When it comes to music, the West Coast has long been about innovation. Enter DJ Mustard, the Los Angeles-born producer behind the “ratchet” sound coined by the region. In just three years, Mustard has constructed a registry of hits for the likes of Tyga ("Rack City"), 2 Chainz ("I'm Different"), Young Jeezy ("R.I.P."), Kid Ink ("Show Me"), Y.G. ("My Nigga"), and nabbed recent collaborations with Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, T-Pain, Trey Songz, and more.
The 23-year-old, born Dijon McFarlane, started his career in music at just 11 years old, when his uncle (a former DJ) let him spin for a family party. It didn't take long for the rookie beat specialist to get hooked. "I kind of always had an ear for club music," says Mustard. "Once I got that, I understood what it was to make beats. I knew what to do to make people dance."
Driven by a natural-born talent, Mustard continued practicing, landing DJing gigs at different clubs around L.A. He linked with childhood friend, and then aspiring rapper, Y.G., and from there the ratchet sound was born. Working with Y.G. helped Mustard build a sonic rep that attracted Tyga, resulting in the Young Money rapper's double-platinum club banger.
In the years since "Rack City" catapulted him to sought-after status, Mustard’s skill set has taken him into a new direction in catching J-Lo's ear. The two joined forces for Lopez's forthcoming eighth studio album, which will showcase a different sound from the beat architect. "It's nothing typical that you think you're going to hear," he promises.
While Mustard continues to etch out a creative path outfitted in both uniqueness and elevation, he maintains a straightforward approach. "I keep it real simple and get straight to the point. Staying in my lane and paying attention to the sonics of the beat. What I love about being a producer is going to the club and hearing everybody go crazy over [what] you made, just to see people have a good time."
Achieving so much at a young age only adds to Mustard’s determination. He's earned recognition from respected music publications including XXL, Vibe, The Fader, and Complex magazine, dropped his Ketchup mixtape in 2013, and has no plans of slowing down.
It is that very same resolve that landed him with Roc Nation, an opportunity that the young producer can't help but be humbled by. "Being signed to Roc Nation is a blessing," he says. "I'm just thankful to be on the roster."
Born and raised in Compton, California Keenon Jackson aka YG (Young Gansta) started rapping at the end of his sophomore year of high school at Paramount when he found out someone (who didn’t like him) had recorded a diss song and posted it on Myspace. He found it funny and amusing that one person disliked him that much to go that far. He decided to respond as best as he could through music. Since that day, he has been writing and recording music. It became a passionate and productive way for him to spend his time versus in the streets where his fate could possibly be death or jail.
Months after the discovery, he was still recording non-stop on his laptop. Locally the buzz from his songs began spreading at his high school and other local schools. The buzz from began spreading regionally; at the same time it reached teenage clubs and parties, with the most popular songs finding their way into the popular “Twenty-One and Over” clubs. He then began developing his marketing skills releasing a series of mix tapes with his partner DJ Mustard skyrocketing his music into a highly popular category. “I use to tell my momma how big I was in the streets, she use to be like ‘Yea Right, Ima Have To See For Myself’; and that she did, she started seeing a lot of fans around me and her friend’s kids always ask if YG is really her son.”
YG’s life experiences growing up in the inner-city and struggle to evolve into something bigger and greater is a story not new but timeless. YG was once involved with the gang lifestyle, but claims to have swapped gang life for music considering his potential success sans radio play or mainstream attention. While making his share of mistakes and overcoming his share of personal battles; even amidst his legal battles, YG has remained a positive influence to those around him.
His Myspace page was the basis for him to promote his music and brand. Receiving thousands of plays for his songs per day, over a million page views, and posting two songs which have received over a million plays to date and counting YG is definitely making himself known in the digital domain. Sept 2nd, 2008 is the day YG and two of his closet friends “Ace and PC” started a promotion group called Pu$haz Ink. Pu$haz Ink quickly grew beyond a 3-man operation into a local movement fueling the spread of YG’s music to another level. This laid the groundwork for major labels to pay attention to the young and budding artist eventually leading to a record deal with historic hip-hop powerhouse Def Jam in September 2009.
YG’s personal quote “Stay true to my people and friends; start driving down the road of success; But I did go through some rough times, and I Thank God he got me out of them and put me in this spot I’m in today”
Ty Dolla $ign
“My music is a vibe,” Ty Dolla $ign says. “It’s R&B that you can fuck to, not make love to.” No games. It’s sonic Spanish fly. Play it loud enough with the right alchemy of illicit substances and it could incite an orgy.
Right now, the Atlantic Records artist might be the hottest singer in LA. His breakout mixtape, 2012’s Beach House gets nastier than Luther Campbell or Nate Dogg ever wanted to be. Drugs, sex, and stripper booty popping. Just the finer things in life.
His hit single “My Cabana” was not only last summer’s 24-7 party anthem, it figures to be played in every pool and beachside cabana from here until the liquor finally runs out (or no more people can fit in).
“Beach House is definitely who I am, so I’m talking that shit,” Ty says. “It’s everything that I’ve lived in life. It’s bringing that R&B and soul with a slap.”
Don’t trip on the subject matter, Ty writes some of the best crafted and melodic pop songs you hear on the radio. Y.G. is signed to Def Jam and is one of the most popular street rappers in LA, but it wasn’t until Ty wrote and produced his hit “Toot it and Boot it”, that he earned radio airplay.
Welcome to the omnivorous world of the South Central-raised star born, Tyrone Griffin. Music is in his blood. His father was in the funk band Lakeside (“Fantastic Voyage”) and an uncle was in the Isley Brothers. Ty has been creating music since he was a three-year old writing lyrics and playing a keyboard. Since then, he’s taught himself how to play the drums, bass guitar, electric and acoustic guitar, the violin, the piano, and the Wurlitzer organ.
“I can play music with the wall and some pencils,” Ty says. “I want to leave people with incredible and timeless music, it’s a soundtrack to people’s lives. I want to get better every time. I really take pride in my sound.”
Complex hailed him as “a less self-serious version of The Weeknd…one of the most promising artists to work in this R&B Kelly-style R&B vein since The-Dream first broke.” The magazine also named his forthcoming Atlantic Records full-length, Free TC as one of 2013’s Most Anticipated.
But Ty might be the most eclectic artist of his peers. His inspirations go way deeper than just R&B. Ella Fitzgerald, 2Pac, Prince, Michael Jackson and Nirvana are as important to his conception of sound as Mint Condition and Brian McKnight. So is contemporary electronic music. If anything, Ty Dolla $ign might be heir to DJ Quik’s title of America’s most complete artist.
This is why he’s collaborated with everyone from top 40 perennials like Wiz Khalifa and Chris Brown, to West Coast hood stars like Y.G. and Joe Moses. And in the immediate future, Beach House 2 is adding a sundeck, Jacuzzi, and more bad chicks to the cabana.
“It’s just the next step—some club joints, some slower ones. I’m saying things that every man feels. It’s going to get a lot of people laid this summer,” Ty says. “But I’ve stepped up the music and production, the singing and the videos. You’ll see. “
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