Ty Dolla $ign is one of the best assist men in the game, lending his hooks and supporting vocals the likes of superstars like Kanye West, Drake, and The Chainsmokers. But when it comes to his own music, he’s not focused on the charts at all.
“I wasn’t focused on, like, ‘Oh, let’s go make a f**kin’ generic-ass hit, you know, 97 bpms-plus, get the club going,” Ty tells SPIN in a new digital cover story. “I just wanted to give people some good music to listen to—something that sounds different from everybody else’s sh*t.”
In his interview with SPIN, Ty Dolla $ign explains that he’s more focused on putting together a great, resonant project than he is on getting his streaming numbers up. And his Atlantic Records team seems to be on the same page.
“He played the album for everybody front to back, and we just believe it’s an incredible body of work. We never came to the conclusion that there’s no singles. We’re in a streaming world where so many records are popping up out of nowhere that you wouldn’t think were radio smashes,” said Brian Dackowski, SVP of marketing at Atlantic Records and Ty’s product manager. “…It definitely helps that he’s out there constantly working and keeping himself relevant in the marketplace. It gives him the time to really work on his craft.”
Ty, an avid smoker, also revealed that he created the album while sober.
“I stopped smoking weed. That was cool, to just completely just clear my head and write songs,” Ty says. “Before I would just go straight in the booth and freestyle everything and sometimes on this one, I wrote sh*t on my phone or on a piece of paper, tried to map it out harder.”
His currently untitled album features extensive collaboration with experimental musician serpentwithfeet, who describes Ty as “a big brother to me,” and a single with Kanye West called “Ego Death.” Advice from Kanye himself inspired some of the album’s sound.
“I had a meeting one time with Kanye and played him the album,” Ty said. “He was like, ‘Bro, nah. You need to do what you do. Add more bass, add more drums, add more … the real sh*t, that’s what no one else is doing.’ That conversation definitely inspired me and made me go back and go crazy with the live instruments.”
Ty Dolla $ign just released a new single, “Hottest In The City,” on Friday, Aug. 9.