The RX is Uproxx Music’s stamp of approval for the best albums, songs, and music stories throughout the year. Inclusion in this category is the highest distinction we can bestow, and signals the most important music being released throughout the year. The RX is the music you need, right now.
There is a long-running joke on social media about Ty Dolla Sign that refers to his laundry list of guest features over the past few years. Fans have labeled this collection as “sprinkled parsley” over his collaborators’ body of work and, well, this comparison is fairly accurate. Ty Dolla Sign, just like parsley, seems to be an easily accessible commodity as he’s appeared on more than 75 tracks in the past three years. Despite this frequency, his contributions and their influence should not be diminished. Parsley brings an added boost of flavor to a meal and Ty does the same with his appearances. It’s rare to hear that the Westside crooner “missed” on a feature and that is an undeniable gold star in Ty’s career.
However, in the three years since his last solo body of work, Beach House 3, Ty’s collective guest work has not only grown to overshadow the project but the bulk of his discography as well. Enough so, that grew to become a large part of his artistry and his identity, something he embraces fully on his new album, Featuring Ty Dolla Sign. Here, Ty alters the way the average music fan perceives the word “feature” and aligns it to be adjacent with “headlining,” all to stress that his presence is worth noting whether he’s a lead or guest act.
The reason Ty is worthy of such notability is rooted in the fact that he knows exactly what to give and/or bring to every song. It’s the awareness that despite his consistency with hooks on a plethora of tracks, he opted to have Young Thug sing the hook on “Lift Me Up.” The track’s experience is — yes, I’m going to do this — uplifted as Ty opts to induce aural euphoria by harmonizing behind Young Thug’s levitating hook. It’s the knowledge to call on Kehlani for a track like “Universe,” one that perfectly fits her spiritual and well-grounded nature. Even Post Malone’s feature on “Spicy” gives the track an added rugged and smokey touch. The features on Featuring Ty Dolla Sign are perfectly placed, proving that Ty has become an expert at knowing what a song needs without using some type of written formula, like a chef that knows what ingredient a meal lacks without glancing at the cookbook.
While Ty’s collaborations with a large number of artists in a wide range of styles are golden, it’s not to say his solo work is lacking in any way. Featuring Ty Dolla Sign shows enough instances where the West Coast crooner shines in the spotlight with little help. Ty once again flaunts his undeniable sex appeal on the excellently constructed track, “Everywhere.” The track focuses on the quantity of Ty’s intimate interactions with his lone love interest rather than the number of women he could have these interactions with as his sonically-similar “Horses In The Stable” track from his Free TC debut professed. It joins the many B-side highlights that Ty holds to his name, a group that is unfortunately often overlooked by the masses.
The length of Featuring Ty Dolla Sign was a bit concerning before its release. A collection of 25 songs usually produces a project with a disruptive amount of skips that ruin the continuous experience. Ty somehow stays clear of this issue on his third album. Featuring Ty Dolla Sign only presents a few skippable tracks and a well-sequenced tracklist that portrays all the flavors Ty has to offer, from sultry intimacy to unwavering confidence. More specifically, the second half of the album is arguably the strongest section of his career. He brings listeners into the ideal Ty Dolla Sign experience, one that he has now perfected as he nears his industry vet status. He achieves this thanks to tracks like the hopeful and optimistic “Time Will Tell” and “Real Life” with Roddy Ricch and Mustard, as well as the braggadocious “Powder Blue” with Gunna that join the aforementioned songs in creating an irresistible string of music.
While Featuring Ty Dolla Sign might be a play on the narrative that’s surrounded his career over the past few years, it comes off more like an unveiling of a new show. This is Ty Dolla Sign’s stage, it’s his opening night and he’s here to execute everything perfectly, and you better believe he did. When Lil Wayne mocked rappers for needing a subject, a beat, a producer, and someone on the hook, he may not have expected someone like Ty Dolla Sign to come along. The West Coaster can provide all that and more in his work, making him more than worthy of the title of the game’s most multifaceted talent.
Featuring Ty Dolla Sign is out now via Taylor Gang/Atlantic Records. Get it here.
Ty Dolla Sign is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.