Cali has re-established itself over the past couple of years as one of the preeminent trend-setting regions in hip hop. Along with DJ Mustard and YG, Taylor Gang's Ty$ (or Ty Dolla $ign) has taken full advantage of the low-low-ratchet sound that has infiltrated radio stations and clubs nationwide, and has added his sing-songy flow to make it his own, coming for the top of the charts with a Chris Brown version of Nate Dogg (RIP).
On his latest effort, Beach House 2, Ty shows off his ability to straddle the line vocally between singing and rapping, while also demonstrating his ability to lace tracks (like he did with his breakout production on YG's "Toot It and Boot It"), keeping pace with, for example, the aforementioned DJ Mustard, best known for the Tyga hit, "Rack City," and the 2 Chainz banger "I'm Different." The Roc Nation DJ lent his signature to this tape with "Paranoid," which also features traces from the aforementioned tracks and a hot verse from Joe Moses; and jumps on the Ty-produced remix of "My Cabana" featuring YG and Young Jeezy (the original version of the song from the first in the Beach House series was named one of Complex magazine's top 50 songs of 2012).
Elsewhere on the tape, Ty continues to do a good job of picking collaborations that match his codeine tempo. Wiz Khalifa on "Irie" is one of Beach House 2's high notes (no pun intended) and "Drink n' My Cup" rapper Kirko Bangz makes "Still Sippin'" and "1st Night" two of the album's standout tracks.
As far as hot new producers/collaborators, Peter Lee Johnson was the big winner on the mixtape with tracks like "B----es Ain't S---" and the Jay Rock-assisted "Never Be the Same."
With all these versatile skills on display, however, the style of the tape is still one note, and Ty's lyrical content is forgettable. Overall, Beach House 2 was blended well, but part of that was also due to the fact that most of the songs sound so similar. Even Juicy J's guest spot on "Ratchet in My Benz" got lost in the haze. By the end, the closest Ty Dolla gets to expanding his fanbase are "Creez," which features B.o.B., and the outro, "Got My Heart," which features Game and Chris Brown.
Ty$ is dancing on a faultline here with his lack of willingness to take risks on this effort. He is certainly a triple threat, but he may want to pick a single focus to really explore his range next go 'round.
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(Photo: DollaSign Records)