Tyga is an American rapper who rose to fame after an interaction with his cousin Travis McCoy. Gaining recognition with his debut single 'Coconut Juice', Tyga managed to get noticed from high profile rappers within a short space of time. In the course of his career, the Grammy Award winning rapper has faced numerous ups and downs that have defined who he is today.
Michael Ray Stevenson was born to Pasionaye Nguyen and Stevenson senior. His mother is of Afro-Asian descent while his father has both Jamaican and Vietnamese blood. Tyga was brought up in a low socioeconomic environment as an only child. Although Tyga was born in the infamous Compton California, his family moved to Gardena when he was about 11 years old. He was raised a Christian and adopted the stage name Tyga standing for Thank You God Always.
Tyga attended Gardena High school, an institution that has over the years prided in educating notable figures in the US. In school, Tyga was a smart kid who actually received a 2380 on his SAT’s before proceeding to Princeton for two years. Even then, Tyga dropped out of school at the age of 15 to concentrate on his music career.
When young, Tyga was a shy kid who enjoyed listening to music of the then-popular stars such as Lil Wayne, Eminem and Fabolous among others. He would confidently tell his friends that one day he would be a star too. During his free time, Tyga would record mixtapes that he believed would be a foundation to his future dream of becoming a music star.
One day, Tyga bumped into his cousin Travis McCoy at a Los Angeles sneakers store and that brief meeting proved to be his entry into music industry. During the meet-up, their conversation revolved around shoes before switching to a heated debate on the greatest rappers in the country. McCoy also then mentioned his band, Gym Class Heroes, which were still not popular but working hard to garner a strong fan base. Tyga gathered all the courage he could and took the opportunity to give his cousin some of the mixtapes he had already recorded. He wanted him to listen to them and then critique his skills.
McCoy was impressed with Tyga’s work and he offered him a rare chance to perform with his group on a world tour. After the tour, McCoy was determined to make Tyga’s musical career dream true. He therefore signed him to the independent Bad Squad label. The deal marked the beginning of a serious music career for the then-teenager.
Once signed with Bat Squad, Tyga managed to make fruitful connections that saw him perform at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. It was a golden chance as he shared the stage with popular rapper Lil Wayne and the punk-pop group Fall Out Baby to perform the remix of Arms Race. Lil Wayne was impressed by Tyga’s young talent and he offered him a feature in his award winning album The Carter III.
Tyga also released one of his many mixtapes titled Young on Probation in 2007 and this got the attention of Young Money Entertainment who signed him a record deal. The track ‘Deuces’ from the mixtape, which he recorded with Kevin McCall and Chris Brown, was a surprise hit that peaked No. 14 on the Hot 100 Charts and reached number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. The single also earned him a Grammy Awards nomination in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category.
Tyga then went to the studio and recorded his first single ‘Coconut Juice’ which borrowed some bits of Harry Nilsson’s hit ‘Coconut’.
In June 2008, he released his first independent album No Introduction through Decaydance Records. The album was a modest success and although it didn’t sell much, it increased his popularity among hip hop fans. The most successful track in the album was ‘Diamond Life’ which was used as background music for several video games as well as the 2009 sports action drama film Fighting.
In 2012, Tyga released his second album Careless World: Rise of the last King through Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records and Universal Republic Records. The album, which featured Nicki Minaj, Robin Thicke and American idol finalist Chris Richardson was a commercial success with its single ‘Far Away’ ranking No. 86 on Hot 100 charts. Other tracks in the album that performed equally well include ‘Still Got It’, ‘Rack City’, ‘Faded’ and ‘Do My Dance’.
That same year, Tyga – together with Justice Young – co-directed the adult film, Rack City: The XXX Movie and also appeared in it, though in a non-sex role. The film was nominated for the AVN Awards and starred stars like Skin Diamond, Jada Fire and Sophie Dee.
Tyga then embarked on his third album Hotel California which was released in April 2013. The album featured guest appearances from high profile artists like Rick Ross, Chris Brown and 2 Chainz. Hotel California was supported by strong track singles among them, Dope, For the Road and Show You. The album was welcomed with mixed criticism and was less successful compared to his previous two albums. Nonetheless, it peaked at No. 7 on Billboard 200 Charts and sold 54000 copies on its first week of release.
Hotel California was promoted through the release of the mixtape Well Done 3 featuring guest appearances from notable figures like The Game, Future, Honey Cocaine and others. Tyga also embarked on a world tour that consisted of one month touring United States and another month overseas.
In the meantime, Tyga was working on a nine track mixtape dubbed 187 released in November 2012. The mixtape featured remixes from popular songs as well as new material from Tyga himself.
In the spring 2013, Tyga was honored to perform at the Harvard University’s Yardfest. The opportunity however didn’t come easy since some critics had signed a petition barring him from such performances due to what they called violent lyrics from his music.
