South Los Angeles–bred artist Ty Dolla $ign is here to let you know he’s so much more than a rapper. From singing to songwriting to producing, Ty$ is a jack-of-all-trades. His versatility is widely apparent in his earlier mixtapes, as he blends pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop and real-life storytelling.
His breakout single, “Toot It and Boot It” featuring YG, was only the beginning for Ty$, real name Tyrone William Griffin Jr. Linking with DJ Mustard and creating the club-friendly “Paranoid” proved to be a milestone for Ty$’s career as it gained major traction in both radio and streaming. At one point, there didn’t seem to be an event or function we attended where we didn’t hear this record in rotation.
His last album, Beach House 3, showcased a much more mature, well-rounded Ty$. With Pharrell Williams, Lil Wayne, Tory Lanez, The-Dream, YG, Future, Swae Lee and Wiz Khalifa popping up, this proved to be his best work yet.
“I feel like that project is way more eccentric,” he says. “I kept on getting confused with a rapper, like everyone kept calling me a rapper and shit. And I wanted to make sure people knew it was more about the singing and musicianship. So I think we succeeded with that and now we’re touring that album. The tour is called the Don’t Judge Me Tour.”
Of course, Ty Dolla $ign is notorious for killing the features game. Hopping on Post Malone’s “Psycho” was a good example. Already hitting the No. 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart not even a week after its release, it was the outstanding and outlandish music video that fans could not get enough of.
“It was dope,” Ty says. “It was out in the desert somewhere but it was freezing. I pulled up to the set and the next thing you know, I see a bigass tank coming through. I was like, ‘Oh shit, Post has a tank.’ And I heard he bought the tank because he loved it so much. [laughs] And then we changed the weather on them in the middle of the desert, and made the snow come down. That was cool, too.”
For someone as musically talented as Ty$, it’s hard not to get sucked into the studio for countless hours on end. His daughter makes it important that he find balance between work and family.
“A normal day is getting up, working out, eating something, and then hitting up somebody’s studio or hitting up my own studio,” he says. “If I have time that day and I’ve already done a lot of work, I might just go kick it with the family — go cook something. You know, regular life shit.”
Beyond music, Ty makes sure his voice is heard as he comments on gun control and the recent March for Our Lives.
“I think it’s good that kids are getting together trying to stop all the nonsense,” he says. “I’ve always used my platform for whatever’s going on. If I can help, I will continue to do the same thing.”
As Ty’s career progresses, he’s seen many highlights. But when punk veterans Bad Brains reached out to him, that was a biggie.
“H.R. has always been one of my favorites since middle school, since I found out about Bad Brains,” he says. “I’ve always expressed that in interviews, and if you’ve seen my behind-the-scenes, that’s what I play every time before I go onstage — that album or whatever. So I guess his wife and him find out about that, and when I got to Philly, they hit me in the DM like, ‘Yo, we’re gonna pull up to a show.’ I’m like, ‘What, is this really happening?’ So he came and we chopped it up and plan to link up as soon as I get off tour — hit the studio one time and see what happens!”
Ty Dolla $ign performs at the Novo on Thursday, April 12, at 8 p.m. with opener 24Hrs.