Turn on “Paranoid” or “Or Nah” and you may think singer Ty Dolla $ign is a jerk. He sings about proudly thieving girlfriends, running into one too many baes in one night and having more toot it and boot it trysts than he can keep count of. But after spending time with the beatsmith you see that despite the lascivious lyrics, 29-year-old Tyrone Griffin, Jr. is quite the charmer.
As we navigated through the crowded sidewalks of an illuminated Times Square on a humid Thursday night, Mr. $ign was quite the comedian. Between talking about his debut album Free TC and upcoming Sign Language mixtape due out July 21, the lyrist behind Chris Brown’s “Loyal” channeled his inner Michael Blackson and spoke in a pseudo-African accent as he cracked jokes about the passersby and his favorite thing: women.
“The white women in New York have ass!” he said with surprise under his counterfeit cadence.
While his debut album is anticipated, Ty didn’t say much about its composition because it frankly just isn’t ready. It’s title salutes his younger brother, Big TC, who is serving a life sentence that this older brother promises he didn’t do. So far, it’s slated for a November release and there are eight songs ready but Ty says he’s “still trying to erase those.”
Whether he keeps those songs or nah, Ty seems unbothered. Throughout our time together, the Los Angeles native had a serene spry. Under his hippy like vibes, though, there is another facet hidden. As he spoke, he slipped gang slanguage in here and there, which became a habit during his days as a Westside Rollin’ 20s Blood in South Central L.A. “I want some candy, blood. I don’t have no bash on me,” he said to his bodyguard as he passed by a outdoor newsstand stacked with chocolate and chips.
Ty’s personality has the same mesmerizing allure as his Ratchet&B catalog. The lyrics are raunchy but the listener is captured by the impressive instrumentation, which sometimes boasts violins, drums and bass guitar rhythms sometimes played by Ty himself. While trying not to get lost in his light green, sleepy eyes, Mr. $ign spoke to me about his forthcoming projects, living in Brooklyn a few years back and what his parents say about his music. —Tanay Hudson