Ty Dolla $ign – One of R&B’s Best Closers

“I swear sports and music is so synonymous” was an early Drake line that really stuck. The truths shared on Thank Me Later‘s closer “Thank Me Now” ought to be clear as day now that we’re three Closers in. Today I want to focus on golf, Tiger Woods, and the parallels between the legendary golfer and the music world’s favorite hook guy Ty Dolla $ign.

Unlike the strategy to winning a golf match, Ty’s greatness is in his volume. Tiger Woods wants to remain under par, but Tyger Wood$, as I’ve dubbed him, has no issue appearing on every single song to come out in a year. Where many focus on merely being present and staying relevant, Ty never compromises the fundamental elements of the music. The rapper, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist is as technically sound as they come. With that, comes being a chameleon and prospering on any beat.

Every sport has its moments of excitement but methods and foundational skills necessary to succeed. For a sport like golf, the average fan who isn’t in tune may think none of those things matter. There aren’t buzzer beaters or walk-off home runs, but that’s a good thing. Those who stick around for the entirety of a match and study the game intently can come to appreciate the art.

The effort and poise it takes make it a mature man’s game. Patience is of the utmost importance. Just ask Tiger, who was at one point the guy in golf before life came through with its twist and turns. It’s been a steady climb back to the top, but with patience, he earned his first major championship victory in over 11 years at April’s Masters.

Ty gets a lot of love within the industry. He’s been behind the scenes helping out everybody in some way. His original music has been consistent and quality, though not getting the recognition the bigger stars receive. The 34-year-old out of LA doesn’t seem too concerned with the clout, but I’m here to give him his flowers.

He does give us the home runs and buzzer-beaters quite often. Yet, even in the absence of those moments, one thing that never falters is sonic excellence both vocally and instrumentally. That allows him to always close out a song in convincing fashion. He controls the game with his extensive knowledge and abilities within all of music. Nothing feels half-hearted.

Ty will half sing, half rap. He will serve you a soothing melody. His hooks are continually elite. Harmonizing with Ty is like standing right next to the hole and having to tap the golf ball in. If you just do your job, it’s a winner. He’s that good and that reliable. That said, today we dive into his verses on Drake’s “After Dark” and Post Malone‘s “Psycho”. Both features came in $ign’s 2018 MVP campaign, where many said he matched J. Cole in both volume and quality of features. Is Cole Phil Mickelson?

“After Dark” – Drake ft. Ty Dolla $ign

There was a lot to discuss with Drake’s double album Scorpion, but for me, the features remain a relevant topic. Usually, a lot of songs from a Drizzy album means we’ll hear a lot of different voices. This time around only four were listed, two of which being Static Major and Michael Jackson who are no longer with us. JAY-Z‘s verse on “Talk Up” was loaded with gems, but it’s the way Ty floated on “After Dark” which makes him the standout feature to me.

It’s a slow jam you would hear on the radio after a late-night drive home with your parents. They’ve already said no to you three times about playing the station you want to hear, so you’re stuck listening to this older sounding music. Yet the soulful Static Major vocals, Drake’s croons, and Ty’s harmonies make it feel so appropriate for today. After Drake reflects on how patient his lady has been and sounds a bit confused. Yet, he’s committed to the pursuit and willing to make her a priority regardless of any doubts she may have.

His verse, while sonically great, in the narrative comes off as a hole a golfer had a lot of trouble with. Drove it to the sand, had trouble with a wedge, and putt a bit too hard to close it off. Resilient as ever, he finished strong. Ty, on the other hand, might have landed a hole-in-one. He comes in hot from the beginning.

The Verse

“Late night, me and you, got you wet like the pool/Then I’m tryna dive in, put some time in, yeah/Get the vibe right, get your mind right/It’s gon’ be a long night (ooh yeah)”. That “ooh yeah” hits the skin, not the ears. He really has such sincere vocals and captures the essence of this throwback-feeling record.

He’s a considerate king, saying for her to only put her feet in the water because the hair has to stay fleeky. He’s being patient, acknowledging they’ve hooked up but there’s no rush. Is it dirty macking if the Beach House 3 artist just repeats the story of how her man did her wrong?

“You broke up with your man and ain’t been with nobody else/You like, ‘Fuck these niggas,’ rather keep it to yourself/He did you wrong, he left you down bad/Now you can’t trust nobody” No slander in there. Smooth. That falsetto on “Fuck these niggas” is incredible. You can’t help but sing along. He laces harmonies all throughout this verse to really accentuate important lines.

“You said, ‘Do anything, but just don’t lie to me’/I said I ride for you, girl, you said you ride for me/Umm, pulled up to the show then we got ghost/And when it’s after dark anything goes” He reiterates his trustworthiness, and then gets in his freaky bag at a show. Commitment and spontaneity align very well with what Ty will give you on a verse like this. The fluidity, progression, and construction of the narrative in synergy with his voice are a true spectacle.

Psycho – Post Malone ft. Ty Dolla $ign

A bit earlier that same year, Posty released his third single off of beerbongs and bentleys. “Psycho” is 100% full-fledged flex from both the “White Iverson” artist and Tyger Wood$. Post opens up with the hook, saying his AP is going psycho, his woman is a baddie, and his car is missing a roof…intentionally.

His verse details him rating women fours and fives, not being able to fit his money in his pockets, all the bottles he’s drunk in his time being famous, and his t-shirt getting soaked from having wet diamonds.Say what you will about Sir Posty but he’s in a good pocket here. Clever wordplay, an easy melody to follow, and playful yet honest lyrics.

The Verse

Ty Dolla $ign follows suit but certainly outshines Malone. His AP is similarly having a mental breakdown, but now he’s got women who want to have his children.

“It’s fifty on the pinky, chain so stanky/You should see the whip, promise I can take yo’ bitch/Dolla ridin’ in an old school Chevy, it’s a drop-top/Boolin’ with a thot-thot, she gon’ give me top-top” This is where the rapper comes out. There are rhymes and many unique words all throughout this verse, but especially this part. I think Hip Hop By Numbers would have fun with it.

The peak of this verse is “Just one switch, I can make the ass drop (Hey)/Ayy, take you to the smoke shop” where he drags out “switch” and “ass”. Coincidentally, right after the word “drop”, the beat drops out. That’s intentional to me. In true stoner fashion, he offers a trip to the smoke shop. From there he kind of just vibes out, offering a trip to Rodeo, Pico, and the slums.

“This ain’t happen overnight, no these diamonds real bright.” He carries his upbringing with him everywhere and doesn’t shy away from it. Even in the flex, Dolla $ keeps it humble. Mentally and in fashion, with the line “Saint Laurent jeans, still in my Vans though”. In true closer fashion, he drops the beat out again and soars with the line “Girl, you look beautiful tonight
Stars on the roof, they matching with the jewelry”. Ty Dolla $ign will always give you a fire last two lines. You remember them because it’s more than an audible experience.

The best athletes will tell you that their sport is an art form. There’s a level of personal connection which translates to passion, energy, and innovation based on your God-given abilities. Tiger Woods was always a winner, and very clutch. He found his way to capitalize on situations presented to him early on, and recently showed us he still can. Ty is a shapeshifter. He can’t miss. He seemingly knows how to approach every song the proper way. Poised and consistent as they come. The guaranteed hole-in-one.

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