by Kiah McBride
LOS ANGELES—They streamed into The Wiltern by the dozens, rocking distressed jeans and blood red 4HUNNID tees with “Still Brazy” and “F—k Donald Trump” splashed across their chests in wordless allegiance. They snapped photos under the neon #30DaysinLA sign, sipped some liquid courage and spilled into the auditorium fighting for the seats with the good view.
I’m at the front of a packed crowd near the stage when the lights suddenly dim and the display panel on DJ Vision’s booth lights up with the words “Who Shot Me.” Footage of a police scene flashes in the background as three figures dressed in red hoodies and hospital scrubs roll a stretcher out onto the stage as YG spits the lyrics to the song he recorded over a year ago, just hours after he left the hospital with bullet wounds to his hip and groin.
The crowd is filled with die-hard fans that, like me, were put on game when YG dropped the hit record “Toot It and Boot It” seven years prior. Most of them, also like me, don’t come from the streets, but were drawn in by hood tales of growing up in “Bompton” where gangs, gun violence, and robberies often overshadowed the beauty of the MC’s sunny L.A. home. When the classic G-Funk song “Twist My Fingaz” drops fans throw their hands in the air and contort their fingers. Unlike the “rap niggas” wanting to be bloods that he repeatedly addresses on his Still Brazy album, his fans get a pass. For now.
YG at Los Angeles' The Wiltern for Red Bull's 30 Days in LA
There’s no doubt that the YG is an entertainer. Throughout his set he lets the crowd, that reflects the diversity of true America, know that he still doesn’t fuck with Donald Trump but as always he’s “Bicken Back Bieng Bool,” shrugging out of his red and black checkered button up and taking a sip of water before letting it rain on his spectators. The brown-haired chick next to me puffs on her vape pen as “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)” blares from the speakers.
“I love you too, baby,” YG responds to some random who yelled out her adoration; the crowd goes wild as if he were speaking only to them. And because he’s a real one it’s only right that he brings out his true hittas, with a brief appearance by RJ before bringing out friend and collaborator DJ Mustard for “Who Do You Love.”
YG’s out to make a statement that he’s not just a rapper with hit singles but no solid projects; he’s an artist who’s got something to say. And if the lyrics don’t sway you perhaps the life-sized Donald Trump doll that floats in from the sky as G-Eazy hits the stage for “FDT Part 2” will convince you that he won’t be silenced. He’s hard to kill and here to stay. And if I had to choose between the real and the counterfeit, I’d say YG for President.
Rewatch YG's interview with 'The Breakfast Club,' airing everyday on REVOLT TV at 6am and 9am ET.