YG is coming off one of the most successful and high-profile years of his career in 2016, with the release of his album Still Brazy and the notoriety of his anti-Donald Trump song “FDT (F— Donald Trump)” and its accompanying campaign. Today, the West Coast MC officially signed to United Talent Agency (UTA) for worldwide representation in all areas, Billboard has exclusively learned.
This year, YG has wasted no time building on his momentum from 2016, having already collaborated with none other than Mariah Carey on the diva’s latest single, the heartbreak anthem “I Don’t.” (Carey is also signed with UTA.) In the past year, he’s also revealed some business and personal news; in August, the Def Jam MC revealed he had signed a joint venture with Interscope for his 4Hunnid Records imprint; he also spoke about becoming a father in an interview with Billboard in December.
“The biggest change this year was having my daughter,” he said, reflecting on his highlights from 2016. “Before, I was just turnt up, running around — I didn’t have a reason to come home. But now, when I’m done doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I go home, because when she wakes up she needs to see me. I needed that.”
While YG has never shied away from writing unflinchingly about the struggles and inequalities of the inner cities — he’s widely regarded as one of hip-hop’s most evocative storytellers — the release of “FDT” and the tour of the same name that followed turned him into a political lightning rod of sorts for the hip-hop world, showcasing a refreshing willingness to speak out amid the turmoil of last year’s election and the political climate that preceded it.
“I didn’t plan to write about [politics],” he said in the same interview. “But when I was writing the album, we were going through a lot, as far as our people and our communities. And we were talking about it in the studio because we were seeing the news about police killing blacks back to back. I got tired of just talking about it with the homies, so I started rapping about it. Anybody could have written a ‘F— Donald Trump’ record, but [ours] was real, and it was how people were feeling out here. And somebody finally said it.”
The addition of YG is another move UTA’s push further into hip-hop in 2017; earlier this month, Billboard reported that Pusha T, Desiigner and Tyga, all three of whom are signed to Kanye West‘s G.O.O.D. Music label, had joined UTA for representation in all areas in the United States and select global territories. The company also represents DJ Khaled and G-Eazy, among others, in the hip-hop sphere.