TY DOLLA $IGN INTERVIEW
Wiz Khalifa sits on a bench meticulously rolling his weed when Ty Dolla $ign walks out to the patio dressed in all black. Drinks are poured and cameras emerge as Karen Civil, Mario and industry elite walk through the Paramount Studio doors in Hollywood ready to hear Ty's latest project, Beach House 2.
The album is introduced and heads bounce as club-friendly songs featuring Too $hort, Juicy J, Chris Brown and Trey Songz blare through the speakers of the studio and its adjacent rooms.
Ty Dolla $ign, the LA singer responsible for penning YG's hit "Toot It and Boot It," couldn't escape the grasp of music if he tried. With his dad a member of the R&B group Lakeside and an uncle in The Isleys, he remembers playing with his dad's keyboard since the age of 3 and recording his first full track around the age of 10.
Using the early musical exposure to his advantage, Tyrone Griffin taught himself to play instruments like the drums, guitar, violin and the Wurlitzer organ.
Taking the name Ty Dolla $ign from his graffiti days, the 28-year-old singer was once part of duo Ty and Kory on Buddah Brown Entertainment and lived all over LA, Utah and New York. He paid bills scoring films like Biker Boyz and The Cookout until he landed a deal with Atlantic Records in 2012.
Today, he writes his songs off the dome with the intention of composing "real music" consisting of true melodies, bass, guitar and keys.
As both a writer and producer, he's composed beats for Trey Songz and Kid Ink while repping his production crew D.R.U.G.S. (which consists of members like DJ Mustard and DJ Dahi). His hit "My Cabana" has received radio play and his first studio album, Free TC, dedicated to his incarcerated brother serving a life sentence is currently in the works.
Back in the studio, Ty and Wiz are hyped as the music plays and seem to bond as the cameras flash while marijuana-laced potcorn is passed around to the attendees.
A few days later, it's no surprise Ty is announced as the latest signee to Wiz's Taylor Gang.
"This dude right here makes amazing music. I'm a huge fan. Been a huge fan. It's only right that Ty$ joins fuckin' Taylor Gang," Wiz stated. "It didn't hurt that Ty smokes a ton of pot too," he added jokingly.
Andrea Aguilar: You grew up around The Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire. Your dad was in Lakeside. Can you share some memorable moments being around these R&B legends?
Ty Dolla $ign: The most memorable moment about being around them is the smell of weed. I didn't know what it was. I always thought it was cigarettes, but I thought it was like a different kind of cigarette. When I got older and got to smell weed, I'm like, "Okay. That's what they were doing." (laughs) Now I'm doing the same shit.
AA: Yeah, I saw on your Instagram you were at a marijuana field...or where were you?
TDS: I was shooting the video for "Irie." That's Valley.
AA: It looked like a good time.
TDS: Yeah. (laughs) I was high for two days after that day.
AA: R&B has progressed a lot since then. How do you feel about its current state?
TDS: I feel like it's cool. I love all music. I kinda like the songs from back in the day more 'cause it's like more of them would last, and I feel like songs of today last like a month to a year. Maybe even a week sometimes. Those songs back then are timeless, and I feel people should make more timeless songs. I'm definitely trying myself.
AA: You used to hang around 50 Cent as a teen in New York. Are you ever going to reach out for a collab?
TDS: I'm definitely gonna reach. I don't have his number right now. The last thing we did together is the "Toot It and Boot It" (Remix). That was it, and I just haven't seen him. I'm definitely planning to link up with him and do something and get something in. I wanna do something for his record and get him on one of my records and all that.
AA: For the remix, were you there in the studio with him?
TDS: I wasn't in the studio with him, but when I heard about it, I was like, "That's dope." I saw him at the video shoot like, "Yo, what up? Remember me?" He was like, "Yeah, yeah."
AA: That's dope. I read you scored some movies. Are you interested in continuing that?
TDS: Yeah. Later on. That takes a lot of time, so I'm concentrating on my artist shit right now doing more production and shit, but I'll get back into that. Some dude I was signed to got into that, so I got lucky and got into it with him.
AA: That would definitely be a good way to make money.
TDS: Yeah, it helped me out for years. (laughs) That was some good money.
AA: How would you describe Beach House 2?
TDS: I would describe Beach House 2 as real *igga R&B, you know? Like, the same as Beach House 1, but better and just more advanced. Like, this time I use violins. I've got more features. Just collabing with different people. It just sounds, like, a little bit better, you know what I mean? I'm gonna try to take it up a notch each time I do a record.
AA: Did you do a lot of the production?
TDS: Yeah, I did a lot on there. I got stuff from other people too. I got something from Spinz. Something from Buddah from D.R.U.G.S. Everybody from D.R.U.G.S. DJ Mustard. My homie D. Mile. There's not that many other producers on there. I did most of it.
AA: How's Free TC coming along?
TDS: Free TC is definitely coming. I got like four songs I wanted to keep for that. Like, some of 'em were gonna go on the tape, but I held 'em back because I felt they were more timeless. I only got four songs that I'm keeping. What I'm doing is I'm making a whole bunch of shit, and I'll have the album once I have like 10,000 incredible songs, you know what I mean?
AA: So Free TC...is that for your brother who's locked up?
AA: For a crime he didn't commit, right?
AA: How long has he been incarcerated?
TDS: Years. I think probably 8 or 9 years.
AA: How are you dealing with that? Do you feel like loved ones are giving him the support he needs and deserves?
TDS: I mean, we all support him. He has friends, loved ones. Everyone supports him, but it's hard to see someone in there asking other people for help all the time. If I was in the situation, it would be fucked up. I'd hate to be in that situation, and I think it's fucked up for anybody to be in that situation no matter what they did. They're humans, you know what I mean? A human being locked up in a fuckin' cage. That shit's crazy. Imagine your dog just being locked up in a cage like two weeks alone. They'll go crazy.
AA: You go visit and write and all that?
TDS: We write. We talk. We talk. We have our ways of talkin' and shit. (laughs)
AA: In your song "My Cabana" you say you hate bitches wearing fake nails and butt pads are a fail. What other things turn you off to a female?
TDS: Stanky breath. Their teeth not being white and clean. You know, messed up hair. (laughs)
AA: You mention Greystone on the track. Do you go there often?
TDS: Every now and then when I have time to slide up in the club on Sunday nights, that's the club to go to in LA. When you go to Greystone, it's like all bad (pauses) women. (laughs)
AA: (laughing) Say it. You know you wanted to say bad bitches though! What other night spots are you about?
TDS: All of 'em. Everything is dope out here. Playhouse, Supperclub, Emerson. All the clubs are dope out here. It just depends what night you go out.
AA: What's next for you?
TDS: Beach House is here. Beach House 2 is coming out on July 1. Then I got Whoop! 2 with Joe Moses. Then Taylor Gang's new album. I'm on that, and then Wiz's album. I'm on that. I'm tryin' to get on everything. YG's album. I'm 4rm Bompton. I'm on that thing. Just working on everything. The whole Trey Songz album. I'm working on that. Whatever I can get my hands on.
AA: Anything else you wanna add?
TDS: I just want everybody to follow me on all the social networks. @TyDollaSign. Somebody already took my name. Just peace and love. Shout out to everybody getting their money.