Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Ty Dolla Sign Takes on Times Square with VIBE Vixen

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

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 very in tune with his comedic side. Between talking about his debut album Free TC  and upcoming Sign Language mixtape, 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.  Ty’s personality has the same mesmerizing allure as his Ratchet&B catalog. His charm captures you the same way his raunchy lyrics and impressive instrumentation do, which occasionally 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

All Photo Credits: Stacy-Ann Ellis

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

The Beach House Tour Experience

“Just orgies. This one Caucasian woman was mad because she couldn’t get on the bus for some reason. Then all of a sudden she was just like “I don’t wanna get on your nigger bus anyway!” and then this black girl just took off on her, just ‘bing! bing! bing! bing!’ and it was over for her and her boyfriend. That was in Chico, CA.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Sign Language mixtape

“It’s gonna be crazy. So much good shit. I got Wiz on there, French Montana, Yo Gotti, RJ, Fabolous, Big Sean, Mike Posner, Jeremih, Dom Kennedy, Juicy J. It’s a mixtape so I got a mix of shit going on. I gotta bring everybody to my world and we went stupid.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Free TC

“It’s different because the music is more quality. This time I just said, ‘fuck it, it's summer time.’ Everybody is about to put out this uptempo music so I just made a lot of slow shit and vibe-y shit. I want everybody to love it. I’m trying to go against everybody in music. Everybody copies. I hate to sound like that but people are biting, you know? I wanted to do something different. If I didn’t write with them or if I’m not their homie and it sounds like my shit then they’re biting.”

“There’s going to be less features on the album. I don’t know who is going to make it in the end. With the mixtapes me and the homies be in the studio and it's like ‘let’s do this’ and ‘let’s do this’ and we put it on the tape. Then that way I get to do my samples and all that other shit that I like to do. But the album is going to be less samples and more of us playing.”

Other producers: DRUG$, D. Miles, FKI, Done Deal, C Gutta.

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Favorite song on $ign Language mixtape

“In Too Deep” with my brother BIG TC and TeeCee 4800. Me, D. Mile and Peter Lee Johnson  made a beat to it using violins, piano and me playing the bass. It’s about being in too deep in these streets and shit getting hectic. If it was me I woulda said 'In too deep in yo bitch!'”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

His brother TC’s Instagram (TC is currently serving a life sentence in a Level four prison but somehow had a smartphone)

“It had to get taken down. He went fame crazy. He got Instagram and started putting hella videos up. The night we did the song that is on my Sign Language mixtape they came in there and took the phone. But he’s definitely on Sign Language and will be on the album.”

Side Note: You might have heard Big TC before. He was featured on YG's "Thank God Interlude" on his debut album, My Krazy Life.

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Dream Collaborations

“I want to work with Meshell Ndegeocello, Prince, I just talked to Bilal yesterday. We’re about to work. I wanna work with John Mayer.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Favorite Collaborator

“Lupe was incredible. That nigga went in the studio when we did that song “Next to It” and laid the whole verse from top to bottom freestyle off the top of the head. I’m talking all the verses. I was like ‘whoa!’ He’s on the album, too.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

How His Parents Feel About His Music

Ty’s path as a musician was heavily inspired by his dad, who's worked with Rick James and played in the 70's band Lakeside.

“My dad is playing on Sign Language. He’s on everything. [Dad would describe my music as] genius. He just loves it. He loves to see me doing what I do. I don’t think mom all the way believed in me but pops always did. He bought me shit.”

On the other hand, Ty says his mother wanted him to do real estate like she does and not music. “Probably because she doesn’t like my dad,” he laughed. Now that he is reaching stardom he says all his mother tells him is, “Make sure you make time to go see your grandparents.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Living in Brooklyn, NY

“I lived there for like a year. I couldn’t take it. I loved it but when winter time came around, whoa! I was with this taxi driver once and he was taking me to the airport and the snow got too high and he said get out. I was like what nigga? He said, ‘Get out nigga I’m not playing with you!’ and turned around and pulled a pistol on me! I didn’t have a pistol that day because I was going to the airport. I moved after that. I lived in Flatbush by Brownsville.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Favorite Places to Eat in L.A.

“I like A1 Burgers, Umami Burgers, Master Burger. Tam’s Burgers is that YG shit. I don’t fuck with Tam’s. That shit make you shiiitt!”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Favorite Shopping Spots in L.A.

“I support Pink Dolphin on whatever they do. I been wearing Supreme lately. Of course I always fuck with Vans. I haven’t really got out to do much shopping lately. I just been working. Studio, studio, studio, show, show, show.

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Talents Outside of Music

“I can draw, paint and fix shit around the house. I know how to make girls come real easy (laughs).”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Worst Date

“I called a girl a bitch and she was driving and she put me out on the freeway. She did some bitch ass shit.” (He wouldn’t reveal what she did.)

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Biggest Turn Off

“A girl with a chipped tooth or like stank breath. Stank breath is the biggest. She might be fine as hell with a chipped tooth and you might overlook it. But like even if she’s fine as fuck and she opens her mouth and her breath is foul, it’s over.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Romantic Evening with Ty$

“All the good shit. All the baller shit. I can cook, too. I can barbeque. Fish, chicken, steak whatever you wanna do.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

Deal Breaker in a Relationship

“If I find out you used to fuck with one of the homies and all of my homies are the fucking rappers and all these dudes. So if you fucked any of those dudes I don’t wanna fuck with you like that.”

Ty Dolla Sign in Time Square

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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The North Face

Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

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