Emerging rapper strives to find identity

Tyga’s time has finally come, and he is showcasing his talents with everything he’s got.

A member of Lil Wayne’s Young Money label, West Coast rapper Tyga has been waiting for a long time to release his second solo album, Careless World: Rise of the Last King. It contrasts with his last solo effort, No Introduction, which was released in 2008 and featured much more pop-dance styled music.

Tyga’s shift to more straightforward rapping was evident after he was featured on Young Money’s compilation album We Are Young Money. Though he shared the stage on songs with label-mates Drake and Nicki Minaj, he was still able to establish himself lyrically.

From there, Tyga worked on perfecting his style, releasing five mixtapes before the release of Careless World to hold his anxious fans over through several album delays.

Tyga sets the story for Careless World during the intro of the title track, mentioning that he “needed to rise and become king.” Tyga raps about growing up in Compton and hoping to survive on a daily basis, then halfway through the song shifts the subject, rapping instead about leaving his city and his girl to fulfill his destiny.

The album’s list of featured rappers and singers is almost as long as the album itself. Young Money leader Lil Wayne is featured on two tracks — the previously leaked “Lay You Down” and the Billboard Hot 100 single “Faded” — and Busta Rhymes combines his usual impossibly fast rhymes with Tyga’s vulgar verses on the appropriately titled song “Potty Mouth.”

Two of the best tracks from Careless World come with help from rising stars as well as a hip-hop veteran: “Let It Show” and “King and Queens.”

“Let It Show,” produced by duo Cool & Dre, has a beat that combines hip-hop drums with old-school R&B strings and guitar, allowing Tyga to demonstrate his ability to rap over many styles of beats. J. Cole delivers a great verse, bringing the song together with Tyga’s verses and chorus as he sings, “While my emotions grow / I still won’t let it show.”

“Kings and Queens” brings in two of the most lyrically talented rappers around: Wale and Nas. Though Tyga delivers one of his best verses on the entire album, with lines such as, “Apologizing for my actions, sometimes I get bored / They say my music knocks, so I hope it open every door,” his guests steal the show.

Wale drops a smooth verse about his ambition being the best and ends the verse by making a seemingly played out Charlie Sheen reference clever. Nas works his trademark style, spitting multiple flows with rhymes scattered throughout and ends the song with the best guest verse on the album.

Listening to the R&B features is truly either hit or miss. The single “Far Away,” featuring Chris Richardson, is the best of Tyga’s attempts to cross over to a mainstream audience. Hearing the incredibly smooth voice of Robin Thicke on “This Is Like”  also creates a vibe that makes it the perfect song to blast through the speakers while cruising down Ocean Avenue.

There are moments, however, that aren’t as impressive. Seeing Chris Brown featured on “For The Fame” led to high expectations and hopes that it would resemble their work on their joint mixtape, Fan of a Fan, but ultimately Tyga sounds out of place over the crossover-R&B beat. The same can be said for “Celebration,” featuring T-Pain; even the minimal use of AutoTune on Tyga sounds uncomfortable and definitely doesn’t make the song feel like a celebration.

With all of these guest features throughout the album, Tyga still manages to make hits on his own. The smash-hit single “Rack City,” originally released on his mixtape Well Done 2, has a simple beat and party lyrics that will have everyone rapping the chorus. But though Tyga sounds the most natural here, he can also occasionally step out of the club setting successfully.

“Do It All” is the best example of this. Rapping about getting his girl back after realizing how much she meant to him when she left him, Tyga sounds just right over the busy drums, putting together a perfect hook as he promises his girl that they are “gon’ do it all.”

Careless World: Rise of the Last King is an album that sees Tyga experimenting with numerous styles of hip-hop. Sometimes, it comes off as being creative, showcasing his versatile talents. Other times, it feels like Tyga is trying to find his musical identity; when a rapper is as diverse as Tyga, this can be a blessing and a curse.

Though lacking at times, Tyga’s lyrical ability stays up to par with most of his guests. With solid production throughout, Careless World should be the launch pad for a blossoming career.