Autumn is a stage of transformation, the harbinger of winter to come, and right now, the season of Ty Dolla $ign. To use one of his favorite expressions, Ty Dolla $ign is “lit.” With Beach House 3, his long awaited and much anticipated full-length, the Los Angeles-born artist, songwriter and producer steps into a brilliantly luminous and expertly focused spotlight.
He has parleyed his visibility since his last full-length, Free TC in 2015, by guesting with artists including 2 Chainz, Jason Derulo, Meek Mill, Gucci Mane and Wiz Khalifa. Among his other collaborations: platinum certified “Paranoid” feat. B.o.B; 3x platinum “Or Nah” feat. the Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and DJ Mustard; and 2x platinum “Sucker For Pain” with Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Logic feat. X Ambassadors from Suicide Squad: The Album. As ranked by Spotify, Ty Dolla $ign is currently the 25th most streamed artist in the United States.
The feature tracks from Beach House 3 are smart, modern and impressively melodic. “I kept reading comments when people would say, ‘We love it when you sing,’” says $ign. “I did a lot more singing. I’m excited.”
Music Connection: The lead single from Beach House 3, “Love U Better” ft. Little Wayne and the Dream, unites three very distinctive voices. What was the genesis of the song?
Ty Dolla $ign: DJ Mustard sent me a bunch of beats. When it came time to record, my A&R asked me, “Who do you want to work with?” I always wanted to work with the Dream––I had a chance to meet him when we were doing The Life of Pablo with Kanye West. So, for my project, the Dream came through for three days of sessions.
In the first two days we did 15 songs. He didn’t show up on the third day––he said we had enough! The third song we did was “Love U Better.” It’s my first single off the project––it’s one of the songs I love, and my DJ homie says that’s the one, so we went with it.
MC: How is it possible to do 15 songs in two days?
TD$: The Dream is a monster, and I’m a monster. We go back and forth and it’s “On to the next beat, let’s go.” I don’t want the engineer to fix it or to do anything. It’s just “Let’s get all of it that we can get.” So out of the 15 tracks one was the first hit.
MC: The song “So Am I” features Damian Marley and Skrillex––a mix that unites R&B, electronica and reggae into a hybrid form.
TD$: I love reggae man––my dad (Tyrone Griffin Sr. of the ‘80s R&B band Lakeside –ed.) was always into it. I couldn’t record with Bob Marley, but I got Damian Marley. I did the song with my brother Poo Bear––who is all throughout the album––and Skrillex, and then we got Damian involved later on. It’s one of my favorite songs ever. The beat is crazy, the writing is crazy. It feels good when it comes on. I’ve been performing it lately and the crowd goes crazy.
MC: What was the collaborative chemistry like, working with Skrillex?
TD$: Skrillex surprised me. Because a lot of these producers you work with nowadays––once the paperwork and all that shit happens, you’ll find it’s like five dudes on one beat. What the fuck? With Skrillex, he’ll come in and do the beat right in front of you, all those edits, all of those crazy Skrillex sounds. The Kendrick remix (“Humble”) he dropped? It’s all him. Then he wants to mix himself. I’m okay, that’s dope. Of course I had my opinion, and (engineer) James Royo came back and we all did it together. Skrillex is one of the most talented producers that I’ve worked with in this space in time. He deserves all of the praise. He’s one of those real dudes that just does it hands on. It’s not like five dudes. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with collabs as long as the songs are good, but I just respect him. Me and him are cool.