Tyga’s toxic relationships have placed him in a tight spot

The five-year span of relationships that overshadowed his career really placed a dent in his ceiling but, as evidenced by “Taste” and “Kream,” when unbound, he can innovate— he just has to realize this.

  /  07.12.2018

Tyga and Iggy Azalea were spotted holding hands at Coachella back in April. Then, Tyga began liking some of her steamier, tantalizing pictures on Instagram. With the duo’s recent collaboration on Iggy’s “Kream” from her upcoming album Surviving The Summer essentially serving as an alluring climax to the subtle teasing the two have been giving off for months, it all but confirmed rumors that had been running rampant: the two had to be dating.

But when E! News asked her to clarify, Iggy literally laughed off the possibility. “[I’m] extremely single,” she cackled. “There are no pictures of me and him hugged up, but when you’re at a music festival and everyone’s packed in like sardines, like, of course we’re next to each other. When you hang out with your friends and you’re the only two famous people out of ten, then [people claim] you’re getting married and having children.” She went on to reveal that they’d known each other since she was 19 (as friends) and she couldn’t ever think of him in that way. The headlines that press ran about the incident should have been that the romance was dispelled, but instead, a majority chose to paint that Tyga had gotten friend-zoned.

When Drake released Scorpion, all eyes were on supermodel Bella Hadid after everyone heard “Finesse.” The scorned-Toronto crooner threw her a lavish 21st birthday party on October 10, inciting dating rumors. On “Finesse,” he raps, “I want my baby to have your eyes / I’m going against my own advice / Should I do New York? / I can’t decide / Fashion week is more your thing than mine.” Hadid responded to someone’s tweet about Drake potentially having sex with her, dispelling the idea of sex, or general romance, with him. Yet, the tagline that the press ran was that dating rumors between her and Drake had gotten dispelled.

Tyga continues to fight an ongoing battle to remain relevant. In an age where high-profile relationships are like cocaine for hungry blogs looking for much-needed traffic, his conquests always help a brand to obtain their fix. He’s become the perennial butt of a joke, always given the byline that’ll poke fun at his circumstances; evident in being “friend-zoned” instead of “dating rumors dispelled.” From Iggy Azalea (if he was truly pursuing her in the first place), to Blac Chyna, and Kylie Jenner, Tyga’s tendency to pursue high-profile relationships needs to be put on hold because, at the end of the day, his rep is what suffers when things ultimately turn sour.

One thing that has been a constant in Tyga’s life for the past five years is spectacle. He can’t help who he falls for, but whenever he does, it tends to spit out theatrical news headlines like a fax machine. Being that Tyga’s not one to necessarily clear up headlines, his image takes a hit, time after time. These collective blows have, over time, impacted his stature in the rap game and the level of seriousness that people pin on him. But what keeps him afloat is his fun music that reeks of the carelessness that he carries in his persona.

Until Tyga became a walking, talking scandal, his dating life mattered to very few. But when that tabloid-aspect of a celebrity life opens up, it’s hard to close. He dated Kiely Williams of 3LW from 2007 to 2008, one of his first high-profile relationships (she was 31 at the time, he was 20). He moved to Chanel Iman in mid-2008, with the model announcing their relationship in Vogue‘s May edition. Two years later, he was rumored to have been in a six-month relationship with Jordan Craig, a lifestyle blogger. Then, in 2011, he made his way to model and dancer Blac Chyna, having a child with her, King Cairo Stevenson, on October 16, 2012. They later split in 2014.

Around this time, Tyga’s rep began to disintegrate. Consider it Godly penance for perusing through one high-profile relationship after another unscathed. Blac Chyna proved to be the villain of his story. In November of 2014, Tyga allegedly hacked Chyna’s Twitter account making her call herself a “gold digger and a cheater.” (Chyna revealed her account was hacked and said that Tyga was the number one suspect.) Whilst the beginnings of a feud were brewing, instead of stepping back and grabbing the steering wheel of his career, Tyga began to grow close with a then-16-year-old Kylie Jenner. The two being “close friends” wasn’t fooling anyone. The situation creeped out pretty much everyone, and Blac Chyna wasn’t for it. She hopped on Instagram in April of 2015 and revealed a series of texts where Tyga revealed that he wanted to be with her again.

If Tyga and Chyna’s relationship was a feast for tabloids, Tyga and Kylie’s relationship was an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Kylie’s Kardashian family, with figurehead Kris Jenner, engulfed Tyga’s career, with him being more of a Kardashian than rapper. Kylie existed independently outside of the relationship — Tyga didn’t. They broke up in November of 2015, only to get back together soon after. Blac Chyna began dating Rob Kardashian (Kylie’s brother) the following February, stirring tension all around. When Tyga was alleged to have cheated on Jenner with Brazilian model Annalu Cardoso, the roughness of the relationship was beginning to grow even worse. On March 29, 2017, Blac Chyna took to Snapchat to blast him for not paying child support, as well as to suggest that Tyga was cheating on Kylie. Four days later, People reported that the pair had split up. A few weeks later, Kylie grew closer with Travis Scott while Tyga, reportedly, wished to win her back.

