Tyga knows exactly what he wants to do with his career. Regardless if his sophomore set, Hotel California, was less successful than his Cash Money debut, 2012's Careless World, Tyga is already on to the next one. He just released the fourth installment of his Well Done mixtape series that features appearances from Lil Wayne, Meek Mill and Fabolous. He’s quietly working on a follow-up to Hotel California titled The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty, describing it as darker and made for late night party-hopping. Looking back at Tyga’s discography, it shows his consistency to put out new music every few months to keep things fresh. Not a bad business model.

Outside of music, Tyga has spent 2013 getting ready to launch his first flagship store in Los Angeles for his clothing line Last Kings, aiming to open the location on Fairfax in January. Meanwhile, Tyga is balancing life as a rap star and a father, recently celebrating his son King Cairo’s 1st birthday with his girlfriend Blac Chyna. Tyga understands he’s juggling a lot of different things at once, but it’s what motivates him to keep going every day.

XXL caught up with the 24-year-old West Coast rapper about a variety of topics that summed up his year, as well as his relationship with Justin Bieber, the lack of promotion for Hotel California, and his obsession with Egyptian culture. We also get his thoughts on YMCMB’s newest signees—which reportedly include Game. Jump right in. Eric Diep

XXL: When did you start Last Kings? It must have been years in the making.
Tyga: I came up with the idea four years ago. It was just like really something I started doing research on. Something I felt like I connected with. First off, just into the art of the Egyptian stuff. I started looking into it and the meanings. What they represented and the energies and all that stuff. I just turned it into my music brand. And then I started putting logos on t-shirts for merch. Now, it’s a full-blown clothing line.

Now, you are shifting gears to music. You got the single out now called “Wait For A Minute.”
“Wait For A Minute” is actually a joint collaboration with me and [Justin] Bieber. It was actually supposed to be on his album. Just the timing and everything, I put it out. We both work it. Get the look from it. I’m working on the “Good Day” video 'cause I just dropped my mixtape. [ It’s] with me, Wayne and Meek Mill. I put the mixtape out 'cause I have so many songs for the album that I am not going to put on the album that I need to put out right now. That’s what I did for the mixtape. I have other singles lined up for January that I want do. When you drop a mixtape, people want those as singles. So, I’m gonna actually shoot a video for that one.

What do you think about Bieber’s growth as an artist right now?
All the songs that he has been dropping, I could listen to those songs, you know what I mean? It’s not like pop. It just feels like early Justin Timberlake when he was working with Pharrell. He started getting that swag, growing into himself. As you grow, your music grows.


One of the songs on Well Done 4, “Bang Out,” features an Eazy-E sample. After the whole Tupac controversy with “Hit ‘Em Up,” why did you decide to show your association with West Coast legends again?
[DJ] Mustard is the hottest producer right now in the West Coast. If they were still around and to hear them on them beats, [that’s] like Dre to me. I like hearing ‘Pac, Eazy-E, Ice Cube. I like hearing them on them type of beats 'cause it’s a different time. And you see how hard they flow still is on what’s new now. I wouldn’t put them on any other beat. It got to be a West Coast-inspired beat. It’s more tasteful to me in the West Coast. You know, that’s our sound right now. I like to hear old legends on them beats, it’s just crazy to me.

You’ve mentioned before that Hotel California was too commercial friendly. Was that not the best direction for you?
I made it more like a mixtape. I made it to perform. I didn’t make it to be a story or nothing like that. It still bangs. It’s real commercial. I made that album where you could shoot a video for every one of them songs. But this new album, this shit is raw. I don’t want to give away too many ideas, man. This shit is gonna be crazy. But it’s not like the Careless World album. It's still story-based, but the tempo is going to be faster. It’s going to hit you harder. I called it nighttime music. Two, three in the morning, you are driving by yourself. That’s the type of music I like.

What makes a good album for you? What are the elements?
Something that’s dark, but something that still catches you and it can still be hyped. I like Drake’s album 'cause it was dark. As far as the rapping, it was dark. But you could still party to it. You could still catch a certain emotion. You could be in any mood; you know what I am saying? It just takes you out of that place that you are at.

Hotel California wasn’t as a big seller as Careless World. In your opinion, what happened?
I mean, nothing happened. You just go as an artist. And sometimes as an artist, they do what they want. Careless World had a triple-platinum single that supported it. For Hotel California, I had two gold singles and one almost platinum single that I couldn’t even perform because of the content. "Molly"—you know what I am saying? I couldn’t even promote that nowhere. You won’t hear that on radio. I can’t promote that on radio, on MTV, on BET. They aren’t gonna promote that. Lack of promotion and I took a different approach with this album too.

It all goes hand in hand. As an artist, you choose to be the artist you are and you want to make music you make, so you don’t want to compromise sometimes. It’s fine, but that’s why I put the Bieber record out. The Bieber record is radio friendly to everybody, but that’s not what my album is going to be. I really ain’t got no radio records on my album. I make this to straight bang out to.

What are you thinking about for The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty?
I am already, like, 12 songs in on the album. I am probably only going to put 13 joints on there. I don’t want to put more than 14 songs on the album. I feel like it should be short and sweet.

From the Last Kings logo to the subtitle, are you secretly obsessed with Egyptian culture?
I’m into it. It’s just like knowing where we come from and stuff like that. Egyptians, they were like the first to do a lot of things. We just look at the 18th and the 19th dynasty like how they changed...you know what I am saying? You gotta think how they built the pyramids with, like, no measurement system. They were very advanced. You just gotta really get into it and they were really the first black kings and queens. They were black, you know what I mean? It’s in Africa. There’s just a lot of history to it.

What do you think about Cash Money’s newest signees Austin Mahone and Paris Hilton?
Cash Money, you gotta think. It’s worldwide. It’s not even just rap no more. You got success from all different types of genres now. Birdman is always smart and successful at what he does. Whatever he gonna do, it gonna be right. It give people opportunity. It ain’t regular label where it’s like, “No, you gotta put out this album. If this doesn’t work, then we have to choose a single.” They just let you do what you want to do. Let you be an artist. “Yo, Bird. I want to put this single out tomorrow. I want to put another single out next week.” He won’t care. He’ll let me do me as an artist as long as you believe in something.

You were the one that gave Game his Cash Money chain. Recently, he said he was a free agent. Do you know what’s up with that?
I don’t know man. I haven’t even talked to him recently.