Tyga is off the leash and off the chain. With the release of his second studio album, Careless World: Rise of the Last King, the rapper’s label, Young Money Entertainment—Lil Wayne’s imprint of Cash Money Records that has launched the careers of Drake and Nicki Minaj—has decided it’s time the rapper got his shine. “This album is like a storybook that’s based off the reality of my life, but I’m a king,” Tyga says. “To me, music is all about imagination. I made this album to deal with the same issues we face in real life but in a [dream], because music can be real dreamy.”

In his mind’s eye, 22-year-old Tyga is a boy king, and as such, he’s adopted a logo based on the bust of Tutankhamun for his clothing line, Last Kings, that also graces the decadent medallion hanging off his chain. “I got into all the Egyptian stuff about a couple years ago,” he says. “I like the energy that the symbols give off. To think that King Tut was the pharaoh when he was so young and was still able to change the empire—it’s powerful. I feel like I’m the King Tut of my world, being so young and setting trends, and I just want to take it to the next level.”

Helping Tyga ascend to hip-hop royalty on Careless World: Rise of the Last King are contributors Lil Wayne, Drake, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Chris Brown, Soulja Boy, Game, Big Sean, Wale, and Pharrell Williams. But the single that seems to resonate most with fans—and the one that’s cemented rack in the hip-hop lexicon—is his solo track “Rack City.”

When you think of rappers from Compton, you don’t think of them rapping about riches; but Tyga, who grew up in the city that birthed NWA, forges his own path. “Basically, Rise of the Last King is about knowing that you are in control of your own thoughts and destiny,” he pontificates. “Just do whatever you feel. By calling myself the Last King I feel like I’m the only person that can set my own goals, set up my own life. Everybody has to do that themselves.”

His independence was tested when he first got tattooed. “I was in the eighth grade, I was 13 years old, when I told my mother that I was going to get her name tattooed on my neck,” he recounts. “I think I was watching TV or saw someone with a tattoo or an old Tupac video, but I know I wanted a tattoo. She said, ‘If you get that I’mma kick you out of my house.’ But I got it. She was real pissed off, but at the same time it was a love/hate thing, because her friends liked it and said that it was so sweet of me to do.”

Since then, he has collected an impressive body of work and looks to be running out of room on his body. But, he assures, “I don’t think you can ever be done getting tattooed because there’s always something. You want to keep them fresh and then there’ll be stuff you think of and want to get; tattoos are also a timeline of your life. It’ll take a long time for me to completely finished because there’s a lot more pieces or more detail that I’m going to get.” Through music, clothing, and his tattoos, Tyga is fully determined to compose his own future. —Rocky Rakovic

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