Up-and-coming phenom King Lil G is out to forge his legacy in West Coast rap with his newest release, Lost In Smoke 2. The 29-year-old wordsmith chronicles surviving the streets of South Central L.A., while mirroring musical influences like Pac and Dre throughout a turbulent coming-of-age tale.
Born Alex Gonzales, Lil G uses the sequel to his 2013 mixtape as a form of redemption and repents past mistakes as a teenaged gang member. He begins by letting go of his childhood struggles, even as they manifest in the introductory track “Cold Christmas,” which doubles as an ode to his mother. “I motivated me, no one else did. Apartment seven, that little broke kid. Wanted toys, my moms can’t afford it. My mama’s love became more important,” he spits.
His emotionally-crippling memories of growing up in a broken home bleed through records like “Look How Far” featuring Young Scooter Boy. Lack of access to something as common as school supplies explains why Lil G ultimately gave up on getting an education and turned to hustling in order to make ends meet. “It almost got me killed, I swear that sh*t was do or die,” he raps. “My momma had no money, so I had no school supplies.”
Like hip-hop legends 2Pac, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Gonzales’ lyrics on his cultural experiences and juvenile turmoil add to the established fabric of West Coast rap. Fellow California-based MCs like Nipsey Hussle and Too $hort throw down on records “Dope” and ” Fuck With You,” respectively, further certifying G’s prowess.
“With a tattoo artist and a few extendos I had to make moves, it was confidential,” he says on “Dope.” “Bring the drama to your ass like we banging Death Row.”
Halfway into the album, Gonzales goes off on a bilingual tirade against his enemies on “Ando Tatuado.” His defensive bars mimic J. Cole and Kanye West flows, while samples of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg strengthen the chorus. In the end, the AK47 Boyz leader throws both middle fingers in the sky to anyone who judges him. “Después toda la cara, me fui a tatuar. Con la botella hennesy, me puse a tomar.
Dile a mis enemigos que no tengo miedo,” he swaggers.
When he’s not dwelling on a dramatic past, G’s turning up with the opposite sex and toking on the finest strands of Mary Jane with the fellas. Along with EMC Senatra, Young Drummer Boy and LA Gun Smoke, G bigs-up the plug on “Obvious,” while the Tory Lanez-assisted “MariWanna” brings the party to a popping kickback in the San Fernando Valley. The fumes only get denser in the mellowed-out “Room Full Of Smoke.”
With Hit-Boy and League Of Starz behind the boards, the spirit of gangsta rap rattles in tracks “Goon$” and “Pablo de Medellín.” The album closes out with his most palpable and ominous record, “After My Life,” in which Gonzales channels his inner 2Pac and mulls over who’ll miss him when he’s gone. He thanks his believers and dismisses his so-called loved ones, all the while.
Spin Lost in Smoke 2, here.