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20 August, 2008@8:30 am

The thing you have to realize when listening to Tyga’s No Introduction is that it’s essentially children’s music.  Okay, not children, but teenagers.  It’s for kids.  This is fitting since the 18-year-old Tyga is barely out of high school himself.  Granted, there isn’t that much difference these days between the social lives of those in their late teens and those in their late twenties and early thirties.  The older set just feels worse the next day.

Coming straight outta Compton, Tyga is not a gangsta.  He’s a fun-loving party guy and part-time lover most of the time.  He was discovered by Gym Class Heroes lead vocalist Travis McCoy (also his cousin).  You can decide for yourself whether or not that gives him any credibility, but Tyga has worked with a variety of artists including Lil’ Wayne and Fall Out Boy.  Given his connections, he didn’t exactly work his way up from nothing.  Tyga’s not without talent, though, and while I’m not putting him anywhere close to the same category, there’s a little bit of Lupe Fiasco in his flow.

No Introduction is a mixed bag and it’s certainly not for you if you’re looking for something mature and introspective, but considering its target audience, it often works.

“Coconut Juice” and “Supersize Me,” border on the extremely annoying, but also on the irresistibly catchy with repetitive hooks like, “Put the lime in the coconut and twist it all up/twist it all up/twist it all up…coconut juice got me real loose/got me leaning 3,000 proof.” It’s a natural born club/party anthem. (But is he old enough to drink? – Editor)

“Supersize Me” slides between an abrasive siren-type sound and an almost tropical bridge while Tyga gets his globe-trot on: “Underage so you can’t charge/but officer, no autograph ya’ll/cause I’m jetlagged/Louis Vuitton bag…I stay puffed like the marshmallow man/I gotta supersize me/I gotta supersize me.” I know it’s standard protocol, but why the constant mentions of Louis Vuitton on hip hop records?  Are MC’s really that enamored with fine leather handbags?

Tyga talks to the ladies on “Pillow Talkin’,” which is not the sexual romp you might expect based on the title, but instead a kind of sweet love-gone-wrong ballad.  Tyga professes his love and willingness to take this loved one on shopping sprees, but the hook wonders why they fight.

On the second verse, Tyga realizes the bloom is off the rose:  “Now im startin to notice all that shit was bogus/all the dozens of roses/thinkin you was my golden token/now im feelin frozen/lookin like my life is hopeless/no human/should ever experience what i drove in/now my car is broken/my engine hood/i should have never left it opened/lookin like im on E/no fuel i cant even eat.”

All that agony and the relationship only lasted a month.  Like I said, this is a kids album.

Perhaps the highlight of the album is “AIM,” which perfectly captures the internet courtship ritual. “She don’t know me by my name/she just know me by my AIM/I saw her page on MySpace/Never seen her face…I sign on it’s like AIM, AIM, AIM.”

The upbeat “Cartoonz” continues to capture the spirit of No Introduction at its best as Tyga drops some cartoon-based rhymes that put a new twist on bling: “Porkey pig dollar bills, plus Tweety Bird sits on my wrist.” It sounds silly, but Ghostface used a similar theme on “The Forest” (“Bugs still sniffin’, Daffy Duck snitchin’…Droopy got knocked, now he Muslim in jail/his name is Abdrul, colorful/Snow White tattoo”).

Just in case you were worried No Introduction isn’t a true hip hop album, Tyga leaves nothing to chance and includes a voicemail track with “Press 7.”

“You have one new voice message…”

That’s how the song starts, and really, what moves you to the music more than the sound of someone’s voicemail?  I’m curious, are all rappers constantly recording their messages so they can use them on their next albums?  “Press 7″ is actually another decent teenage love track, but I think it would be wise to call for a moratorium on all voicemail/answering machine messages on hip hop albums.  Even The Roots resorted to the telephone recordings bit on their last record, and that means it’s time to stop.

Tyga gets lazy with tracks like “Summertime,” a shameless rip-off of the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff anthem and “Woww,” a silly braggadocio track with Tyga claiming no one can move a crowd or put it down like him.  Whatever.

Attempts at maturity on “2 A.M.” and “Don’t Regret It Now” seem forced and out of place on an album like this.

No Introduction definitely has the potential to really irritate anyone over the age of 23, but it’s not bad at being what it is – a ring tone treasure trove for kids and a playful escape from substance for the rest of us. – Stefan Schumacher

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