A viral moment, courtesy of Soulja Boy’s bewilderment that fellow rapper Tyga had a bigger comeback than him last year, has left the latter unfazed. Tyga simply lets his music to the talking. And musically, Tyga has had one hell of a year. The upbeat, catchy and contagious anthem “Taste,” featuring Offset, rose above the noise in 2018, becoming a top contender for song of the summer. Within one year, it has been certified five-times platinum, amassing over 2 billion streams worldwide. Further, the song’s official music video currently claimed over 728 million views and counting — and it didn’t hurt that a friendly cosign came from Kanye West who called it the “best video of all time.” Fast forward to 2019 and a revitalized Tyga just released his seventh studio album, “Legendary,” his first on EMPIRE after breaking from the major label world and free from the drama surrounding ex-girlfriend Kylie Jenner. From top to bottom, the 14-track project follows the trajectory of a Los Angeles MC who knows a thing or two about hard-hitting beats and West Coast production. Enlisting the likes of Gunna, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and J Balvin, among others, the 29-year-old manages to turn up, while still showcasing self-reflection, as on the closing track “Made Me.” Tyga spoke to Variety a week after his album’s June 7 release.
What makes you legendary?
It’s putting in the time, committing. Being over-passionate and withstanding the test of time. Being in the game over 10 years now — to still be consistent, still keep giving people new vibes, still keep dropping hits, that’s everything. It’s your whole persona.
What inspired the cover photo?
Definitely “Carter II” and also an old Ice T cover. I kept it West Coast with the girls on there. Then I did the Phantom, kind of as a tribute to Wayne.
What lyric on “Legendary” are you most proud of?
It’s crazy, I don’t write down anything so I make it up as I go. I don’t even remember. [Laughs] I couldn’t tell you lyric for lyric unless I was listening to the song.
So you freestyle everything?
Well freestyle like not write it down, record it as I go. Everything has a feeling and it means something. Every song.
What was your reaction when Soulja Boy went off on your name?
I just thought it was funny. The thing about it is if you’re in people’s mind, you’re on the top of their brain. But it’s funny when somebody makes it obvious that they’re thinking about you. It’s just funny. I mean, I didn’t think it was gonna be a whole campaign..
Would you think about using that “TYGA??!” on a song or remix?
Probably not. It was fun for a moment.
Would you work with Soulja?
I did a song with him before, I’m not opposed to it.
Do you rightly feel you had the comeback of the year?
I never said it. If people feel that way, that’s cool. That goes to show everything I’m doing is finally getting noticed, which is good. I just want to keep collaborating with different artists, keep doing new music.
How do you stay grounded in the music industry?
You gotta stay focused and find ways to be inspired. Once you lose inspiration, then you get lost in everything. You gotta find ways to get inspired. Artists inspire other artists. You gotta show other artists love, too.
Fashion is one of your passions, do you plan on blending the two?
I definitely want to do some collabs in the future. I just know retail and having my own retail line in stores is a lot of work. I don’t want to put too much on my plate while I’m really having fun with music right now.