Ty Dolla Sign’s ‘Campaign’ Season Is Here and He’s Got A Lot to Say
It’s been a year since Ty Dolla $ign released his debut project, Free TC — dedicated to his incarcerated brother Big TC — and he’s already back with another solid gem just in time for election season. While Ty’s still promoting the “Free TC” movement, this time around with his new project, Campaign, he’s taking a systematic course of action for a specific purpose: putting people around the world on to how dope he is.
Every artist has their time to shine and with Campaign coming through in the fourth quarter, 2017 could definitely be Ty’s moment. In the two years since he graced the XXL 2014 Freshman cover, which featured an all-star class including Chance the Rapper and Kevin Gates, Ty has managed to make you question if you’re “Paranoid,” changed your vocabulary from “Blah” to “Blasé” and challenged your ride or die status on “Loyal” (yes, he has writing credits on the Chris Brown track).
If great songwriting and hooks make hits, then Ty, 31, has proved his formula is rock solid — and it’s only getting better. After all, if the ladies can sing it, then dudes will rock with it. What other singer-rapper can blend the slick sex talk into a ratchet love song with political messages and leave you feeling hot and ready to vote? This is Ty’s lane. Just listen to new tracks like “??? (Where)” with Migos, the Travi$ Scott-assisted “3 Wayz” or “Campaign” featuring Future to find out.
To celebrate his mission, Ty kicked off the first Dolla Day weekend on Friday (Sept. 23) with a pop-up shop and rooftop party in Los Angeles. The turn up ended on Sunday with Dolla Day, his first headlining solo show streamed live on Tidal.
XXL caught up with Ty during the pop-up shop after party, which featured about 75 other guests who trekked up a more than 11-floor walk-up to listen to the sounds of Campaign — the elevator broke just minutes before the party started. Now that’s a dedicated fan base.
Find out more about Ty’s Campaign, who he’s voting for, his thoughts on the beef between Meek Mill and The Game and more.
XXL: It’s the countdown to the presidential vote in November and you release your own Campaign. Why now?
Ty Dolla $ign: I’m on my campaign. I am headed to every city and I am shaking every hand and kissing every baby. I’m lit. It just happens to be campaign season and my campaign is [I’m] one of the dopest people in the game and um, you gon’ recognize me. I feel like on Free TC, you know, I feel like I went hard and not enough people recognized. This time I went No. 1 off the gate, on iTunes and everything. It felt good.
Shout out to my brother Future for being part of that song [“Campaign”]. I took it and made it a whole project. Campaign, campaign, campaign!
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On the album, you talk about how voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is voting for the lesser of two evils.
The political part of the album is definitely about what is going on right now. I called some of my boys and asked them, “What do you think about what is going on right now?” We recorded it and used it. So you got YG and Vic Mensa on the project. I had a lot of other stuff too but we didn’t use it. Minister Farrakhan sent me some stuff, but I didn’t use. It just didn’t go with the flow of the album.
Your Dolla Day concert series is to promote voting. How important is it for people to still get out and vote this election?
I mean, y’all want Donald Trump to win? So vote, motherfuckers. There are a lot of people saying, “Don’t vote,” but how smart is that? Alright, cool. Hello, President Donald Trump. Dickheads. That part!
So we know who you’re voting for.
Yeah. Even though the Clintons started mass incarceration, which my brother is a victim of, things are going to change though. Somebody made them do that. It wasn’t their choice [laughs].
Given your Free TC movement, how do you think Hillary and Trump would tackle wrongful incarceration?
I don’t know if either of them give a fuck about it, to be real with you. I think they are going to say whatever is going to get us to vote for them, or whatever to get that Black vote. But do they really give a fuck? Does anybody really give a fuck? I do. I give a fuck. I care about people and I’ve learned in life that the only thing we are here for is to learn and teach. It’s just cycle. Everything comes back around, right?
With that said, we can change the shit; we could make it perfect. Everybody just wants to steal each other’s energy. There’s a whole bunch of egos and everybody just wants to have the biggest dick, but you know it’s not about that, man. These girls will still F wit you if you have the biggest or you got the swag. I ain’t never had to deal with nothing little, but uh, you know.
D’Mile has production credits on “No Justice” and a few other tracks. How does his sound complement your formula?
He’s the guy. He is one of my favorite producers, my favorite musicians in the world. He’s been on every single project. D’Mile has helped me create a sound. I texted him when this project dropped and I just thanked him. Our sound is the shit that’s going on, but it’s classic of the shit that’s going on today. Like when you hear Free TC, you’re going to fucking notice some shit that you didn’t hear the first time.
That’s why I love a Timbaland production or a Dr. Dre production. Like when you hear our shit 10 years from now, that shit will still be fucking ridin’. That’s because D’Mile really gives a fuck about music. He really plays all of the instruments just like me. If I can’t be there and I am on tour, I can trust in D’Mile to get the shit done. On vocals by the way too, a lot of people don’t know that.
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What made you choose Meek Mill for “Watching”? What was that session like?
I’ve always been friends with Meek and I’ve always liked him as an artist. As soon as we heard the beat and I did my part, me, Gabe and Shadow, my cameraman, and everybody on the tour bus was like, “Yo, we should get Meek Mill on this.” We were on a tour bus in Europe, then I brought back my part to a studio in L.A. and ran into Meek and I was like, “Yo, I need you on this shit.” He killed it in like five to 10 minutes, freestyled off the top of the head. That shit was incredible. Then he played me some of his shit. That nigga got some bangers right now. I don’t know what the fuck he’s waiting for. Let’s go!
What are your thoughts on the Meek Mill and The Game beef going on right now?
Both of them are my homies and I think the homies should get off the internet. I think we all gangsters and we ain’t supposed to be on the internet with our shit. Niggas should have learned that a long ass time ago. I feel like when it’s real shit, if it’s beef or whatever the fuck they want to call it, niggas should speak like men together. Everybody’s watching on the internet so why would you want to talk shit on the internet? I don’t do that with girls or anybody. Let’s just kept it adult.
Besides your own project you’ve dropped in 2016, which artist do you think has the best album so far this year?
I like Frank Ocean’s album, [Blonde]. That shit is hard as fuck. I like BadBadNotGood’s album, [IV]. Who else? I like Jacob Collier. He might be the sickest. He’s this little white kid from London, signed to Quincy Jones. Everybody should check his talented ass out, ’cause Dolla $ign said so, you already know I don’t play with music. Mac Miler did his shit on his new project too [The Divine Feminine].
You graduated from XXL‘s Freshman Class in 2014, and now two years later, you’ve released a few projects and are featured on songs from pop to EDM. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself getting the Michael Jackson Vanguard award. I see myself getting all types of awards at the Grammys. I see people recognizing that this is real music over here. I just see more young kids after me, getting into real shit. I see more Black bands. I see more music. Like Jacob Collier, once I seen that I knew that there’s hope. You know, they took out music programs in a lot of schools, but maybe that’s great because whoever was going to do this was going to do it anyways.
Music is getting doper thanks to people like Kendrick, Drake and J. Cole — people that actually get music. I am going to be one of the guys that helped bring back real music to our culture. Black people will take soul back. If you haven’t noticed, who are the best soul singers out right now? They are not Black. I think Black women will also become the superstar again, like that sought-after woman. For a while, my guys have been choosing up on the White girl and making the White girl the biggest thing. Nothing against that, because I love everybody. But I see a big comeback. Teyana Taylor killed that “Fade” video. We got a lot more to offer. Let’s get it!
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