Last summer, Nathan Graham, program director for the Detroit pop station WDZH, made a prediction. “The next big song that’s going to be on Top 40 that everyone is completely whiffing on right now is Tyga’s ‘Taste,'” Graham said. “If pop radio would actually give it a look, I think that would be a smash. We’ll see.”
Graham turned out to be right. Thanks to a beat that’s precisely calibrated for car stereos, “Taste” enjoyed four weeks at Number One in the radio format known as “Rhythmic,” which favors an energetic mixture of pop, dance music, hip-hop, R&B and reggaeton. The single was played more 6,000 times during its final week in the top spot, according to data from Mediabase. “Taste” also reached Number Eight on the Hot 100.
Tyga is understandably elated about this achievement. He also appears to be fixated on repeating it. Since releasing “Taste” on May 18, the rapper has released four more songs that sound nearly identical to that single. The latest, “Girls Have Fun,” a collaboration with G-Eazy and Rich the Kid, came out on Friday.
It’s hard not to be impressed with Tyga’s single-minded focus. The core of all five songs is a canonical West Coast hip-hop sound built around simple bass loops and electronic hand-claps. All five tracks return to the simplest of hooks, four- or five-syllable instructions that Tyga delivers with surprising lack of affect: “She can get a taste,” “Ba-back that ass [up],” “Stick out ya tongue.” And all five tracks stay in a narrow tempo range, operating between 95 and 105 beats per minute.
The melodies of these singles are also similar. In “Taste,” an oily vocal fillip glues everything together; in “Swish,” something synth-like delivers a comparable riff; in “Dip,” another “Taste”-y progression is provided by something violin-ish. A pinging sound serves the same function for “Spray,” a Sneakk track that features Tyga as a guest, while “Girls Have Fun” uses both a “Taste”-esque vocal sample and the pinging sound.
The similarity across these tracks is not a coincidence. “Taste,” “Swish” and “Dip” were all produced by D.A. Doman. Doman loves this sound so much, in fact, that he also used it on Kodak Black’s mega-hit “Zeze,” substituting a steel-drum sample in place of the riffs he used in the Tyga singles. Meanwhile, “Girls Have Fun” was produced by DJ Snake, who is an adept mimic: On 2018’s “Maradona Riddim,” Snake brazenly grabbed a previously released hit (Niniola’s “Maradona”), added a drop, and declared it new. With “Girls Have Fun,” the French producer took the same approach, but presumably used “Taste” or “Dip” as a starting point.
Tyga’s dogged commitment to a single sound has mostly paid off. “Taste” is triple-platinum, and it’s enjoying a long post-peak life on the airwaves, with nearly 1,500 plays last week. While none of the follow-ups have reached the same heights, they’ve still managed to find a sizable audience. “Swish” went Gold in November. “Dip” has been in rotation on Rhythmic Radio for almost four months, according to Nielsen BDS. “Spray” was one of the five most-added songs during BDS’ most recent tracking week.
If there’s one constant in pop, it’s the copying impulse: At any given moment, clumps of same-sounding hits rule the charts. “A lot of people like to copy things,” Doman acknowledged in an interview with Rolling Stone last year. “That’s something I saw coming up … when you have a sound, a lot of people try to jack it.” Who needs other people? Tyga is happy to copy himself.