Tyga was 'confused' about the 'Ay Caramba' video backlash, but now he's listening

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A man in braids and sunglasses flashes the "hang loose" sign
Tyga has taken responsibility for the criticism surrounding his "Ay Caramba" music video. (Richard Shotwell / Invision/Associated Press)

"Ay Caramba" generated a lot of buzz, but not in the way the rapper Tyga said he intended.

When the colorful music video dropped earlier this month, many viewers called out the "Freaky Deaky" rapper for using visuals that perpetuated Mexican stereotypes. Weeks after the video garnered millions of views on YouTube, Tyga addressed the backlash and apologized to the "Mexican community and my fans that are Mexican."

"I had no intentions on offending anybody," he said Thursday in an interview on Power 106-FM Los Angeles.

He sat down with "American Cholo" podcast host Gil Tejada to sort out the backlash. The interview began with Tejada explaining why "Ay Caramba" received pushback on social media, especially from Mexican fans.

"I'm looking at the video and originally I see a greasy, fat Mexican eating chips, room's all dirty, and then I see when he's outside in the lowrider you got tortilla chips falling down," Tejada said.

The "American Cholo" host explained that if a music video from a brown creator used stereotypical Black images — for example, showing the character "eating fried chicken" and "watermelon falling from the sky" in lieu of tortilla chips — that person would also be a target for backlash. Tyga learned about the backlash last week when he returned from his shows in Europe and said he was "confused, so that's why I didn't respond."

"I tried to do my research a little bit, I tried to ask a lot of my friends that I grew up with that were Mexican," he said.

Tyga said he consulted various Mexican people in his inner circle, such as the engineer on his music video and his DJ. He also said that he intended for the video to showcase "different Latin things."

"It wasn't a Mexican-themed video," he said.

The first character, the rapper explained, was a nod to one of Eddie Murphy's many personas in "The Nutty Professor," and he reiterated that he did not mean to offend. Tejada said that Tyga isn't the only musician to appropriate Mexican culture for music videos, listing YG's attire in "Go Loko" and the mariachi band in Blueface's "Carne Asada." Tejada said appropriation of Mexican culture is "almost at like a boiling point."

Tyga, who said he grew up with Mexican friends and culture in Los Angeles, acknowledged that he's in no position to determine what can or can't be offensive to the Latino community.

"I can understand a little bit now where you're coming from because it was supposed to be a funny video," Tyga said, adding that it wasn't meant to make fun of a specific community.

Tejeda suggested that Tyga hire cultural consultants the next time he wants to pay "homage" to the community. The rapper added that collaborations with Mexican artists can lead to better representation.

Tejada asked the rapper if he would "be willing to take that video down?"

"I'm definitely open for that," Tyga responded but joked that bigger, more popular records should remain untouched.

As of Friday, it seemed Tyga made good on his word. The "Ay Caramba" music video is no longer publicly listed on YouTube and is not on his official page.

"My art is never meant to offend anybody," Tyga said. "My art and the music brings people together."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.