YG’s rap career started when he was 16 years old in high school. One day, he realized there was a rap song dissing him going around on myspace, he didn’t make much out of the situation at first, and thought it was actually funny that someone disliked him so much, that they would actually take their time to record a song about him. He eventually decided to take matters into his own hand, and recorded his own diss song. He didn’t have much equipment to record the song, he had to use his laptop and a microphone from his house. Ever since that day, he’s been writing and recording in his spare time. YG believes his newfound love for music helped him stay away from the dangerous streets of Compton, which might have led to his arrest or death. On an interview YG said this about the start of his career “It really happened out of the blue to me, but since then I found out this is something I really love doing”.
In 2011, YG was included as a member of XXL’s 2011 Freshmen Class. When the 2012 Freshmen Class was released by XXL magazine, many artists rejected their invitation. YG said being inducted in the XXL’s Freshmen Class adds pressure to artists to perform within a certain time limit, and that many people might just be scared or not ready for it. In an interview he did with BET television he said "Basically, you’re on the cover and that's really setting yourself up to where people are going to expect you to be at a certain point at that time, if you don't get there, you’re going to feel a certain way. The cover makes it seem like you’re supposed to start popping next year, like Wiz and them did."
YG is a member of the Bloods from the set known as ‘Tree Top Piru’. During an interview with Vlad TV, YG explain how members of his gang used to change all ‘C’s in words to ‘B’s. B stands for the Bloods (his gang) and C stands for the Crips (Bloods' rival gang). One example of him flipping the ‘C’ letter for the ‘B’ letter is in his song ‘Bompton’, Bompton was supposed to be Compton(YG’s hometown), but the C was replaced with a B.
YG signed with Def Jam record label in 2009. By the time he was signed to Def Jam, YG was 19 years old and had a myspace page which garnered over a million page views, during that time, he also had 2 youtube videos with more than 1 million views. Max Goussee, the VP from Def Jam whom signed YG said he signed him because of his excellence stage presence, and he reminded him of the classic MCs from back in the days. YG said he feels blessed to have signed the deal with Def Jam because they’re the record label he’s been hearing the most about during his lifetime.
During an interview with DJ Bootleg on the Power98.3 radio program, YG revealed that he was signed to rapper Young Jeezy’s label ‘CTE World’ by saying “I’m Corporate Thuggin”. While doing the interview he also mentioned of him working on his debut album titled “I’m 4rm Bomton” which Young Jeezy is the executive producer.
YG is the founder of the record label Pu$haz Ink along with DJ Mustard. The label currently runs independently and includes the following artists Ace, YG, PC, Reem Riches, and TeeCee4800. The label also has DJ Mustard as their only producer in the roster.
In 2012, during the annual DUB car show being held in the LA convention center, a fight broke out between YG’s label and Compton Menace’s Blackwall street’s label, both whom are gang affiliated. The fight started as YG was on stage performing, Compton and his crew started tossing items at YG, which led to YG’s group, whom were part of the crowd to attack Compton Menace’s crew. Eyewitness claims there must have been over 40 individuals fighting. Security eventually took control of the situation, however, that didn’t stop the fight, which poured into the parking lots where shots were fired. The incident caused the event to end sooner than planned, with other music artist’s scheduled performances being cancelled. A man named keith levington was shot dead in the parking lot.