Although known for his highly publicized relationship with the youngest of the Kardashian clan, Kylie Jenner, Tyga has definitely made a name for himself in the rap and hip-hop community as well as being signed under Lil Wayne. Known as a rock-and-pop rapper, Tyga hit the mainstream with hits such as “Rack City”, “Faded” featuring Lil Wayne, “Far Away” featuring Chris Richardson, “Still Got It” featuring Drake, and “Make It Nasty”.
Tyga’s association with the Young Money/Cash Money Billionaires (YMCMB) recording group has definitely elevated his career and has made him a household name, especially in the rock, pop and rap communities
Tyga, aka Micheal Ray Stevenson, was born in Compton, California on November 19, 1989, and was raised there until the age of 11 or 12 before moving to the adjacent town, Gardena.
Because of his parents, he is of Vietnamese and Jamaican descent. His mom was born in Vietnam and her maiden name is Nguyen.
While growing up, Tyga credits listening to Fabolous, Lil Wayne, Cam’ron, and Eminem among many others as his inspiration and interest in rapping.
In December 2012, questions were brought up concerning the legitimacy of Tyga’s upbringing. Tyga claimed to have been brought up in the low socioeconomic area of Compton, but leaked footage of a gameshow TV show titled Bustas claimed otherwise as he was supposed to have claimed that he grew up in the valley, his parent’s had a Range Rover but claimed he still had street cred. However, there has been speculation that these comments made on the show were jokes and were never the truth. Tyga, still wanting to clear his name, took to Twitter by tweeting: “When u 14 an ambitious u don’t give a fuk about anything. Scripted tv isn’t that what we all live for.Hahahaha.”
Tyga also made claims that he attained his nickname from his mother, who would call him Tiger Woods due to their likeness and both being Asian and African-American descent. However, Tyga has also said in past interviews that it is an acronym for ‘Thank you God always”.
Tyga began his career in 2007 when he started releasing multiple mixtapes and distributing them. His career took an uptick when his first mixtape, Young on Probation, caught the attention of his cousin (fun fact!) Travie McCoy, who is the former lead vocalist/co-founder of the now disbanded, Gym Class Heroes.
Having an already established and famous cousin definitely helped Tyga make connections in the industry. It also didn’t hurt that McCoy could see Tyga’s talents and even went as far as offering him a record
Seeing talent in his young cousin, McCoy helped Tyga score a record deal with the independent label DCD2 Records, which was founded by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump, who McCoy was on familiar terms with from their shared days working together under the Fueled by Ramen label.
Tyga signed with Getting Educated Daily, Inc (G.E.D) during this time as well. The relationship with the label proved to be extremely lucrative for Tyga’s career that he even has the word “G.E.D.” tattooed above his right eyebrow, a tribute to the label that helped him mature his career.
No Introduction, Tyga’s freshmen debut album, was released on DCD2 in June 2008 and was his first independent studio album and released the promotional singles “Coconut Juice”, featuring his cousin, Travie McCoy. The track “Diamond Life” gained notoriety when it was used commercially in video games such as Madden NFL 2009, Need for Speed: Undercover and in the 2009 film, Fighting.
Tyga was then introduced to future co-collaborator and mega rap star, Lil Wayne, during the 2008 MTV VMA’s when Tyga was set to perform “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race” remix by Fall Out Boy. Because of this meeting, Tyga decided in late 2008 that he wanted to work with Lil Wayne and decided to sign an additional record deal with Lil Wayne’s label, Young Money Entertainment.
The track “Bedrock” by the Lil Wayne led Young Money group also featuring Nicki Minaj and Drake was then the first single Tyga was featured on after coming under the Cash Money label. Following this track release, Tyga also dropped the mixtape, Fan of a Fan with Chris Brown that also featured other artists such as Lil Wayne, Kevin McCall and Bow Wow.
“G Shit”, “Holla at Me”, “Deuces”, and “No Bullshit” were four tracks that were also released along with their accompanying YouTube music videos.
