Ty Dolla $ign Makes America “Wavy”
Whether it’s his music or his presence, there’s something about Ty Dolla $ign that makes you feel like there’s chemistry. The first time I wore my “Make America Wavy” hat to his show at Marquee, Las Vegas, he made eye contact and nodded, as a sign of respect that he understood my “waviness”. The second time I wore the same hat, he grabbed it and shook my head. Backstage, with DJ Mustard, he noticed the hat for a third time and laughed. His first words to me were, “Make America wavy?”, before greeting me with a hug.
$ign literally transforms on stage. At first, he starts off the show with “Saved” (ft. E-40 in the album, Free TC) with a long trench coat, a wide brim hat, and some shades. He reminds me of a black Zoro, except with dreads, tattoos, and glasses. Towards the end of the show, he ditches the trench coat and somehow ends up shirtless while he hypes the crowd and jumps up and down to Blasé. Dolla is the like the thug version of Cary Grant. Classic Hollywood actor, Grant, like Ty is smooth and suave, with English-tailored trench coats, and a wide-brim hat. With a simple smile or tilt of the hat, he is classy like Grant and melts the heart of the ladies. Dolla is sweet, but don’t let the innocent, shy smile fool you. He is a romantic, nasty bad-boy, like chocolate covered strawberries with a side of Henny. His voice is raspy, smooth, and sensual, but he makes, “Girl, I beat it up,” sound like an innocent, romantic sing-a-long. “Lil Baby” by DJ Mustard and Ty is like the R-rated version of Joe’s “The Things Your Man Won’t Do.”
Though Ty wears Dolla $IGN tatted on his neck, he’s underlooked as an artist, and perhaps only viewed as a “thug”. In a world where black men are masculinized or portrayed as arrogant gangsters, Ty is challenging that stigma, perhaps without even noticing. Dolla holds onto his identity as a former Blood, but does not place himself in a category of a “gangster” artist. He depicts that black artists are more than wearing chains, diamonds, grills, or flaunting Gucci belts and cash on IG. Like many of us, Dolla is a skater, a guitarist, drummer, a keyboardist, a father, a brother, a John Mayer fan, and a songwriter- in general, a regular guy. He wears thousand dollar suits and chains but “rocks Vans like a skater.” He “might drink the Henny,” to ratchet music in the club, but will get down with your uncle to Bootsie Collins or Al Jarreau at the family BBQ. Collaborating with artists including will.i.am, Skrillex, AD, Justin Timberlake, YG, Joe Moses, Swedish singer, Zara Larsson, and Fifth Harmony, to name a few, Dolla is one of the most versatile, original, and “wavy” artists of the generation. Regardless of their musical background or gang affiliation, ratchet or not, this man is happy to collab with any artist he sees as an “instrument” and can create with.
“What’s it like working with Ty?,” I asked in an interview with the producer, B. Ham from Dr. Luke’s Prescription Songs. “I always am very grateful whenever I have the opportunity to work with him. He is very talented and a super hard worker. I always learn a lot when I’m around him,” expressed B. Ham.
As Ty keeps winning, he keeps his circle close and brings his people with him. He’s got his brothers for life if you will. Backstage, you will find DJ Mustard and Tally (TC). Even Compton rapper, AD, acknowledges him as a support system and “big brother.” Joe Moses pops up on stage to tell the DJ, “F’ that sh**”, bring it back, DJ!” when “Lil Baby” by DJ Mustard and Ty$ come on in the club. DJ Hustle
It’s been 5 years since the beginning of his project, Beach House, an installment of Ty’s mixtape, in 2012. Beach House 3 following Ty’s debut Free TC is not yet released (and Ty never fails to tease his fans), but his most recent songs from the project include “Love U Better” featuring The Dream and Lil Wayne and “So Am I” with Skrillex and Damien Marley.
From his grandma’s backroom to the big stage, Dolla continues to make more waves in the music world. As he keeps breaking barriers in the in music, Ty continues to be true to himself as a music lover. He stands as one of the most original, “wavy” artists of today’s generation.
Written by Atlantis Aubry