For someone whose initial notoriety came courtesy of a strip club anthem entitled “Toot It & Boot It,” YG’s music has become increasingly concerned with addressing police brutality. It shouldn’t be that surprising, as his South Central home was where law enforcement-critiquing rap was born, but at this point in YG’s career, he’s capable of tying any song, even the most seemingly unrelated, to that crucial subject.
On paper, “YNS” is a catchy slice of trap-pop that pairs an ebullient YG with a pair of ascendant Southern stars, Memphis loudmouth Blac Youngsta and Atlanta singin-ass-rapper YFN Lucci. It features only one lyric related to police (Youngsta says “Run from the cops” almost in passing) and is otherwise comprised of goofy, slightly repetitive chants that are nevertheless super enjoyable in a vicarious, drunken-rap-along sort of way. Nobody can pretend to know what “I don’t really smile/I just grin, hoe” is supposed to mean, but that’s exactly what makes it such a great line.
About one-third of the accompanying video is in-line with this mood, mostly the scenes featuring an energetic dance-off between the three rappers that’s unarguably won by Blac Youngsta’s flailing antics. But for the most part, the “YNS” clip is about the police. We begin with vertically shot iPhone footage that shows the chaotic aftermath of a police shooting, disbelieving onlookers, harried cop, and all. The video’s main arc then involves a cop harassing a man and brandishing his gun before attracting the attention of some kids who turn the tables and their guns on the cop. It’s a powerful, unnerving message of safety in numbers that’s oddly juxtaposed with the song’s all-out fun.
“YNS” is taken from YG’s upcoming tape Just Re’d Up 3: Know Your Worth. We’ve already heard the DJ Mustard-produced “Pop It, Shake It,” and this video was shared in tandem with another new track called “Fuck It Up.” Based on the character of all three songs (video concepts notwithstanding), it’s safe to say this will be a more lighthearted YG release.