Songs of the Decade: “Who Shot Me?”

I’ll be going long on some songs the past decade that have stuck with me for whatever reason. Here’s YG’s “Who Shot Me?”:

 

Late night on a Friday in early July 2015 Compton rapper YG was shot three times at a recording studio in LA. He, as you’d expect, was uncooperative with police. He survived and was back in the studio the following day. In the aftermath, YG released the best record of his career, 2016’s Still Brazy, and one of his best songs: “Who Shot Me?”

The song, obviously, flips Biggie’s classic Tupac-diss track (non-diss track if you believe him) “Who Shot Ya?” into a paranoid investigation into who shot him and why they did it. To this day, the shooter remains unidentified. “I can’t sleep at night, this shit is unbomfortable/ having nightmares of me coming for dude/ having a hard time putting together two and two/ They was in a brand new truck, somebody sent them dudes.” The uncertainty of it all only adds to YG’s paranoia; he can’t trust anyone so long as all of these questions remain unanswered.

Swish’s beat does incredible work in reflecting YG’s paranoia. It’s a classic G-Funk beat slowed to a crawl, with solo piano notes added to create even more menace. The beat almost invites you to move to it before you realize that one: it’s too slow to do anything but nod your head, and two: you really shouldn’t be dancing to this song in the first place.

YG, on the song’s outro, reflects on whether or not he did something to deserve it, whether he needs to chalk it up to being part of the game. But, YG isn’t in the game anymore; he’s a recording artist, but it doesn’t matter. As we saw with the loss of Nipsey Hussle last year: it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve made, how much you’ve given back to your city, gun violence can take anyone. If anything, his fame has only made him more of a target – success breeds jealousy. So, R.I.P. Nipsey; long live YG. “I guess God has some other plans for me ’cause that shit ain’t stop me.”

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