Born on November 19, 1989, in Compton, California, Michael Stevenson started his music career by creating songs and posting them online, and later making mixtapes. After talking to his cousin, Travis McCoy of the group Gym Class Heroes, about his favorite performers, Stevenson went on tour with the group, traveling around the world. He released his debut album, No Introduction, in 2008, and has appeared on MTV with Fall Out Boy and Lil Wayne.
Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson was born in Compton, California, on November 19, 1989. Of mixed Vietnamese and Jamaican parentage, Stevenson was a shy child who was nonetheless influenced by Compton's active rap music scene. Inspired by listening to Fabolous, Eminem, Cam'ron and other rappers, he entered rap contests with friends from school and often posted songs that he made up in online chat rooms. He even made mixtapes of his songs that he shared with friends. Perhaps because his mother called him "Little Tiger Woods" as a child, Stevenson took on the stage name Tyga, an acronym he created for Thank You God Always.
After Stevenson ran into his cousin, Travis McCoy of the band Gym Class Heroes, at a popular Los Angeles sneaker store, the two discussed favorite performers and Tyga shared his dream of a music career. Tyga also shared some of his mixtapes with McCoy, who later offered Tyga a chance to perform with his group and join them on the road.
After Tyga traveled the world with Gym Class Heroes, McCoy signed him to the independent label Bat Squad Records. Tyga made important relationships within the music industry, even performing at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards with Fall Out Boy and popular rapper Lil Wayne, with whom he became fast friends. Tyga appeared on Lil Wayne's multi-platinum-selling album Tha Carter III, and launched his own solo career with the single "Coconut Juice," which became a popular summer novelty tune.
Tyga was later signed to Lil Wayne's Young Money Management company, which counts Lil Wayne, Drake and Lil Twist among its clients. Tyga's debut album, No Introduction, was released in 2008, and while it was not a major seller, it increased his popularity with hip-hop fans, especially college students.
Moving easily in music circles that include T.I., Wale, Fabolous and other hip-hop luminaries, Tyga has collaborated with other recording artists, including R&B superstars Chris Brown and Robin Thicke, and rap star Nicki Minaj, who appeared on his single "Far Away," from Tyga's second album, Careless World: Rise of the Last King (2012).
Tyga has a son, King Cairo Stevenson, with a former stripper, Blac Chyna. King Cairo was born in October 2012.
Although Tyga was born and raised in Compton, an area infamous for its economic disadvantage, violence and gang culture, there were rumblings that he had a comfortable middle-class upbringing, calling into question his street credibility.