This Ty Dolla $ign album review was written by Peter Shand, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
“Mustard on the beat hoe”. Three people that have been synonymous with this name drop within the last three years of music: YG, DJ mustard and Ty Dolla $ign, with the later finally dropping his much delayed debut album, “Free TC”. The name in honor of his incarcerated brother who is currently serving a life sentence for a crime Ty Dolla $ign is adamant he didn’t commit.
The album boast features from some of the most celebrated artists such as Kanye West, Puff Daddy, Kendrick Lamar, Trey Songz, Babyface, R. Kelly and Future. Even BIG TC, the incarcerated brother the album is dedicated to, makes an appearance. To long time fans this is no big surprise to see his imprisoned younger brother featured, as he was also on Ty Dolla $ign’s previous projects such ‘$ign Language,’ a mixtape that was released in 2014, and ‘Beach House’ EP released in the same year.
Through the album one of the stand out songs is track number eight titled ‘Miracle/Wherever,’ which features BIG TC along with D-LOC. It finds BIG TC reflecting back upon the mistakes he has made, wondering if it was all worth it over a soulful backdrop produced by D’mile, Nate 3D and Ty dolla $ign himself.
‘Only Right’ sees the reunion of the west coast dream team as Ty Dolla $ign brings along YG, Joe Moses and TeeCee4800 on the gang infectious DJ Mustard produced track, celebrating doing things the right way. One of the biggest club records this year ‘Blasé’ features the red hot Future along with Rae Sremmurd, where group member Slim Jimmy delivers a standout verse with lines like “been spent your rent and I’m still blowing big faces something ’bout them Ben Franklin’s make any bitch get naked” – it’s defiantly something to get blasé too.
The album ends with the heavily jazz influenced ‘Finale,’ featuring LA hip-hop collective SA-RA where member Taz Arnold’s familiar sound can also be found spread all over another LA native – Kendrick Lamar’s ground breaking album ‘To Pimp a Butterfly,’ which was also released this year.
Although this debut album is a solid body of work put together for a major label, certain parts rarely live up to what we have come to expect from TyDolla $ign. Tracks like ‘Solid’ have him out of his comfort zone, and is a song that doesn’t really belong anywhere. ‘Bring It Out of Me’ also feels lost in the sauce over production by pop duo Stargate, with the song ultimately leading nowhere.
The variation of different sounds and stories help to build the albums narrative with a few bumpy turns along the way. The album does well to bring experimentation and tried tested methods to a new audience while doing its best to keep existing fans engaged.