“Deuces” would end up being released as the lead single of Fan of a Fan and even peaked the number #14 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and then number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The track would continue to receive attention when it was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2011 Grammy Awards. “Deuces” and other tracks would eventually make an appearance on the tracklist for F.A.M.E, Chris Brown’s fourth studio album.
The Sophomore Album
Tyga’s sophomore studio album, Careless World: Rise of the Last King was released in February 2012 on both Cash Money Records, Young Money Entertainment, and Universal Republic Records. Critics praised Careless World: Rise of the Last King as a triumph for Tyga and commended him maintaining his rap style that was evident in the collaboration album We Are Young Money and downplayed the dance-pop style influences that seemed to be more at play on No Introduction.
“Far Away”, the first promotional track from Careless World: Rise of the Last King, was released in May 2011 and premiered at the number 86 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. “Still Got It”, the album’s second release, debuted in October 2011 and would break onto the Billboard Hot 100 at the number 89.
“Rack City”, the third single, was then released in December 2011 but was originally produced on Tyga’s Well Done 2 mixtape but was added to the new album after it had a second life with mainstream success and started breaking into the charts. The track initially landed on the number 94 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and would then go on to peak at number 8 afterward.
“Faded”, the fourth single from Careless World: Rise of the Last King was then released in January 2012 and would eventually land in the number 33 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following “Faded”, Tyga’s sixth single drop featuring 2 Chainz “Do My Dance”, released in October 2012 and reached the number 79 spot in the Billboard Top 100, which was ecstasy on-brand for all of Tyga’s previous singles which had all cracked the Top 100 when they were released in succession.
While his album singles were dropping, Tyga was also busy working on mixtapes to release intermediately before his next album. These series of mixtapes included such hits as Well Done 3 and #BitchImTheShit.
Late in 2012, Tyga turned his talents to the world of producing where he also co-directed along with Justice Young for the adult entertainment film, Rack City: The XXX Movie. The film was a success within the adult film world and was even nominated for multiple Adult Video News Awards and featured famous adult film stars as Kristina Rose, Skin Diamond, Ice La Fox, and others. Tyga also produced his own tracks for the soundtrack, such as the hit “Rack City” and “Faded” as well as original tracks specifically produced for the film. He also made a quick non-sex cameo appearance in the film as well.
Hotel California and Beyond
Hotel California, his third studio album, was eventually released in April 2013. “Dope”, being the first promotional single, was released in December later that year. Prior to dropping “Dope”, Tyga released 187, a nine-track mixtape, in November 2012. 187 featured remixes for tracks like “I’m Different” by 2 Chainz, “Young & Gettin’ It” from Meek Mill’s and GOOD Music’s “Clique”, among many others. 187 also featured new and original material from Tyga as well.
By August 2013, Tyga released “Throw It Up”, a new single with DJ Mustard. Eventually, it was and was also revealed that Tyga had two new mixtapes in the works; Black Thought 3 and Well Done 4, as well as his next studio album, The Gold Album.
The single “Wait for a Minute” featuring Justin Bieber premiered in October 2013 was released to iTunes for purchase the following day. Tyga later confirmed that his next album would be released in early 2014 and also hinted that the production would be a lot less commercial than his past work. He also lamented that he felt like his last album, Hotel California, was more commercial than he had liked for it to be and assured fans that his next album would be nothing short of pure rap.
Tyga stirred up hype in May 2014 when he tweeted the hashtag #TheGoldAlbum, which was a reference to his upcoming album, The Gold Album, and included other hashtags such as one for Mike Dean, his own producer Jess Jackson, and Kanye West. Kanye West’s involvement came as no surprise as he was serving as the executive producer for The Gold Album, which was slated for a November 2014 release.
During this time, Chris Brown and Tyga linked up again for Brown’s mega-smash hit, “Loyal”, which landed on the number nine spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Tyga also appeared in the YouTube Music video which currently has over 1 billion views.
Tyga then decided to drop some tracks digitally and released “Real Deal” via SoundCloud. “Real Deal” did so well on SoundCloud that it was later released on iTunes in August later that year.
