Taylor Gang crooner Ty Dolla $ign has been on a tear this year, and today we'll take a listen to his star studded mixtape $ign Language to see what all the hype is about.
First things first, there's a few things you'll need to effectively set the mood for this one. $ign Language isn't a middle of the afternoon at your office listen, as we quickly learned. Fast forward to a little later at your crib, where you've presumably acquired the 40's of malt, a pile of your favorite strain, and two to three bad bitches that will really make this mixtape ring true. Now that you have everything you need, you can hit play while you read along, we'll let you know what we think as we go.
The "Intro" feels like a late-90's West Coast drop-top anthem, where Ty Dolla shows off his range, singing about these fakers out here in a voice usually reserved for love songs. Big Sean also lends a hand, delivering a subdued verse about the really real women out here. "Dead Presidents" is alright, Ty showing off his bars on the uptempo cut before Juicy J almost ruins the song with an awful verse. Rich Homie Quan actually surprised us with his guest verse, feeling way more natural on the track than Juicy. The highlight of the whole track is the Metro Boomin production, which is top notch as usual. From there, we head into "Lord Knows", which is a banger, the kind of track Dolla $ign seems to excel on. He tells us about a mystery chick that used to mess around with A$AP and Too $hort, so all we really know about her is she needs her man to have a dollar sign in his name. Dom Kennedy shows why he's one of the next rappers to pop off with a mean feature, followed by Ricky Rozay, who consistently knocks beats like this out of the park. Why this song isn't a smash right now, only Lord knows.
"Stretch + She Better" feels like a long interlude, where Ty slows it down and lays one strictly for the ladies on the Stretch half of the track before the drums come in on the She Better half. AT this point, it's safe to say nobody else is making music like this, almost in a NewStreetSoulSlowBang subgenre all it's own, this tape is lightyears ahead of where R&B was a few years ago. "Drank N Cranberry" is built for the club, sure to make shorty drop it low in that tight little dress, the production out of this world once again. Through the first half of this tape, most of the standout tracks are at least co-produced by Ty Dolla himself, which is impressive considering the level of production throughout. Dun Deal, speaking of amazing production, delivers a synthy instant classic on "Like I Do", which also features great verses from Yo Gotti and French Kardashan. Only one question can be raised at this point in $ign Language, if this is Ty Dolla's mixtape, are we even ready for an album? He's killing everything on here, fatalities left and right, from the harder hitting street joints to the smoother ballads, he can do it all. His Taylor Gang boss makes an appearance on "Issue", and it's not his best work, so we'll assume it came from the Blacc Hollywood sessions. Ty did something cool by having other singers lay down his interludes at the end of and between tracks, with BJ the Chicago Kid, K Camp, Jeremih, Mike Posner, Mila J, and even Ed Sheeran contributing smooth transitionals. On "Type of Shit I Hate" Ty gets help from Fabo Loso and YG on this DJ Mustard-produced cut. Along with "Lord Knows", this one is probably the highlight of the already impressive tape. His beat and feature selection is really top notch, nothing feeling forced or out of place, save for that Juicy J one (sorry Juicy). Tip joins Dolla with a solid verse on "Can't Stay", the new anthem for guys trying to quietly put their clothes back on and sneak out of a chick's house before they have to cuddle. The raw and stripped down "In Too Deep" closes out the mixtape perfectly.
We didn't really know what to expect going into this listen, but were thoroughly floored by it's quality all the way through. It's album quality for sure, which leads us to believe we're in for the long haul with Ty Dolla $ign, and we can expect only great things from here on out. He went all out, not only showing tremendous range and versatility throughout, but producing half of the project as well as making nearly perfect selections while curating the rest of it, every feature and guest interlude feeling right at home and carefully planned. This is one of the more polished and cohesive mixtapes we've heard in a while, upping the ante for the rest of the singers in the game.