Since Warren G’s “Regulate…G Funk Era” gave Def Jam/Rush Associated Labels a much needed hit in 1994, arriving just as reports of the label’s insolvency surfaced, the New York-based powerhouse has largely steered clear of West Coast rap, hewing almost exclusively to East Coast and Southern artists like Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah and Method Man, as well as Young Jeezy. But as the legendary imprint prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the label has returned to the Southland, inking a deal with Compton’s Y.G., an artist that has amassed a massive following prior to radio or any commercial backing.
Best known for a series of scabrous sex-themed songs with unprintable titles, the 19-year-old has swapped gang life for the recording booth and hasn’t looked back, racking up enviable MySpace metrics: over 2 million profile views and multiple songs with over 1 million plays each and a string of sold put performances across the US.
According to Max Gousse, the senior VP of A&R at Island/Def Jam who inked the rapper, the signing stemmed from a newfound emphasis on West Coast artists by label president/CEO L.A. Reid, as well as, of course, Y.G.’s skills and stage presence.
“It started with L.A. making the investment and commitment in bringing out three A&R’s to the West Coast. We’ve been out here searching for the cream of the crop,” said Gousse, who is best known for developing B2K. “I signed him because he has a command of the crowd that reminded me of the classic MCs. You don’t see many young rappers with that kind of command, especially from someone who has never signed a record deal.”
For the intricately tattooed teenager, the signing represents both a form of salvation and the culmination of a long courting process.
“I decided to sign with Def Jam because that was the label that I’d been hearing about for my entire life. It’s a 100% blessing,” said Y.G., who has already achieved that first charted hit Toot It and Boot It. “It’s a crazy feeling. I know I’m blessed and this is only the beginning. Im here to stay. Pushaz Inc is the label and the whole world will soon know what this Pushaz Inc movement is all about.
Y.G.’s music revolves around the day-to-day travails of the average teenager. Indeed, he attributes his heavy popularity to his ability to relate to the normal person. “My music is about my everyday life,” he said. “That’s why I think so many young people like it — they can relate. It’s what they and their friends are going through every day — shopping, looking for girls, getting in and out of trouble.”
“Toot it and Boot It,” has remained the number 1 song in Los Angeles for months at radio and is getting airplay across the nation. YG is currently touring all over to promote his single and additional projects.
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