From mega-smash “Big Bank” featuring 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Nicki Minaj to TikTok favorite “Go Loko” with Tyga and Jon Z, 2019 belonged to YG who, in his team-up with producer and fellow West Coaster Mustard, was the soundtrack of the streets. And a multicultural one at that: “Go Loko” features Spanish guitar (played by Mustard disciple GYLTTRYP) and an irresistible invitation to “slide, slide, slide,” the combination of which easily earns it the honor of Variety’s Hitmakers Hook of the Year. 

To hear YG tell it, it all started with Mustard’s golden ear. “We were in the studio chilling and Mustard played that beat for us, like, ‘Bro, I think this is a hit!’,” YG recalls. “Tyga’s, like, ‘huh?’ We were trying to figure out what Mustard heard because we weren’t hearing it. Tyga and I thought Mustard was tripping — like something’s wrong with him. We couldn’t figure out how to make a song to that beat.”

YG arrived in the studio that day aiming for his usual approach: “To party and get ratchet, our regular sound,” he says. “Mustard comes with this next level s–t. ‘Look bro, this what y’all should do.’ Man, he hit us all the way left. I took the record, Tyga took the record, but we weren’t figuring nothing out. Next week, Tyga got the hook laid and I’m, like, ‘Oh s–t!’ Tyga’s like “Yeah man it’s cool, but I don’t know.’ I said: ‘No, this is what Mustard’s talking about.’ We started playing with it.”

After YG and Tyga added their verses, they brainstormed on who to add to the song that could potentially expand its reach into different markets. As YG explains: “We were going to get a Mexican/Spanish artist from the States, but nah. We want the record to be an international song as soon as it comes out.” It was thanks to Polo Molina, who recommended Jon Z, that the record reached the finish line. 

On his initial reaction to Jon Z’s verse, YG states, “I didn’t know what he’s saying all the way, but it sounds good. I asked my homegirl who speaks Spanish what he’s saying, she’s like ‘He’s talking s–t! He’s talking nasty.’ But I knew from the flow pattern that it had potential to be fire.”

Mustard often jokes that YG is a black Mexican. Indeed, the rapper whose real name is Keenon Jackson does look admiringly at the Latino community. “The whole Spanish/Latino s–t is big as f–k right now,” he says. “We come from California, we know about their people. We grew up with them; we were raised next door and went to the same schools, so we know a lot about their culture.” Ultimately, adds YG, authenticity came as a result of geographic proximity. “Where we from had a lot to do with it, the connection with the Latino community and the people.”

The song’s metrics are massive, boasting over 107 million views on YouTube more than 245 million on-demand streams, and it’s helped boost overall consumption of the rapper’s latest album “4Real 4Real,” where he intros with the verse: ““Talkin’ ’bout the West Coast, I’m the face of it.”

See the full list of 2019 Hitmakers here.