When you first hear the “ratchet” sound of Tyrone Griffin Jr., better known as Ty Dolla $ign, you’re likely to make all the wrong kind of assumptions about him.
Whether your first contact comes from hearing his breakout single ‘Paranoid’, or ‘Loyal’, the song he penned for Chris Brown, or his well-received mixtapes such as his ‘Beach House’ series, his turnt-up club bangers full of ‘bitches’ and ‘hoes’ cast aspersions of some arrogant womaniser full of ego and with expensive taste.
In reality, he is polite and down-to-earth, and you’re a lot more likely to catch him in a dirty pair of Vans than some obscure high fashion label – although we can’t speak on the womanising.
Music is in his blood: his father was a member of the ’70s funk band Lakeside – he now plays in Ty’s live band – and his uncle played with The Isley Brothers. His childhood memories include Rick James calling by his house and meeting Earth, Wind & Fire.
A revelation in the story of Ty Dolla $ign occurred when he heard two songs: Slum Village’s J Dilla-produced ‘Forth And Back’ and ‘Players’. He recalls his excitement when he first discovered the Dilla-produced tracks; he soon purchased the rap group’s ‘Fantastic Vol. 2’, and a hunger for more led him into the rest of Dilla’s back catalogue.
“I just started reading up on him, like all the songs that I ever liked, old Tribe Called Quest shit, the old Pharcyde shit, the old Janet Jackson, Joni Mitchell with Q-Tip on it; these are all the songs I really love and I never really paid attention to producers or who did what, then I found out Dilla is the man.” He attributes Dilla’s influence as his motivation to produce: “I started collecting vinyl because he did, and then here I am today.”