On the eve of another Nor’easter, Ty Dolla $ign brought the beach to New York City’s Irving Plaza. Beach House 3, the 32-year-old artist’s second studio LP, had its 20 tracks woven through the set list for his Don’t Judge Me Tour stop on Tuesday night (March 20), which went long enough to stretch into early Wednesday morning. Appropriately for a show focused on an album with six cuts including the word “famous” in the title, the room was overflowing with fans crammed in to watch Ty Dolla perform, all ecstatic at the mere sight of the hip-hop star.
What Ty Dolla $ign gave them in return was confirmation of his talent. Following three hours of opening acts by TeeCee4800, Toni Romiti, Marc E. Bassy and Joe Moses, Ty Dolla $ign opened his 90-minute set with tour namesake track “Don’t Judge Me.” Between songs, he asked, “Anybody smoke all day every day, New York? This is the Don’t Judge Tour, nobody gonna tell. … Who’s gonna smoke a joint with Ty Dolla!?” One young woman joined him on stage, and another stood in the crowd holding up a giant inflatable joint.
This was just one example of his interaction with his fans throughout the show: At other points, he launched into vocal runs during “Or Nah,” calling himself a show-off (“I’m not Ty Dolla the rapper, I’m Ty Dolla the singer!”), and took shots straight out of the bottle of Bombay with fans in the front row to “celebrate selling out Irving Plaza.”
Despite the celebration of success, Ty urged everybody not to define themselves by followers and mocked the fake importance people feel through social media. “You don’t have to have 1,000 or 50,000 followers to be really poppin’ in life,” Ty told his audience, which included his mother in the balcony. “This song right here is dedicated to every single female who has less than 5,000 followers. You know why? … To us, baby, you famous.”
Naturally, Ty followed that by bringing out his guitar, putting on his sunglasses, and hypnotizing the room with “Famous.” The guitarist on the album version of the track is John Mayer, but tonight, it was just Ty Dolla standing before a starry video backdrop — the supernova hitting every note just right.
Though Mayer didn’t make an appearance, Ty Dolla $ign’s show was not absent of special guests. First, his girlfriend Lauren Jauregui (of Fifth Harmony fame) surprised everybody to perform her part on “In Your Phone.” Before leaving the stage, she shared a kiss with Ty. If that wasn’t enough, Ne-Yo appeared in his brimmed hat to sing his throwback classic “So Sick.” (For the record, the three of them combined have way more than 1,000, 5,000 or 50,000 followers across social media.)
The finale came with what Ty called his favorite song to perform, “Blasé.” As a blizzard of red confetti coated the air, joining the billows of smoke, Ty hopped off stage to give hugs with fans in the front row, grinning from ear to ear and his energy even more electric than when he started. He had declared Irving Plaza a no judgment zone, but the 1,000 people in the room were judging him — and the verdict was overwhelmingly in his favor.
“Don’t Judge Me”
“Love U Better”
“So Am I”
“It’s A Vibe”
“In Your Phone”
“You and Your Friends”
“Work From Home”
“Don’t Tell ‘Em”
“Only Right” with Joe Moses and TeeCee4800
“Droptop In The Rain”
This story was originally published on Billboard.