By September 2014, Tyga Announced on his Instagram that the new track “40 Mill” would be produced by Kanye West, Mike Dean, Dupri, and his own producer Jess Jackson would create the artwork, thus alluding to his hints on his Twitter were all leading up to the release of the Kanye West-produced track.
However, while the release date for Tyga’s next album had not yet been released, Tyga drummed up more hype around the album when he revealed the album would have features from Drake, Young Thug, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, and his frequent co-collaborator, Chris Brown. During the same time he announced details about his upcoming album, Tyga satisfied fans in the meantime by releasing the Kayne West Produced “40 Mill ” that October. The song was a hit with both Kanye West and Tyga fans and received favorable feedback from critics.
Late in October, emotions were high when Tyga put his record label Young Money Entertainment on blast, by making it public that his upcoming album was in fact completed, but that it was “held hostage” by the label, who would not allow him to release it for mysterious reasons. To retaliate against the label, Tyga went on record to say that he was thinking about leaking the record himself.
However, in October, Tyga made a tweet declaring his upcoming album that was being held up by Young Money, The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty, would in fact be released independently due to his feud with the Cash Money label.
In early 2015, Tyga released the joint album with Chris Brown, Fan of a Fan: The Album, which was the sequel to the mixtape both he and Brown worked on back in 2010 and featured guest appearances from 50 Cent, T.I., Pusha T, Wale, Ty Dolla Sign, Schoolboy Q, Boosie Badazz, and Fat Trel. “Ayo” was the promotional single of the album, which peaked at the number 27 spot on the Billboard Top 100. This success led to the album rising to the number 7 spot on the Billboard Hot 200.
The Gold Album
By June of that year, Tyga finally released his highly-anticipated upcoming album, The Gold Album which initially only streamed exclusively on Spotify but then later was eventually released on Apple Music. His short-lived reality show, Kingin’ with Tyga, also premiered that same month.
By September, Kanye West made headlines when he announced that he had signed Tyga to his GOOD Music label, which was a Def Jams Records imprint.
Trying his hand at acting again, Tyga then revealed to fans that he would be joining on as a series regular for the third season of the MTV show and 90’s cult film revival, Scream. Tyga would play the character Jamal Elliott, which would end up premiering in July 2019.
While filming for his role on Scream, Tyga also managed to release his fifth studio album, BitchImTheShit2, which is the follow up to his 2011 mixtape, #BitchImTheShit.
Kyoto – The Sixth Album
Kyoto, his sixth studio album, was released in February 2018, and later that May, he released the album’s promotional single, “Taste” featuring Offset of Migos. The track smashed hard and went on to become one of the biggest tracks of summer 2018 where it cracked the number 8 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Taste” officially marked Tyga’s first appearance on the Hot 100 in three years, which had previously been 2015’s Ride Out, and was eventually certified 4 times Platinum by the RIAA.
The track was considered a runaway success for Tyga and catapulted him back on to the pop charts and back into the mainstream. Many have even stated this was Tyga’s official comeback record.
After the massive success of “Taste“, Tyga would then release a number of other tracks throughout the later part of 2018. These tracks included “Swish”, which went certified Gold, and the Nicki Minaj feature “Dip” which also went certified Platinum. Tyga also made a few guest artist appearances that year for other artists such as when he was featured on Iggy Azalea’s Gold single “Kream” that same year.
Eventually, Tyga got back to the studio to record his own material and released Legendary in June 2019, which was his seventh studio album.
The single “Go Loko” was released that same year, which was Tyga’s personal ode to the Hispanic community as he wanted to share his love of the people and community, especially since he grew up and around that community as a child and wanted to give back to the culture in some way.
Tyga dated rapper Blac Chyna from October 2011 until their split in 2012. During that time, they had a son together, King Cairo Stevenson, who was born in October 2012. Blac Chyna was also the lead lady in Tyga’s “Rack City” music video.
Around the end of 2012, Tyga finally confirmed he was in a relationship with the reality star, Kylie Jenner. However, this relationship was tabloid fodder due to the age difference between the couple and reports that they were dating since Kylie was 16. Photos of Tyga and Kylie first seen holding hands in Mexico went viral a few days after her 18th birthday, however, the couple split in April 2017.