By CHARLIE SNYDER
With over twenty features, Ty Dolla $ign has asserted his musical dominance with this comeback.
After much anticipation, Los Angeles rapper and producer Ty Dolla $ign released his third studio album, Featuring Ty Dolla $ign on Oct. 23.
Taken as an inside joke amongst fans, the album’s title plays on the fact that Ty Dolla $ign often performs his best on other artist’s songs instead of his own. This album, however, rewrites that narrative, with there being 21 listed features, 31 credited producers and 81 different credited writers within just 25 tracks. Despite the likelihood of cluttering the project with too many artists, Ty Dolla $ign has proven his ability to bring out the best in a wide variety of artists and producers, resulting in his best project to date.
Arguably, the first thing that listeners notice when introduced to the project is the daunting tracklist. However, the album does not overstay its welcome, coming in at just under an hour of runtime. This low runtime is partly thanks to the fact that the majority of Ty Dolla $ign’s songs without features are all under a minute long.
Essentially, this new format provides listeners with something refreshing and different, as opposed to the traditional style of many albums commonly released today. With Ty Dolla $ign’s short featuring time within songs, the album is effective in its efforts to highlight some of hip-hop and pop's biggest names.
Odds are that Featuring Ty Dolla $ign hosts at least one of your favorite artists. Critically acclaimed rappers such as Kanye West, Future, Roddy Ricch, Young Thug, Nicki Minaj, Quavo, Gunna and Kid Cudi are only a few of the extremely successful hip-hop artists to deliver a verse on the album. Other singer-songwriters include Jhene Aiko, Kehlani, Tish Hyman, Anderson .Paak and FKA twigs. The album even features the vocals and mesmerizing instrumentation from jazz bassist extraordinaire Thundercat. If none of these artists catch your interest, Ty Dolla $ign has still got you covered.
Although he has been labeled as a “feature artist” in the past, this new format of the album has allowed Ty Dolla $ign to flourish. His performance on the project alone exceeds all expectations; critics and fans alike can all agree that this is his best work in the whole ten years he has been putting out material. For instance, on the sixth song of the album, “Track 6,” featuring Kanye West, Anderson .Paak and Thundercat, Ty Dolla $ign shows off his vocals with a catchy hook that perfectly complements the featuring artists. While he is not here for long, Ty Dolla $ign provides listeners with a fun and catchy verse while allowing the other artists to showcase their talent as well. This pattern of Ty Dolla $ign randomly popping up within a song continues throughout the album, and this unique setup is what makes it an enjoyable experience for listeners.
With the release being jam-packed with features and new songs, one of the main critiques against the “large group project” is that it can make the album seem unorganized. However, it is clear that Ty Dolla $ign had this critique in mind when making the album. The project shows no signs of inconsistency and everyone seems to work together quite well. For example, the fusion of artists that otherwise do not hold any similarities in their own music, such as Nicki Minaj and Thundercat, seem to both fit seamlessly on the album’s tracklist. It is evident that he likely put considerable thought with artists that would contribute more to the project, and the results show for themselves.
In the end, Featuring Ty Dolla $ign is a triumph not only for Ty himself but also for every single person that played a role in the album's creation. With no lackluster performances or significant low points on the project, the album mimics that of previous successful projects such as Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III, another group effort worth listening to. It has offered 2020 some of its most memorable tracks in hip-hop, and given Ty the spotlight to see if he can put out a better “feature” in the near future.