Following the smashing success of his 2019 Spanish influenced rap crossover banger "Uno," Watts rapper Ambjaay has just dropped his second-ever mixtape entitled It Cost to Live Like This 2, a follow up to his debut tape of the same name. As Ambjaay is looking to cement his status as an LA hip-hop heavyweight, the new tape is a consistent flow of upbeat, care free rap songs that show a more focused and refined delivery from the 20-year-old artist. More importantly, the young vocalist has lost no touch of what he's great at, bringing positive energy and catchy LA rap gold.
Since his meteoric rise in 2019, Ambjaay has had some time to reflect on the kind of artist he wants to be. While the first iteration of It Cost to Live Like This was a starter pack to the hard-hitting club anthems that he can craft, the sequel finds the young rapper more skilled and proficient at his specific brand of rap. "On this one, I'm signed now, I'm developed, and I've learned more about my sound. My first project was me getting my foot in the door, but now I'm more comfortable with rapping." As far as his sound goes, it's unapologetically loud and indulgent; it feels like all the fun that LA has to offer.
Speaking to Ambjaay, his good attitude and ambition are undeniable. He's happily proud of himself while still remaining humble-looking ahead to the future. He largely attributes this to his upbringing in Watts, a rough area that made him the young man he is today. "The area I come from, not too many people make it. In LA it's a lot of gangbanging. I just wanted to make it known that you can have fun too. You don't have to be tough or violent on the time. These are songs that you can gravitate to anywhere and have fun with. I'm just tryna be positive because I come from the negative." This mentality is prominent throughout the off the wall and dynamic music on It Cost To Live Like This 2. There's a feel-good aura that brings this escapist element that Ambjaay's talking about.
Ambjaay's new tape makes some development on the Spanish infused rap wave he started last year. Specifically, the track "Salsa" is a bouncy jam that flaunts a wild instrumental with mariachi horns and rhythms. Ambjaay's been experimenting with this sound since "Uno" took over, and he's always been a fan of the culture. "In high school I paid attention in Spanish class. It's always good to learn something new." But Ambjaay isn't a one-trick pony, he can bring the heat anywhere. Another standout track is "Dangerous," which features a chilling piano beat reminiscent of a YG style banger and nonstop sharp bars from the young lyricist.
The most infectious and hype track on the project has to be "Blow the Pickle" featuring Wiz Khalifa, a Tay Keith produced slapper that samples Too-$hort's "Blow the Whistle." It takes a modern spin on a timeless rap anthem while pushing Wiz to bar out like no one's seen in a while. Ambjaay was both grateful and impressed by the showing from Wiz Khalifa, "Not to many people like to mess with up and coming artists. I really mess with him for that. I really appreciate him. And I haven't heard him rap like that in a long time. He went in on that beat."
Looking forward to the year and beyond, Ambjaay's new tape It Cost To Live Like This 2 is only the beginning. He still has many more plans to grow musically, help his loved ones, and expand his reach. "I just wanna upgrade and help my people out, help my family out. I wanna pass the baton to one of my homies so they can shine." What's more stunning is his comfort and confidence in his own ability. Ambjaay has a passion for life and for his music that's refreshing to see at his young age. He isn't worried about the money or status, he just wants to get better. "I rap because I enjoy it. I'd never put money before rapping. My brother and I always say that if you believe in yourself and you put your all into it, money's gonna come. That's the last thing you gotta worry about. So I just wanna get better and focus on my craft." This mindset is not only inspiring, it's worked wonders for Ambjaay. Surely his clear head and strong skillset will take him far in music and beyond.