Tyga – InkedMag


Raised within the house-party circuit between “Berryland” Gardena and the bustling streets of Compton, Los Angeles native, Tyga, felt the tug of the music industry within the early days of his high school career. After his initial come-up, the acclaimed artist finds himself a decade and a half later not only a proud father, but someone who is constantly evolving, innovating, and working with different mediums in the entertainment industry. Although the rapper’s legendary status is one for the books, the artist stays ever-humble in that regard. Always searching for what’s next and pulling inspiration from his personal experiences to pour into his latest artistic pursuits. Tyga opts to keep looking forward at what’s coming next, rather than look back upon what’s already been.

While on the precipice of his latest musical project, a collaborative effort with YG, the musician is also one of the few lucky clients to go under anesthesia for a long-haul tattoo session with world renowned tattoo artist, Ganga. The rapper is no stranger to collaborating with legends in the music industry, so why would it be any different for the tattoo industry? The heavily-inked pop culture icon opened up to Inked about his recent creative foray, not only in the music world, but also the tattoo world.

So, you’re no stranger to working with other heavy hitter artists in the industry, but your most recent creative pursuit has been Hit Me When U Leave the Klub: The Playlist, which you developed alongside YG. What inspired the project?

Yeah, it’s kind of more like a playlist. We always wanted to do something together,  and I feel like we just never sat down and took the time to get into the studio. I think with this one we really wanted to have fun with it. We kind of approached it like a mixtape, and everybody loves the brand new record with Wayne. A music video just came out for it. It’s a project I’ve really always wanted to do for LA and the West Coast.

How would you describe your creative process when you’re in the studio?


I work the best when I put a producer in there with me, because I can actually create from scratch. I wish I could actually press the buttons myself, but the way I hear sounds, I just know what goes together right with my voice or what I want to talk about when I hear a certain sound. My process is really about catching the vibe, hearing the right beat, and then just restyling from there. You put the melodies together, freestyling lyrics pockets, and then you just make the song.

Do you have any tattoos dedicated to the playlist?

I wouldn’t say in specific dedication to the playlist. I did get some tattoos while I was recording the project for sure, but I don’t know if it’s related to the project or maybe just the timing of when I was doing it made me want to get certain tattoos.

Speaking of the tattoos that you got while you were working on the project, you recently went under anesthesia for a long-haul tattoo collaboration with Ganga. Can you discuss what that process was like and how you came up with the ideas for your tattoos?

I’ve known Ganga for a while, and I was skeptical about the process for a long time. He was like, “I’m moving to LA and I’m doing this anesthesia thing with tattoos, with like six artists you can cover more work. It’s like a nine hour session.” I was skeptical for years, but I’d seen a lot of friends, artists, and athletes that went through the process with Ganga and it was definitely an experience. I was like, “I really want to re-do my back tattoo because I got my back done when I was so young, like 16-17.” It wasn’t the best work, so I decided to try it out and I definitely think it came out way better than I expected. I was so proud of that. It is definitely an experience, and I’m grateful to have gone through that. It could be risky but it turned out great.

Why were you initially skeptical about the process?

Well, I already have tattoos. The longest session I’ve ever done was probably five hours. I don’t like doing sessions longer than that really. I just didn’t have too much information on the anesthesia process. I just didn’t understand how you can get tattooed while under, like “is that safe?” It really did come out great though, I was in a lot of pain when I woke up but they did such a great job. It was an eight hour session and they redid my whole back, so I definitely don’t regret it. 


How would you describe your overall relationship to tattoos? What does  being a heavily tattooed person mean to you?

Tattoos were just something that I was always intrigued by when I was younger. I grew up on the West Coast seeing the greats like Tupac and Lil Wayne who were pretty covered. Also growing up around a lot of hispanic folks, seeing artists like Mister Cartoon and his whole style. It was something that I always wanted to do. I was young when I got my first tattoo, I was like 14. After I got that first one, I was addicted. It describes a person’s taste level and the things they’re into or the things that are significant to them. It’s an art form and that’s how I look at it. Now, I feel like my whole body is a piece of art.

What was your first tattoo at 14?

The Lord’s Prayer on my shoulder and upper arm. I remember I got it at a barbershop, it was this guy who was doing tattoos in the back and he was using a guitar string. It was crazy. It’s like a $20 dollar tattoo, but I was like, man, I want to get tattooed so bad. I got a haircut and then got the tattoo right in the barbershop. From there, I was just like “this is so cool.” Once I did that, I was hooked.

You are a very proud father! How does your son feel about your tattoos?

It’s funny, I never really asked him. I think one time he was like “Dad didn’t get a new tattoo today.” He’s very nonchalant sometimes. So yeah, he’s funny.

That’s adorable! How has fatherhood influenced your career over the years?

It’s definitely put more perspective on me being more intentional and impactful. Fatherhood is an inspiration and reason to keep doing what I’m doing. Taking care of someone other than yourself really inspires you. There’s somebody who is always looking forward to seeing you everyday when you get home from work and no matter what they’re just so excited to see you. So you don’t ever want to let that person down. It keeps you on your toes, but in the best way. 

So what’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects or collaborations audiences should look out for? 

I’m currently working on the first movie that I wrote. We’re working on getting that shot and I’m also working on my new album. So I have two things cooking, but I wanted this movie to be the first thing that I do. It’s super close to home and it’s definitely a real underdog story that’s based in LA. 

Amidst fame and creative exploration, Tyga remains a symbol of constant evolution and authenticity. With a new album, groundbreaking ventures in the world of tattoos, and a new cinematic project on the horizon, the rapper continues to defy expectations and push boundaries. Navigating the intersections of music, fatherhood, and artistic exploration is no easy feat, but the musician has found a way to do it seamlessly. As lyrics and ink continue to flow for Tyga, each verse and tattoo is a testament to his enduring legacy within the ever-changing entertainment industry.

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