First Listen #43: Ty Dolla $ign’s ‘Featuring Ty Dolla $ign’

Ty Dolla $ign. Where would we be without him? NOWHERE. This man has single-handedly been the backbone (and the saving grace) to many songs over the years, and he needs to be loved and appreciated to the highest degree. I’ve never heard a Ty$ feature that I didn’t like. Lupe Fiasco’s “Next To It” and “Kill,” Kanye’s “Real Friends” and “Fade,” Buddy’s “Hey Up There,” SZA’s “Hit Different,” KIDS SEE GHOSTS “Freee (Ghost Town Pt. 2).” The list could really go on and on; those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. The problem has been, though, that I’ve really only listened to Ty$ in feature form; there are only a handful of his solo tracks that I’ve heard, and there aren’t any that I keep in my rotation (because I’ve been exposed to so few). So, after seeing a couple weeks ago that he was dropping a new project, I decided that now was the time to give Ty$ the attention that he deserves. Enter: Featuring Ty Dolla $ign (2020)

Photo Credit: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/how-ty-dolla-ign-is-bringing-rb-singing-back-to-the-charts-197282/

2020: Featuring Ty Dolla $ign

(via Genius)

Overall, Featuring is a really good project. I was looking at some bits and pieces of Ty$’s interviews about the songs/album, while looking at the lyrics on Genius, and there was a piece where he was talking about how he focuses heavily on the vibes and chemistry that he has with the other people he does music with. For him, it’s one thing to be on a song with someone, and it’s another thing to really connect with them musically. And I think Featuring gives us a good sampling of that. The songs on the project average around 2 or 3 minutes, so we’re not with Ty$ or the featured artists long; but that amount of time is JUST long enough for us to hear that chemistry at work, without the songs feeling too bloated. I’ve listened to a lot of songs this year, where people just have songs with other people on them and they don’t sound purposeful; it just sounds like a feature for feature’s sake. Which is fine, but hearing the chemistry on the track takes things to another level, and you can hear that on Featuring.

Could this be everything that I dreamed of?

Could this be beyond my wildest dreams?

Ty Dolla $ign, “Status”

It’s funny, though. While there were a handful of features I wasn’t a fan of, I feel like a lot of the featured artists on this project pull a Ty$…on Ty$ lol. Like, Ty definitely does a great job on the songs on Featuring, but there are a bunch of places on this project where the featured artists blow Ty’s verses/flows out of the water. Quavo on “Freak,” Anderson .Paak on “Track 6,” Jhenè Aiko on “By Yourself,” Roddy Ricch on “Real Life.” Those are just a handful of places on here where I enjoyed the feature better than Ty$’s main verses. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing; I haven’t heard a lot of Ty$ outside of a bunch of his features, so this project feels like a nice little sampler (a musical charcuterie board, if you will) of not only what Ty$ can do on his own and the versatility of his music, but also the way he vibes with other artists.

I had a bunch of moments I loved on here. I loved the transition from “Dr. Sebi” to “Powder Blue.” The transitions from main tracks to the interludes were beautiful; I’m not really a big fan of there being multiple interludes on a project, but these were short and sweet and gave us some NICE moments, particularly on “Burna Boy Interlude” and “serpentwithfeet Interlude.” “Temptations” was great; I love me some Cudi, and I loved hearing him with a full verse, rather than just a few hums here and there or a hook/chorus. I wasn’t a huge fan of “Ego Death” the first time I heard it (really, I liked everything but Kanye’s verse), but it has gotten stuck in my head a LOT over the past couple weeks, so I’ve been listening to it more. And I’m really digging it now. Even Ye’s verse; it’s not as bad as I thought it was, and that “hold on, this train goin’ by” is the FUNNIEST thing he’s ever said. “Track 6” was another one I liked. Anderson .Paak had NO BUSINESS going as hard as he did on that track. I just…WOW. Couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I keep playing myself by not catching up on his projects, and I NEED to stop doing that.

“Your Turn” was an absolute JOY to listen to. Before I listened to the entire project, I went through a couple of choice tracks – mostly the songs where there were features I was excited to hear. “Your Turn” was immediately a candidate for an early listen because I saw my friend Musiq Soulchild on there, and GEEEEEEZ. He does SUCH a good job on this track. First off, the song starts with this really great guitar opener. As soon as I heard that, I was hoping that we’d get a nice little drum set moment, and we GOT THAT. I don’t know WHO was playing the drums on “Your Turn,” but they deserve all of life’s great things. So my jaw was already on the floor at that point. THEN, Musiq Soulchild gave us one of the greatest feature intros of all time, sounding amazing as always. THENN, Tish Hyman comes in perfectly to follow up. THENNNN, 6LACK comes in so SMOOTH at the backend of the track to close it up. I was on the floor completely at that point. I mean, If you’re looking for the perfect song – this is it.

The only thing that I didn’t really like about this project was the length. I’m really not a fan of projects with a lot of songs on them because I start losing focus towards the end, unless I’m just being completely blown away by it. I really only need between 12-14 tracks to feel satisfied. So, I found myself getting a little tired of listening to this towards the end lol. Really, once I hit track 13, I could feel my energy being zapped at an increasing rate; that could have been the 4 mile walk I went on a couple of hours before catching up with me, but…some people might say that wasn’t the case. I’m some people lol. And it wasn’t that the songs were getting worse; there were just too many of them. No album needs to be an hour/hour-plus long. Once it hits 40 minutes, it’s time to wrap it up (I’m actually gonna talk about this more later on this week). Over than that though, Featuring Ty Dolla $ign is a really good project. Being a first time Ty$ album listener, I think Featuring is an amazing chance to get a good grasp of his range as an artist.

I HATEEEE the album art though lol.

Overall Project Rating

Featured Image Credit: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/13/ty-dolla-sign-and-the-redesign-of-r-and-b


(listen to Featuring Ty Dolla $ign on spotify by clicking the image below)

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