That same year, he worked on several other projects. First, in August 2013 he collaborated with DJ Mustard to release the single ‘Throw it Up’ before releasing two other mixtapes titled Black Thought 3 and Well Done 4. Tyga then premiered ‘Wait for a Minute’ which featured Justin Beiber as a promotional single to support his upcoming album, The Gold.
Tyga’s fourth album was engulfed with conflicts after he claimed that the initial recording label, Young Money Entertainment, was holding the album hostage despite it being ready for release. Infact, Tyga expressed his intention to leak the album. However, he later informed his fans that the album would be released independently due to the ongoing misunderstandings with Cash Money Records.
The long wait was finally over in June 2015 as Tyga released The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty for exclusive streamlining on Spotify. Upon release, the album was highly criticized with some critics stating that Tyga did not even sound like he was having fun in the music. The same was reflected in the sales after the album sold less than 5,000 copies despite a full week of streaming.
In regards to his most recent works, Tyga premiered the reality show Kingin’ with Tyga in July 2015. The following year, Kanye West made an announcement that Tyga had signed into his GOOD MUSIC imprint, a move expected to better Tyga’s career.
Tyga is a controversial artist who has faced a series of legal battles recently and the media have found every reason to criticize his wanting behavior.
In 2012, a lawsuit was filed against him by two women who claimed that the renowned rapper had exposed their nipples in the video music ‘Make It Nasty’ without consent. Although there was a promise that the video would be edited to get rid of the controversial parts, Tyga still went ahead to release the unedited version. Another woman featured in that very same music video accused Tyga of fraud, sexual battery and privacy invasion after he was assured that her naked body would be edited out after dancing topless, but that never happened.
In September 2013, Tyga found himself with yet another legal battle after Jason, a jeweler based in Beverly Hills sued him for not paying jewelry worth more than $91,000. The jewelry included a pantheon watch and Cuban link chain, both made of diamond. The total amounts inclusive of damages were summing up to double the initial debt. Even then, Tyga only paid $100,000 after failing to attend court proceedings due to an alleged illness.
Tyga has on many occasions been accused of extravagance yet his net worth does not qualify him to spend such high amounts. An embarrassing scene happened in 2015 after his former landlord filed a lawsuit against him for failing to pay rent. It was alleged that the landlord had rented Tyga a home in the city of Calabasas, California but defaulted his agreement. A ruling was made in May 2015 and Tyga was urged to pay $90000 which he never honored. A second ruling was made in June and the judge once more urged the Hip-Hop king to pay $80,000 settlement to the landlord.
Despite his young age, Tyga has had a fair share of several relationships with various women, most of whom are in the show biz.
In 2006, Tyga was reportedly dating actress Kiely Williams in an affair that attracted sharp criticism since Kiely was older than Tyga. The two didn’t last long as they separated in 2008. Immediately after the break up, Tyga began dating Chanel Iman, an American model based in Atlanta, GA. The relationship did not last even a year before the two separated.
Next on the line up was actress Logan Browning, and although the couple’s relationship seemed promising, they broke up after 3 years. Tyga was gaining great favor among women and the following few years saw him date several of them for only a brief period of time. He was involved with Leaux Lolo Steez, Dollicia Bryan, Jordan Craig and Seiko Huffman.
While on tour in October 2011, Tyga met model/stripper Blac Chyna. A relationship inaugurated and the couple welcomed the birth of their son King Cairo in 2012. The couple adore their son and the same has been reflected on the tattoos they both have bearing Cairo’s name. Life between the two seemed promising in the beginning with Tyga even purchasing a mansion in California to move in with his family. The two got engaged some time in 2012 but this never lasted as the engagement was called off in 2014.
Soon after the break up, Tyga was alleged to be dating Keeping up With The Kardashians star, Kylie Jenner. The relationship was condemned by many critics since Kylie was only 17 years while Tyga was in his late 20s. Kylie and Tyga tried to play it cool claiming that they were just friends until she turned 18. Upon reaching adulthood, the two put their relationship on the limelight with Tyga even getting a tattoo bearing Kylie’s name on his inner right arm. The couple’s love affair was however full of a series of breakups and makeups as well as infidelity rumors. When they could no longer take more of it, the couple broke up in 2016.
Tyga readjusted his life quickly and rumors had it that he was seeing model Demi Rose. The two were spotted on several dates together but none of them confirmed the truth about their alleged dating.
Nonetheless, Tyga’s personal life has been met with controversy a couple of times. In 2015, transgender and pornographic actress Mia Isabella leaked a nude photo of Tyga claiming that she had had a series of steamy hookups with the rapper. Tyga refuted the claims and swore to sue Mia.
There were also speculations that Tyga was seeing a 14-year old teen, going by the name Molly. In his defense, the rapper stated that he had messaged the said teen but only because he was scouting new talent which he believed Molly had. Molly also came forward stating that there was nothing dodgy between Tyga and her.
Like most rappers, Tyga is a tattoo lover. When asked about the number of the tattoos he has, he humorously stated that they are over 100 but even Tyga himself doesn’t know the exact number.
Written by: Peris Ngaruiya