Recommended: Ty Dolla $ign – Beach House

Ty Dolla $ign is a member of the Los Angeles hip-hop production group D.R.U.G.$. along with Iggy Azalea producer Fuego and “ratchet music” pioneer DJ Mustard. He wrote YG’s 2010 regional hit “Toot It & Boot It” and the hook on Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg’s “Young, Wild & Free,” and in 2011 he released his first mixtape, a collection of R&B slow jams called “House On The Hill.” Ty’s previous works feature unexpected, often unsettling melodies and irreverent club oriented lyrics. On “Beach House,” Ty’s new full-length mixtape, he synthesizes party-oriented hip-hop beats with soulful melodies and a conspicuously autotuned vocal style that changes from rapping to singing with remarkable fluidity. Ty has a competent baritone voice, and uses tools like autotune with restraint. He often sounds like a smoother, more R&B-oriented Future.

Stream:  TY Dolla $ign – My Cabana

Opening track “My Cabana” is not only an infectious first single but also sets up the luxurious fantasy world Ty creates over the course of “Beach House.” His descriptions of fine women and plentiful drugs culminate in the rhetorical question chorus “how many hoes can I fit in my cabana?” It’s a memorable hook that establishes the hedonistic themes of the mixtape. Some songs like “My Cabana” portray a life of excess in a glamorous way. Mid-tempo banger “DTF” lists the different kinds of women Ty sleeps with like a trill “California Girls” and demonstrates Ty’s ability to juxtapose explicit sexual lyrics with beautiful R&B melodies with both ease and sincerity. It’s a trick straight out of R. Kelly’s playbook, but Ty is exceptionally good at it.

Some of the best moments on the mixtape emerge when Ty explores the negative aspects of his lifestyle. He spends a fair amount of time on the tape complaining about how women are constantly falling in love with him even though he is primarily interested in sex. Ty seems conflicted about this. On “Hold Up” he tells a girl “I don’t want to hear about your past,” and pleads with her to take it slow. But on the tender “Infatuated,” a ballad that could have been written by Ne-Yo in 2008 he seems genuinely sad for a woman who believes to be in love with him.

This conflict is most evident on “Mi$$ion” produced by Party Next Store where he croons “I told you straight up / I’m not a player / I’d break the bank before I’d break your heart.” True, Ty wants to be with as many chicks as can fit in his cabana, but he also doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Fantastical, joyous songs like “My Cabana” smooth over that this reality is impossible, while the sadder songs on the tape explore the fact that, in reality, he cannot have it both ways. It’s a player’s lament. Ty complaining about too many dimes falling in love with him might be insufferable if his world weren’t presented with this much nuance. “Beach House” presents a fully-formed sound that marries vapid dance music and West Coast party rap with spacey R&B and lyrics that oscillate between vulgar and confessional.

Stream: TY Dolla $ign – Mi$$ion

“Beach House” is available for free download here via DatPiff.

Michelle Myers

yung remix, #based in Chicago

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