Ty Dolla Sign’s “Darkside” Verse on ‘Bright’ Soundtrack Was Inspired By Systemic Racism
Will Smith’s new Netflix film Bright may be getting slammed by Hollywood critics, but the movie's soundtrack lives up to the movie's title. Alongside some of today's biggest names in hip-hop and pop (A$AP Rocky, Camila Cabello, Migos), Los Angeles crooner Ty Dolla $ign delivers a stellar performance as a guest on "Darkside," dropping a powerful, thought-provoking verse that sums up the movie's plot.
Kevin Weaver, head of Atlantic Records' Cali branch, paired Ty alongside singer Kiiara and Future for the record, which has amassed more than 3 million plays on YouTube. And the song only seems to be growing as the conversation around Bright amplifies. The movie features an elite cast of actors that includes Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace and Lucy Fry. Taking place in Los Angeles, the sci-fi action crime film stars Smith as a LAPD officer who teams up with a rookie orc cop (Edgerton) to battle the evil of the Left Coast city.
Days after the movie's premiere, XXL caught up with Ty Dolla $ign to discuss his involvement in the Bright soundtrack, his powerful verse on "Darkside," Will Smith's impact in the movie industry and his favorite Will Smith movie.
XXL: How did you end up on the Bright soundtrack?
Ty Dolla $ign: One of my boys Kevin Weaver over at Atlantic Records, who does a lot of the film and TV stuff for the label, hit me up. We had done some content previously for the Ninja Turtles movie and Suicide Squad soundtracks, which were successful. So he came with this opportunity and I was like, “Yeah, of course bro! Will Smith legend!” He sent me the beat and it already had Kiiara on it with the hook, so I wrote my verse. I hadn't seen the film yet, but they just showed me the trailer and I heard what Kiiara said so I just said my peace and luckily it worked out.
Then I found out Future hopped on it and now we have “Darkside,” which the fans are loving and I’m super excited about it. Later on, after we recorded the track, we went down to the Bright movie premiere and I got to meet Will Smith—well, that was my second time meeting him. We said what up and took a pic. It was an honor to be involved in a film like that with Will. I also met Jaden out there and he’s a fan and I’m a fan of his, so I’m excited to see what he does in 2018.
What was the inspiration behind your "Darkside" verse?
The movie reminded me a bit of minorities: Growing up in L.A., being a Black dude, how it counts you out. I was just tired of the oppression. We can be just like y’all and we are just like y’all, except everybody just judges automatically. So that’s what I was on and it came out cool. Shout out to everybody that’s been streaming it. Let’s keep it moving.
Talk about the impact of Will Smith in film culture?
Will Smith is just a great example overall. Everybody else went that way and he went this way. He’s been able to maintain his career this whole time. I don’t even know how many years its been, but he’s still here at the top and in my opinion is one of the top five actors, so shout out to Will Smith. Definitely a powerful man and a great example for our culture.
Do you have a favorite Will Smith movie? And why?
My favorite Will Smith movie has to be Seven Pounds. That movie was crazy. It’s my all-time favorite movie from Will just because of the message it was sending, which is like sometimes you just have to be selfless. It’s not always about you.
Would you ever get into acting full-time?
Yeah, I like acting. I just gotta see how it goes. I’ve done a few mini roles. I was in that high school movie with Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg [Mac & Devin Go to High School] and I made a mini-film to go with the release of my album Beach House 3. That’s still being editing so we trying to get that out soon. I’m alright. I got to work on [acting] more but for sure I’m down.
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