including Cool & Dre, does nothing to elevate the disc beyond weed plate status.
To be fair, there are a few decent tracks on Hotel California. The pill-popping ode Molly, featuring Wiz Khalifa and Mally Mall, is a cosmic oddity that works mostly due to Khalifas charisma, quirky production, and a maddeningly addictive Cedric Gervais sample on the hook. Show You, which features hip-hop crooner du jour Future, finds Tyga deftly blending a solid flow with sing-songy rap. And despite its now-tired message of Y.O.L.O., Drive Fast, Live Young is a breezy tune best heard while speeding down the PCH.
Tyga has long been a junior varsity member of the YMCMB team, and though hes shown flashes of promise, Hotel California is not the album that will propel him to the starting lineup.
“Drive Fast, Live Young”