With YG gearing up to release his 5th studio album 4 REAL 4 REAL, the Compton rapper dropped his latest video from the project, “Go Loko” ft. Tyga and Puerto Rican trapero Jon Z. The clip – which was released on Cinco de Mayo weekend – features YG in a full charro getup, with interspersed scenery depicting Los Angeles cholo culture in all its glory. Lowriders, Mexican flags, pachuco zoot suits, and the unmistakable work of Highland Park born and raised hair and makeup artist Lady Soulfly adorn the clip.
Even though the video has garnered a coveted co-sign by Drake, it’s also caused quite a stir online – with some people taking to Twitter to accuse YG of cultural appropriation, and of failing to feature a Mexican rapper on the song.
I can’t believe I have to say this every May… Mexican/Chicano/ANY ethnic culture is not a costume, it’s not a novelty, it isn’t quirky. It is history, it is personal, it is the story and truth of HUMAN BEINGS. I love YG but this is disappointing :/ https://t.co/E0HAmHC3Ke
— drea (@awkdrea) May 3, 2019
i love YG but i think it’s really wack he went that crazy with mexican culture in that new video and didn’t have a mexican rapper on the song….like wut…
— Raven Felix (@RavenFelix) May 3, 2019
Other users were quick to point out their feelings of solidarity with the rapper, with some even pointing out that Mariachi music (and culture) can be traced back to black Mexicans in Jalisco. But the closeness doesn’t stop there. As we know, YG is from Compton – a neighborhood which has seen a transformation from predominantly black to Latino in recent years. Some elements of this video show the way in which the two communities co-exist in L.A.
sooooo… I’m aware that there are ppl offended if Yg’s most recent attire for his single “Go Loko” as if the originators of the whole mariachi back in the 18th century didn’t have African descendants ok lol
— Nylah Iman (@AmazingIman) May 3, 2019
— jay51 (@leyenda51) March 28, 2019
— James (@DonJimnz) May 2, 2019
Still, others added another layer of conversation in defending the rapper by pointing out the use of the N word by many non-Black Mexicans (and to an extent, Latinxs in general).
If u Mexican and hating on YG wearing a mariachi suit u can fuck all the way off. Y’all the same ones throwing around the N word like it’s all good
— ANTDAWG (@yunghormiga) May 3, 2019
everyone defending yg with the argument of “mexicans use the n word” sound fucking stupid. you don’t dress as a mariachi when you’re not hispanic. not EVERY hispanic says the n word. only the ignorant ones.
— julissa (@julissabnava) May 3, 2019
mexicans who say the n word: we don't care that YG is dressing as a mariachi, take notes ✍️
— grizzz (@grizette_) March 30, 2019
One user pointed out how YG is not spotlighting nor uplifting Mexican culture in the song, and should not be celebrated for essentially using the culture to pander to his large Latinx fan base, while bragging about his sexual conquest of Latina women.
You dumb Mfs YG didn’t give exposure or awareness to Mexican culture. What he did Is use Mexican culture to make a ratchet song about Latina women giving him Pussy. He did it to Mexicans because we’re huge consumers and 60 percent of his fan base. Aka he’s smart af and we’re dumb
— The Plug (@nezthebamf) May 4, 2019
Ultimately, the clip does raise a lot of questions about what is the proper way to approach use of another culture, but questions of appropriation generally involve a marginalized community’s culture being used by a systemically dominant group. Though there certainly are separate experiences and nuances to the way in which Black and Mexican cultures have been marginalized, to say that one of the cultures is in a significant place of power over the other would be inaccurate.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments.