Mixtape Review-Allegiance by Ya Boy Rich Rocka
Nothing separates the coal from the diamonds like the grind. Every time you see an artist hit with a hot debut you can chart their tumble out of the spotlight as they realize the pressure of following up that content while building up a touring audience. Ya Boy got his DJ Drama Gangsta Grillz spotlight at exactly the right time. Allegiance is the outcome of years and years of relentless grinding. When his first few tapes dropped I shrugged with an audible “The west coast has a trap rapper…cool.” The progression from that point to now is not just impressive it happened at a natural pace; meaning the level of success he has at this point synchs up with his talent.
I don’t think early Ya Boy could have made a chorus as catchy as I Want It. Nor would he have access to monster left field beats like Psychadellic. The production is judiciously distributed between Hidden Faces, Yung Ced, Blackcard R, and Kid Jupiter (great name). The landmark production moments are usually Hidden Faces (Psychadellic, Earl Stevens) or Blackcard R (I Want It, Fadeaway). The guest list is bay area legit: E-40, Droop-E, Cousin Fik, Short Dawg, and Galaxy Atoms.
Somehow Ya Boy naturally combines trap and ratchet tendencies. The thick spooky sneer of Fadeaway feels equal parts of both movements. He doesn’t bring the sensitivity of Kendrick or the in your face tone of Schoolboy Q. Allegiance doesn’t even have the subject matter balance of the YG album. This is straight up bay area GOON RAP. Rich Rocka (aka Ya Boy) seems to have no regard for how his audience processes his journey. When he says “I’m from where they sell that vagina” on Do It Right it’s not the start of a fascinating story it’s just a line that passes. He doesn’t say it to shock, he’s just from there.
It’s exciting to see the spotlight come back to California. Tracks like Earl Stevens that salute the legacy and career or E-40 bring a smile to my face. As hated as 40 was by East Coast cats (and Rasheed Wallace) back in the day, so many artists now have weirdo flow lanes open to them now because Earl blazed that trail. And he’s still dope; just listen to his verse on track 11 of Allegiance.
On the negative side of the ledger this mixtape is way too long. I always feel bad saying this about bay area mixtapes because for the bay it’s not bad. Every mixtape in the bay is 20 tracks minimum but this one is a LONG 19. You could easily cut Pop Dat P, Flip Phone, and I Got That Fire without feeling their loss. In a digital mp3 age this is a quick solve (delete what you don’t dig from your files).
Hip hop not only needs good goon music, It needs good high energy goon music cause the day is long and sometimes a snarl is exactly what I need to hear. The content is dope dealing, sex brags, and generally stewing in the finger snaps and base lines but he’s done it right this time and I’m banging Allegiance.
Stream or download Allegiance below: