Tyga – Hotel California Album Review by Jay Fingers

Tyga - Hotel California

Title: Hotel California
Artist: Tyga
Label: Young Money / Cash Money / Republic Records
Genre(s): Hip-Hop
Released: April 9, 2013

Okay, let’s 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 Tyga’s 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 West’s 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 Tupac’s most visceral songs, it also dares to layer Tyga’s wack lyrics with vocals from ‘Pac himself! It’s a song that’s sure to earn the side-eye from many a listener.

The list of offenses goes on and on. Songs with names like “Get Rich,” “Don’t Hate Tha Playa,” “Get Loose,” and “Enemies” are exactly what you think they’d 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 Khalifa’s 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 he’s shown flashes of promise, Hotel California is not the album that will propel him to the starting lineup.

Grade: C-

Best Tracks:

“Molly”

“Drive Fast, Live Young”

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIp0h34mYEI

“Show You”

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBj6MxbeJec

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