As tragic as his luck has been in the dating field, the real impact of his conquests can be found in his commercial sales. His debut album No Introduction, a mix of alternative rock and party raps that didn’t really congeal, sold slightly more than 6,700 units in its first week of sales. But when he released follow up album Careless World: Rise Of The Last King on February 21, 2012, the world had grown interested; it debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at number four and sold 61,000 copies in the first week. His third studio album Hotel California released on April 9, 2013 — right around the time Blac Chyna’s celebrity was growing to encompass his. Slightly weaker first week sales of 54,000 were evident of a slight fall off in public interest. Two years later, fresh in the midst of a relevancy battle with Blac Chyna, Tyga released The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty on June 23, 2015. It spawned two singles (“Hollywood Niggaz” and “Pleazer”) that failed to chart. It ultimately failed to reach the Billboard 200, with only 2,200 copies being sold that week (it was released for Spotify exclusively before being opened up to iTunes). Fifth and sixth albums Bitch I’m The Shit 2 and Kyoto apparently fluked even worse, with album sales for both projects not immediately viewable online. Both albums came out after his career was exposed to Kylie.

In July of 2017, Tyga dropped into Power 105’s The Breakfast Club to promote Bitch I’m The Shit 2. Interspersed at strategic moments throughout the interview were questions about Kylie Jenner (mostly) and Blac Chyna. Angela Yee, one of the shows three hosts, asked him whether dating a member of the Kardashian family helped him see an increase in his finances. His response seemed to indicate that he’d, in all actuality, seen the latter. However, both women in his life have seen major financial gains since he came into their lives. While Tyga’s net worth is a modest $2 million, Blac Chyna is worth double. Kylie Jenner was worth $40 million in 2015; post-breakup—and of course, by belonging to the Kardashian umbrella as well as running a cosmetic company worth $900 million—she is worth near one billion dollars. While the women in his life see upgrades all around, Tyga regularly has to defend himself from the tabloids instead. He even had to put a plea out to the media to stop spreading false rumors about him being the father of Kylie’s baby with Travis Scott.

This latest chapter of Tyga’s life and career is defined by the comeback. Stripped of the toxicity of two past relationships, Tyga’s music has been able to reach ears without any additional weight. The vibrancy of his music will be able to burst and pop in ways that people can consume without feeling dirty listening to it. “Taste” is the yellow, swaying palm tree record that invokes the summer’s debauchery in the same way that “Rack City” and “Faded” did in his earlier career. Even his appearance on Iggy Azalea’s “Kream” invites the charades to occur. His knack for capturing the summer’s breeze in tracks he creates or appears on is rivaled by none.

But the five-year span of relationships that overshadowed his career really placed a dent in his ceiling. When Blac Chyna moved on to Rob Kardashian, Tyga became a consultant for her every move in interviews, same with Kylie Jenner when she began dating Travis Scott. People, to this day, are still more interested in what he will say about his exes than what he has to say in his music. How that will ultimately impact his career? Who knows. But he keeps firing along till something sticks.

DJ Mustard wouldn’t have been discovered if Tyga’s “Rack City” hadn’t come out. His three-note, Bay Area riff transfixed the world and became Tyga’s first real worldwide smash in 2011. “Faded” was much darker, sexier, and hotter; ultimately becoming the soundtrack to countless Miami shenanigans during 2012’s hottest months. Mustard’s sound would become a staple of rap for years and still stands, with his recent collaboration with YG (“Big Bank”) on the fast track to becoming another important summer banger. When unbound by problematic situations, Tyga can innovate or put someone in the position to — he just has to realize this.

The last time that Rolling Stone, a reputable publication that only focuses on the music, covered Tyga, it was for Travis Barker’s premiere of “100” back in 2015. For Okayplayer, it was a performance for “Ayo” with Chris Brown that same year. But for publications that deal in the full spectrum of the celebrity experience, his appearances tied to toxic relationships are plentiful; just this week, Daily Mail, Extra, and E! Online have covered his “friend-zone” problem with Iggy Azalea. Two months into the takeover of his recent release “Taste,” this kind of attention could take over the song’s growing popularity. That’s why Tyga should be really, really sure what he goes after, how he does it, and how it can affect his career. The music itself can be great; it’s the baggage that comes with prioritizing high-profile relationships that often bangs up his career and spotlight, deterring publications from covering him and leaving him to battle through the storm.

Luckily for Tyga, we live in an age where careers are nearly impossible to be extinguished. Free of burden, and at only 28 years old, Tyga has plenty of time correct his mistakes with time and focus on the music. Prior to this Iggy fiasco, Kanye West called the video for “Taste,” the best video of all time. On HotNewHipHop, the song itself has an almost perfect rating. On Twitter, scores of people commonly refer to the tune as the “song of the summer.” When he’s truly at it without distraction, Tyga can churn out enjoyable music that people still salivate over. He just needs to lay off the high-profile attractions and channel all of his energy into his craft, which will then positively impact his image, and then make it easier to pursue celebrity relationships again without the fear of their toxicity damaging his image. He’s struck out twice. Let’s hope, for his sake, he’s figured out how to bat.

More by Trey Alston:


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