Ever since being named as one of XXL’s 2014 Freshman Class, LA’s king of “Ratchet R&B” Ty Dolla $ign has been on a tear. From his hit single “Or Nah” to his features on songs like Lupe Fiasco’s “Next to It,” the long-haired ladies' man has bridged the gap between laid back and turnt up.
On his latest mixtape, Sign Language, the “Irie” crooner gave fans something similar to his Beach House mixtapes. Even though he didn’t have DJ Mustard on this one, Dolla $ign did enlist the services of some A-list talent to help give this mixtape a more well-rounded sound and also handled a fair amount of production duties along with his hit-making team, D.R.U.G.S.
Though it's not hard to interpret the message on Sign Language, Ty showed more versatility than some of his earlier works. Topically, Ty stuck to what he knows best: homies, “hoes” and…hydro. The Intro “NDK (N----s Don’t Know)” featuring Big Sean reaffirms the Taylor Gang signee’s commitment to realness and money over everything, while highlighting the ample quantities of fake ballers that permeate hip hop.
Ty continued his money talk on “Dead Presidents,” with assistance from Juicy J and Rich Homie Quan (who he recently announced he’s doing an album with). The song, which was one of the mixtape’s high points, sets up the rockstar anthem “Lord Knows” which features Dom Kennedy and Rick Ross trading stories about the lavish lifestyle of rap stars.
Sign Language continued painting a picture of promiscuity on songs like the vengeful “Drank N Cranberry,” (featuring Casey Veggies) on which Ty details having sex with his enemy’s sister, and the Down South-tinged “Can’t Stay,” where Ty and T.I. detail their Too Short-esque freaky tales.
Ty showed that he can keep up with his Taylor Gang rhymer-in-chief Wiz Khalifa on the uptempo “Issue,” another one of Sign Language’s high notes, which featured a synth happy, '80s influenced sound to complement their carefree verses.
Ty saved his serious side for the final song, “In Too Deep,” a melodic and introspective tribute to his incarcerated brother TC, who had contributions to the song as well.
Overall, Sign Language was a promising glimpse of what’s to come. Although the subject matter was fairly limited, Ty Dolla $ign continued to show growth as an artist and producer. As a new artist Ty has created his own lane while slowly stepping outside of his comfort zone. He did not venture too far into any new territory this time around but he strengthened his sound in a way that will almost certainly keep fans anticipating what’s next.
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