REVIEW: Ty Dolla $ign – ‘$ign Language’

ty-dolla-sign-sign-language-mixtape-review

Artist: Ty Dolla Sign
Album: $ign Language
Genre: Hip-hop

After seven years of making people move with his original take on urban music, Ty Dolla $ign makes it clear that he is ready for the next level of stardom with $ign Language.

Most people in music today have made their money leveraging a signature sound and perfecting it again and again. Ty Dolla $ign did this quite a bit early on, but over the last two or three years the California native has been exploring the possibilities of urban music through a series of mixtape and EP releases. The Beach House series promoted the good life and everything that comes to those who work hard to chase after their dreams. This allowed ample space for sonic exploration, and the result of that multi-year journey is $ign Language, a diverse and thrilling collection of hits that should push Ty$ further into the national spotlight than ever before.

The best highlights of $ign Language involve star-studded tracks that keep Ty$ in focus while welcoming a variety of the biggest names in hip-hop to the mix. “NDK,” which features G.O.O.D. Music member Big Sean, ushers fans into the album with provocative talk of living the life listeners only dream about. This idea of embodying a lifestyle where you make money with friends, sleep with random girls (who are referred to on this release as ‘pussy’ and/or ‘bitches’), and not take shit from anyone who hates on your hustle. It’s all well and good, except for the misogyny, but it’s nothing a million other rappers haven’t covered on a million other mixtapes. The only originality comes in the way the metaphors and phrasing are strung together — which is where appearances from YG, Rick Ross, Yo Gotti, Jeremih, Juicy J, Jay 305, Casey Veggies, and more come in. Ty$ knows his subject matter is generic; he packs songs with guests who have unique perspectives on life in hopes of catching people off guard. Surprisingly, it works more often than not. Listen to “Dead Presidents,” “Drank N Cranberry,” and “Issue” if you need proof.

$ign Language only really falls flat when Ty$ is left to create entire songs on his own. There are only two tracks on the record that boast no features, and neither of them offer anything redeeming in the slightest. “Stetch // She Betta” spends three minutes of its six minute runtime talking about what can done to loosen the sex organs of Ty’s latest lover. It’s not romantic or all that smooth, but rather boring and incredibly misogynistic. I mean, how many ladies in your life have you caught wishing someone would come along and openly proclaim their desire to quote “stretch their pussy out?” “Missionary,” the other solo track, keeps sex at the center of everything, but offers nothing we haven’t heard before in terms of lyrical content. It’s smoother than “Stretch // She Better,” but ultimately goes nowhere.

All misguided attempts at swooning aside, $ign Language offers a thrilling and entirely enjoyable look at the latest developments in the life of Ty Dolla $ign. It’s not the perfect release fans have been waiting for him to deliver, but it is a far more entertaining experience than the Beach House EP Ty released earlier this year. With a little more work on his verses Ty$ could become a serious threat as a solo act in the world of hip-hop, but for now he’s best used whenever someone needs a vocoder-heavy hook or a few bars on sex. I do believe he’s capable of much more; however, and I hope he reaches those heights in the years to come.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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