Tyrone Griffin, better known as Ty Dolla $ign, started a fire in Los Angeles when he played a big role in ushering in a radio and club friendly sound which the streets called “Ratchet Music,” opening up doors for fellow hometown artists to break away from the traditional West Coast G-Funk and Gangster Rap, and getting them back on the good graces of radio and club DJ’s. After a few years of releasing free Mixtapes and a slew of guest appearances, the Taylor Gang/Atlantic Records artist is ready to make another splash with his new upcoming EP (Beach House the EP) and an album in the summer of 2014. AllHipHop.com caught up with Ty backstage after a recent show at Club Nokia with Dom Kennedy to see what’s going on in the world of Mr. Dolla Sign. Check out our exclusive interview below and a few flicks from the show and see why he’s referring to his crew as Death Row Records and certain other L.A. cats as Ruthless (no diss to Eazy).
You have a new EP that’s dropping soon. Please tell us more about that.
It’s called Beach House the EP. I’m keeping the Beach House name because it was successful as a free Mixtape series but now I want to make it as something that I can sell. It’s going for Pre-Sale on January 7 and available on January 20.
You probably should’ve started selling your projects from the start.
I wish I did but there were still a lot of people out there unaware of me. The free Mixtapes were for advertising.
So what’s in for us on the new EP?
It’s a sequel to Avatar – the best movie (laughs).
Oh I see. You’re going James Cameron on us. What about an official album?
I hope to have that done by June of 2014 so I can take the summer. I’m just trying to perfect it and it to the next level from Beach House the EP, because the EP is on another level than the Mixtapes.
Earlier on stage, you jumped on the MPC and started playing something and you told the crowd that you produced YG’s first hit, “Toot It and Boot It.”
I produced “Toot It and Boot It” and half of the songs on Beach House 1 and 2 – just like on the upcoming EP.
A lot of people don’t know of your producing side.
I actually taught DJ Mustard how to produce. I gave him the sounds and he passed me up on producing – so shout out to him. That’s my little n*gga, ya know? He teaches me sh*t now.
The Student surpassed the Teacher.
You and DJ Mustard created a new path for artists on the West Coast, because there was a time when artists from the West couldn’t get on the radio, and that started to change after the “Toot It and Boot It” song.
My big homie Big D, he put us all together; Me, YG, and DJ Mustard. We were all up at my old house in Baldwin Hills, at the top of the hill, and we would make music every day. We came up with this sound and people later on ended up calling it the Ratchet sound.
Were you following a blueprint?
Not really. I was listening to the Atlanta stuff because it was real popular at the time with 808’s and snaps. I took that and sped it up to how we were listening to music out here. The Bay was popping with the Hyphy sound at that time. I was on that same speed but I took the Atlanta drums and mixed it with samples because I love to sample. I like J. Dilla and producers like that. I took a little sample mixed it with some drums and made “Toot It and Boot It.” From there I just started exploring and made different types of beats from House to Cabana. DJ Mustard told me that I was tripping and to just make club sh*t and he went off on that route.
Do you think that you get enough credit on the West Coast?
It’s cool. I don’t care about that. I want to make good music and they are going to recognize it. The music will speak for itself. I’m not one of those dudes that will trip off it and try to get attention – I don’t give a f*ck. I’m going to make good music and all of my family is going to eat.
I ask that because I saw a post on your Twitter feed where you were talking about Ty Dolla $ign and DJ Mustard imitators out there.
That post was about others making up their own sh*t. That’s what we were trying to do. If it starts growing that’s cool, but try to make a new sound. I’m never going to try to copy what’s out and I felt that was the problem with music for the longest time. No matter which producer is hot at the moment, you’ve got a bunch of others trying to copy their sound. Everybody is copying each other but its better when everybody does their own sh*t. If you go back to the 70’s and listen to groups like Lakeside, The Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind and Fire – they all had their own sound. We are the Pushaz Ink band and we make our sound, and so all of the other n*ggas that copy what we do, they lose – straight up.
They say imitation is a form of flattery though.
It definitely shows that we are doing our sh*t. Really, I’m glad to see dudes from L.A. on. When you look back at Snoop Dogg when he first came out, everybody was trying to copy the Death Row sound. It’s cool that we are out here and we are the new Death Row and these other n*ggas are like Ruthless (laughs). No disrespect to Eazy-E – shout out to him and what he did. I’m just saying some real sh*t. Dr. Dre had his sound and everybody else was trying to copy him. Then Dre came out with a different sound on Chronic 2001 and everybody started to copy that too. N*ggas be biting. That sh*t is weak.
What’s next for your sound?
I’ve got a new sound on the EP. There’s the club sh*t too like on Paranoid and the remix. I hooked up with Young Chop and I’ve got one of his beats on there. I got some sh*t with Cardo but the sample didn’t get cleared so I grabbed my guitar, my other homie got on bass, another played the organ and violin and we created something new that sounds like a sample. You can’t stop this.
You made a few songs with Terrace Martin that had a jazzy vibe and I think that’s a good style for you.
Thanks. That’s where I kind of originated. Out here in Los Angeles, there is a station called KCRW with a DJ named Garth Trinidad – a mixture of soul and hip-hop sh*t. Also, back in the day I used to sing background for Sa-Ra Creative Partners. I listen to J. Dilla and all that type of sh*t so that’s what I love and like to do – but the people really like what I’m doing right now, so I’m going to keep on doing it (laughs).
Earlier, you brought out Wiz Khalifa during your performance.
That’s my big homie in the Taylor Gang. I hit Wiz up to see if he was in town for the show and he was like, “What’s up n*gga? Happy Turkey Day.” He definitely came out and killed it.