Micheal Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, better known by his stage name Tyga, is a well-known American rapper. Born to Vietnamese-Jamaican parents, Tyga was influenced by a low socioeconomic background and street life during his childhood. His cousin introduced him to rap music, which had a major impact on his life and encouraged him to take up music as a profession. There are various stories about the origin of his nick name ‘Tyga.’ He made it big with his music albums and mixtapes, which were made in collaboration with other big names in the industry. His music videos are known for explicit scenes and deep lyrics. He has also produced and acted in a few adult movies. His career has had its ups and downs; while he has earned a ‘Grammy’ nomination and ‘MuchMusic Video Award,’ he has also faced several legal issues. His personal life has also been turbulent; he has had a string of relationships and a son born out of marriage. After three successful albums, his fourth album had problems being released. However, he managed to release it and followed it up with other albums. He has a number of friends in the American rap scene and several followers on social media.
Childhood & Early Life
Tyga was born on November 19, 1989, in Compton, California, USA. He lived in Compton with his Vietnamese and Jamaican parents till the age of 11, after which they moved to Gardena, California.
It is said that he got his nick name ‘Tyga’ from his mother who used to call him Tiger Woods. It also stands for ‘Thank You God Always.’ He claims to have been brought up in the low socioeconomic area of Compton, though there is some footage of his parents moving around in expensive cars and living a lavish lifestyle. Tyga has been satirical about his upbringing.
His cousin Travie McCoy was a member of ‘Gym Class Heroes’ and he introduced Tyga to music and rap. He was influenced by Fabolous, Eminem, Cam’ron and other rappers. He started participating in local rap contests with his friends from school. They also posted songs made by them on online chat rooms and became popular.
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After the success of his 2007 debut mixtape ‘Young On Probation,’ Tyga signed a record deal with Lil Wayne’s ‘Young Money Entertainment.’ The track ‘Deuces,’ which he performed with Chris Brown and Kevin McCall, was released as his debut single. The single reached number 14 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ and number one on the ‘Billboard Hot R&B / Hip Hop Songs’ list. The song went on to receive a ‘Grammy’ nomination for ‘Best Rap / Sung Collaboration
Thanks to his cousin McCoy, he toured with ‘Gym Class Heroes’ and made his first independent album titled ‘No Introduction,’ which was released by ‘Decaydance Records’ in 2008. His song ‘Diamond Life’ got featured in the movie ‘Fighting.’ It was also used in video games, such as ‘Need for Speed: Undercover’ and ‘Madden NFL 2009.’
Before he made his first studio album, he made a number of mixtapes and singles that kept him in the public eye. By then, he had established himself and was recording for ‘Young Money Entertainment,’ ‘Cash Money Records,’ and ‘Republic Records.’
After his initial success with ‘Money Entertainment,’ he collaborated with big names like Rick Ross, Chris Brown, and Bow Wow to make a splash in the music scene. He signed up with Kanye West’s ‘Good Music Imprint’ to start a new chapter in his music career.
Tyga’s style transformed with the release of his ‘Young Money’ debut album ‘Careless World: Rise of the Last King’ in 2012. It contained a snippet of Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I've Been to the Mountaintop’ speech that had to be removed before the album was released. The album reached number four on the ‘US Billboard Top 200’ and featured guest artists like T-Pain, Pharrell, Nas, Robin Thicke, and J Cole.
In April 2013, he released his third album ‘Hotel California.’ The album received mixed reviews and was referred to as “the least creative major label rap album in recent memory.” It was a tough period for Tyga as his album ‘The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty’ and duet with Justin Bieber had to be put on hold as he fell out with ‘Young Money.’
In September 2016, Kanye West, the brother-in-law of his then-girlfriend Kylie Jenner, announced that Tyga had been signed with ‘Good Music,’ under the aegis of ‘Def Jam Recordings.’ Some saw this as the only opportunity for Tyga to redeem himself in the world of music.
Under ‘Good Music,’ he released his fifth studio album ‘BitchImTheShit2’ in July 2017, which performed poorly on the ‘Billboard’ charts. He followed it up with his sixth album ‘Kyoto,’ which featured artists like 24hrs, Gucci Mane, and Tory Lanez.
‘Kyoto’ received negative reviews from critics. It also failed to impress music lovers, putting Tyga in a spot of bother.
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In an attempt to revive his career, he released his next single titled ‘Taste’ in 2018. Featuring Offset, the single became an instant hit. It received a 6x platinum by RIAA and helped his career get back on track.
He followed it up with his next single ‘Swish,’ which received Gold certification. In 2019, he released his seventh studio album ‘Legendary,’ which reached no. 17 on ‘US Billboard 200.’
His major label debut ‘Careless World: Rise of the Last King’ (2012) includes his hit singles, such as ‘Rack City,’ ‘Faded,’ ‘Far Away,’ ‘Still Got It,’ and ‘Make It Nasty.’
Some of his other albums are ‘No Introduction,’ ‘Hotel California,’ and ‘Fan of a Fan: The Album.’ ‘Fan of a Fan’ is a collaborative album with Chris Brown
Awards & Achievements
Tyga won the ‘MuchMusic Video Award’ under the ‘MuchVIBE Hip-Hop Video of the Year’ category in 2012 for his song ‘The Motto.’
He received a ‘Grammy’ nomination under the ‘Best Rap / Sung Collaboration’ category for ‘Deuces’ in 2011.
He has also received nominations for ‘BET Award,’ ‘MTV Europe Music Award,’ ‘American Music Award,’ and ‘World Music Award.’
Personal Life & Legacy
Tyga has had a number of affairs. His first relationship was with Kiely Williams in 2006, followed by a brief relationship with Chanel Iman in 2009. In 2010, he was briefly married to Jordan Craig.
Tyga has a son named King Cairo Stevenson with Blac Chyna, who appeared in his video ‘Rack City.’ Cairo was born in October 2012, after which the couple got engaged and moved to a mansion in Calabasas, California. However, the relationship ended in 2014.
In 2014, he started dating reality star Kylie Jenner. Their on-again, off-again relationship went sour and ended in 2017 due to a considerable age difference between the two. Kylie was just 16 when they started dating, while he was in his mid-20s.
He was also seen with model Jordan Ozuna. However, they never confirmed their relationship.
He has a reputation of lashing out at people when he is angry. He lashed out at ‘Young Money Entertainment’ on social media for holding his album hostage. In an interview, he called rapper Drake a fake and made no bones about not liking Nicki Minaj.
Tyga was robbed of his gold chain with diamonds, which later ended up with rapper 40 Glocc. However, he said that Glocc had no role in the robbery and they remained friends.
In 2012, he was sued by two women, who appeared in his video ‘Make It Nasty,’ for sexual battery. He was once again sued by a jeweler for not paying for a gold chain in 2013. He was directed by a judicial order to pay up the rent for an apartment which he had rented in Calabasas. He has also been listed for not paying his taxes.