On May 27, Los Angeles producer DJ Mustard and rapper YG bring their refreshed West Coast swagger to Earl Warren Showgrounds for a show that could potentially be one of the year’s most memorable. But don’t let the classic West Coast groove fool you; everything about this dynamic duo is entirely modern.
With songs like “My N*****” and “Who Do You Love” already successfully lodged into the popular subconscious, it shouldn’t be difficult to explain the pair’s appeal. Their synths and cadence are familiar, made more appealing with help of melodic hooks. And it all sits on a foundation of deep, resonant, and sudden bass lines from a Roland TR-808, which boasts a sound more traditionally associated with producers from the South — and Kanye West.
In most cases, progress is hindered by those who fear it, and those in the hip-hop community still committed to antiquated notions of geographically specific sound have been unwelcoming towards DJ Mustard (born Dijon McFarlane). The criticism that his sound is too heavily influenced by the Bay Area scene (Too $hort, E-40, etc.) mirrors the flack faced by A$AP Rocky early in his career, when critics and fans charged the Harlem rapper with copying the syrupy vocal style traditionally associated with Houston-area artists. It’s not that Rocky or Mustard actively rebel against such notions — they just never cared about them in the first place.
And in YG, Mustard has found an ideal mouthpiece. Cool, laid back, and squinting, YG is typically seen wearing Nike Cortez or Chuck Taylors, a flannel, and Dickies: the West Coast uniform for street rappers capable of crossing over to the club. With a flow every bit as smooth as Uncle Snoop’s (who knighted the pair as he and Dre’s predecessors last year), YG’s verses are ice cold, with a confident and knowing slur. While he’s not as boisterous as fellow Angelino Kendrick Lamar, YG’s 2013 album, My Krazy Life (nearly all of which was produced by Mustard), demonstrated that he’s every bit as ambitious.
Together, Mustard and YG are comfortably riding through just about every facet of pop music, and exemplifying the continually blurring lines between hip-hop, dance, and pop.
YG and DJ Mustard headline the Earl Warren Showgrounds (3400 Calle Real) on Tuesday, May 27 at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, visit yg400.nightout.com.