Ya Boy: Rapper in Disguise

Photo: Courtesy of Ya Boy

The list of people who still care about Bay–area rap has dwindled mightily since hyphy whiffed its crossover moment last year. (For the record, that list now looks something like this: the guy who started the “E-40 is dead” rumor at NBA All-Star Weekend; fans of purportedly humorous “ghost-riding the whip” YouTube videos; my little brother, still perfecting his thizz face.)

But all that was before 23-year-old San Fran rapper Ya Boy unleashed the cover of his new mixtape, of course. Missing the tie-in opportunities from Transformers' summer blockbuster run, but landing square amidst our everlasting allegiance to those shape-shifting robots from space, Ya Boy co-opts the name and imagery of the Autobots’ noble chieftain for the year’s greatest mixtape cover. Ya Boy is…oh, yes…Optimus Rime! —Amos Barshad