LA hip-hop star Ty Dolla $ign wants to make something perfectly clear: “I get confused for being a rapper when I’m not a rapper at all,” the 32-year-old musician tells CR. “For me, it’s always been [about] singing.”
It’s something his supporters have picked up on. “I pay attention to my fans and what they love, and a lot of them say they like to hear me sing,” he notes. While he’s masterful at both, it makes sense that the artist’s vision is so specific: music runs his veins. The hitmaker, born Tyrone William Griffin Jr., grew up immersed in it. Through his father, a resident member of funk outfit Lakeside, Griffin found a passion for soul music as a young child and even met the likes of Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire. Now, he’s bringing it to the forefront of his own craft.
Two years since his debut album, Free TC, Griffin is back with Beach House 3, which released just this past week. It’s hard to believe it’s only the musician’s sophomore record because, in may ways ways, Griffin’s music is everywhere; he’s become a go-to collaborator for mainstream pop artists, lending his talents to the likes of Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas, and Zara Larsson. “Everyone knows I love the collab—I just like making music period,” he explains, “I’m down to put in the work.” It’s a patience that many others find challenging to grasp. “I see myself in a higher position as well, but everything happens when it’s supposed to happen, so I’m not trippin’.”
There’s a genuine sense of admiration for his peers that surfaces when speaking with Griffin. Frankly, it’s easy to forget that his career has been established over the course of seven years because he remains an unwavering advocate for past and present collaborators, especially the ones who consistently see the value of his art. It explains why Griffin has done so many collaborations and has so many artists ready to be featured on his music.
But while these features might have helped him rise through the music scene, it’s his versatility that has sustained him. Not only did he become a trendsetter—known for wearing classic Vans, cut-offs, and cross earring hanging (gaining the nickname Darryl Strawberry)—he’s also triumphed as an innovator when it comes to his sampling and multi-instrumentation skills.
“In ‘My Cabana,’ I sampled an old ‘90s band called Mint Condition and Skrillex and Zedd,” Griffin explains. With Beach House 3, he used artists such as Peabo Bryson and Mary J. Blige (“Love U Better”) and The Mohawks (“All The Time”), proving that genre limits do not exist for the hip-hop star.
When it came to starting the album last December, Griffin began calling in favors with coveted friends like Damian Marley, Lil Wayne, The-Dream, Lauren Jauregui, and Skrillex for collaboration. Teaming up with co-writer Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, who has crafted singles for Justin Bieber and Usher, the artist wanted to ensure that Beach House 3 would be a return to the height of smooth R&B. “[It] never stops: it goes from the front to the end,” Griffin explains. “It’s back-to-back vibes.”
At the end of the writing and producing process, he ended up with 20 dynamic songs. “I wanted to give the fans a crazy playlist,” he explains. “[There’s] something for everyone on there. Songs with just me and the acoustic guitar singing to turned up club songs and heavy radio records.” Griffin even pays homage to one of his favorite television shows with “Dawsin’s Breek,” just in time for its 20th anniversary next January. “Timing is everything,” he says. “That’s one thing I learned. That show was definitely an inspiration.”
Pop culture references aside, Beach House 3 reveals an evolved artist: one who is focused on refining his style with stronger lyrics and vocals. And more importantly it shows that Griffin won’t be slowing down anytime soon. “I have a couple of projects I haven’t told my label about,” he admits. “I have a project me and Jeremih gonna drop called My Time. There’s gonna be so much music.”
But before delving into more news, he does have one request: “I just want every single fan to know every single word.”END
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