Published Dec 16, 2014"Politiks as usual," Compton rapper YG tweeted on December 5 after the 2015 Grammy nominations were announced and his critically acclaimed debut My Krazy Life went without acknowledgment.
Although admittedly shocked by the snub, it is YG's understanding of industry politics that has made him a success and driven the rapper to evolve toward bigger and better projects rather than dwelling on mainstream rejection.
"In the hip-hop community, everybody knows that my album was album of the year," YG tells Exclaim! "Like, classic shit. So I feel like everybody sees the same thing. I knew I wasn't going to win, but I thought at least I was going to get a nomination for sure. But I already know that the Grammy shit is based on politics. And with my album representing the streets, the Grammys don't really support that. Snoop Dogg went through the same shit. Jay Z went through the same shit in their first years. I guess I'm going to go through the same thing."
Moving on from the brushoff, the West Coast rapper just released his gritty 30-minute film Blame It on the Streets this week, with an accompanying soundtrack that includes nine cuts: three remixes and six new offerings featuring collaborations with DJ Mustard, DJ Quik and Nipsey Hussle. (Both are available digitally now via Def Jam.)
YG's second project of the year follows up My Krazy Life with visuals inspired by his debut, telling the honest story behind acclaimed cuts "BPT" and "Meet the Flockers," while bringing to life the aggressive depiction of YG's lifestyle before the spotlight. It's packed full of real moments, with YG's entourage stepping into the spotlight to help act it out.
"I just want to be creative and use the time I had left of this year. I want [fans] to see the life behind the records and what inspired the music. Expect some shit to look like L.A., like Boys in the Hood or Menace II Society or something like Murder Was the Case, like Snoop Dogg. It's going to give you that same feel," he says.
Co-written by the rapper during mid-tour downtime, YG says that the process of putting together the film was similar to working on music. And after approaching Def Jam about his idea, the label's support created a well-oiled machine that backed his vision.
"I was going scene for scene. I hopped on the phone with Sickamore, my A&R, so I was on the tour bus calling him and reading the script and he was telling me to add shit and take stuff away. And for me, it was like the same type of treatment doing that movie," YG admits.
Despite a lack of acknowledgement by those outside the hip-hop community, YG is certain that the visual venture alone is enough to catapult him to a new artistic tier.
"I don't think there's any artist putting out movies like that right now based off of their albums. I wrote it. It's about to take me to a whole other space."
And when asked if a film sequel would accompany his next full-length project, he answered. "I'm going to let it do what it do. Hopefully, though."
Watch the new video for "2015 Flow" below.