Meet YG, a Compton-based Multi-Platinum Rapper, and Fashion Visionary

YG went from getting shot in 2015 to performing his music hits on the coveted Coachella stage in 2019. He rose to fame by staying true to himself and his city because he always implements signature West Coast beats and neo-G-funk in his music. YG also recently launched his Los Angeles culture-themed clothing brand, 4Hunnid. Through his notable hyphy music and innovative fashion sense, YG has become the face of the West Coast.

YG
YG | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

YG’s background

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Born March 9, 1990, in Compton, California, his real name is Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson. At 16 years of age, his father served time in jail for tax fraud, and Jackson joined the Bloods gang. At age 18, Compton officials arrested Jackson because of a botched home invasion, and he served six months in jail. He already attained some local fame for his part in the “jerkin’” or playful, dance music, movement popularized in YouTube dance videos.

YG’s successful music career

In 2009, Jackson blew up when he released “Toot It and Boot It” featuring Ty Dolla Sign. The song became a huge club hit and peaked at number 67 on the Billboard Hot 100. The success of the song resulted in Def Jam signing him to the label. Young Jeezy then helped him release his first album.

Jackson has always embraced West Coast legends before him, including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and E-40, which is made apparent in his music. He incorporates Los Angeles G-Funk and Bay Area hyphy in all his records, paying homage as well as delivering great club singles.

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In 2013, Jackson signed to Young Jeezy’s imprint CTE World. He then released “My N****” featuring Rich Homie Quan and Young Jeezy, which ended up becoming his highest charting song at number 19 on Billboard Hot 100.

In 2014, Jackson released his debut studio album, My Krazy Life through CTE World and Def Jam and it hit number 2 on the Billboard 200. He has never been ashamed of his upbringing, especially his gang affiliation. Jackson explained his inspiration behind the album is the lifestyle of West Coast gang culture and the difficulties growing up in it.

Then, Jackson dropped his sophomore studio album, Still Brazy, in 2016. He released “Twist My Fingaz” first, which ended up being a huge California club hit. The album debuted at number six on Billboard 200 and received critical acclaim because he also tackled politics, something Jackson had never done before.

In 2018, Jackson released his third studio album, Stay Dangerous. Critics claimed this album fell short compared to his other two albums because they thought it was too predictable. However, Stay Dangerous sold 18,000 album-equivalent units more than Still Brazy.

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Jackson recently dropped his fourth studio album, 4REAL 4REAL in May 2019. He originally planned to drop the album on the Friday before his set at Coachella. However, Jackson pushed the album back because of the unexpected death of his longtime friend and frequent collaborator, Nipsey Hussle. Jackson said in a Big Boy interview that he is donating a percentage of the sales for each song to Nipsey’s two children.

YG’s innovative fashion moves

Jackson’s classic West Coast style, from the Chuck Taylors and Dickie’s he first wore when he arrived on the scene, to his current skinny pants and hard bottom shoes, has always been a staple of his. Therefore, it is a natural progression for him to step foot into the fashion industry.

YG | Twitter

His clothing line, called 4Hunnid, is inspired by Compton gang culture. The name means “Forever One Hundred,” or stay true to yourself, which has also been Jackson’s motto for his entire life. Jay-Z and Dame Dash’s iconic fashion line, Rocawear, inspired YG to create 4Hunnid.

Jackson explained his clothing is “not merch; it’s a lifestyle.” In 2018, he launched his collection both online and exclusively in Barney’s New York. Because of his signature West Coast music and fashion style, Jackson is bringing his Compton culture to the mainstream.