Hip-Hop | R&B
Ty Dolla $ign has always been an artist who I have only experienced as a feature on tracks from other artists. And from that perspective, I find that Featuring Ty Dolla $ign is a cleverly fitting title in my case, despite this being the third studio album from the LA born singer/songwriter.
But regardless, this is the first Ty Dolla $ign led project that I have really sunk my teeth into. Given how many tracks I have already enjoyed this year, which involve Ty Dolla $ign, I had at least managed to get a sense of his vocal style, which I personally really like.
And thanks to a friend of mine, I managed to find out about the single “Ego Death”, prior to the release of this album, which said track serves as a closer on. Featuring the likes of Kanye West, FKA twigs, serpentwithfeet, and even Skrillex, this tune was not only incredibly enjoyable and engaging, but also served as a flavour of things to come, in the case of the album in full.
The title of Featuring Ty Dolla $ign, may also be indicative to just how many featured artists are packed into this thing. With the likes of Anderson. Paak, Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Thundercat, the aforementioned artists involved in “Ego Death, and many more, you virtually have enough artists on this thing to fill up a Grammy awards ceremony.
But the generosity of this album isn’t limited to just the amount of artists collaborating on it; Featuring Ty Dolla $ign carries with it a staggering 25 tracks, all of which culminate to make up roughly a full hour of listening time.
That being said however, with this not being the very first example of a lengthy R&B project this year, I was wondering how the likes of Featuring Ty Dolla $ign would compare.
And I would say that the most glaring issue with this project for me, which keeping in mind, can be said about similar projects as well, is that it lacks the sort of strong narrative which would otherwise justify an album of this length. What I ultimately took away from this album, from a narrative perspective, was that Featuring Ty Dolla $ign, is essentially another flashy, show-offy, and reflective upon their good life kind of album, which can still make for an enjoyable listen, but that kind of listen I feel needs to be more compact than the likes of this album and it’s 60 minute mark.
But other than that, the build of the album is generally quite strong in other areas. for example, I was definitely able to pick up the kind of nocturnal, wavy vibe that the likes of the album cover point to. The production especially carries this aesthetic really well, and both pair brilliantly with Ty Dolla $ign’s vocal style, and definitely made the overall experience far less patience testing.
And this leads me to the sheer amount of brilliant tracks that this album carries. Seen as this album carries the tracklist that it has, it came as no surprise to me that this album contains more enjoyable tracks than your average album. But even in the case of tracks which featured artists I wouldn’t normally listen to, such as Nicki Minaj or Quavo, the production was more than enough to make these tracks worthy of keeping on my liked songs. The only real big instance of this not being the case would have to be “Lift Me Up” which features both Young Thug and Future. I would actually say that the only enjoyable thing about this track was Ty Dolla $ign himself.
But back to the more enjoyable tracks, even some of the interludes were enjoyable, namely those that also featured artists on them. My personal favourite of the interludes would have to be the serpentwithfeet interlude, for not only feeling so much more substantial than your typical interlude, but also serves as a flawless transition between “Temptations” and “Spicy”.
I honestly wish I could’ve given this album some more time before cracking on with a review for it, but with the abysmal weather, business in other areas of work, and working at keeping mentally healthy, it was more than tricky.
But even with the few full listens I gave to this album, I was still able to engage with its vibe and versatility, which mostly has its features and ingenious production to thank for. Needless to say, this album should grow on me even more towards the end of the year.
Favourite Tracks: Temptations | Slow It Down | Ego Death
Least Favourite Track: Lift Me Up
Atlantic Recording Corporation | WEA International Inc.