Ty Dolla $ign
Musician. Singer/Songwriter. Producer.
Ty Dolla $ign is kind of money right now. Fresh off Future’s sold-out U.S. Purple Reign dates, he’s on a European tour with London rap duo Krept & Konan — this while back in the states, Ty’s song “Work From Home” with girl group (and X Factor USA alums) Fifth Harmony is a Billboard top five pop hit. So, yes: Ty can do catchy and he can represent the grim glee of the trap. The Los Angeles native blew up via the 2010 YG collaboration Toot It and Boot It, a mixtape and then commercial single pivotal to what was then feeling like a freshly rebooted a California hip-hop scene.
A multi-instrumentalist with a community of almost two million followers between Twitter and Instagram, Tyrone Williams Griffin, Jr. writes and produces with everyone from Tinashe and Charli XCX to E-40. Though he’s in Birmingham (England) taking selfies with fans for Snapchat, Ty is more into a face-morphing app and posting shots at his IG — which features very tightly curated photos from onstage. There is however a shot of a Bombay Sapphire bottle-shaped cake. Blasé blasé, blasé/ All I drink is Bombay — a nod to his 2015 hit with Future and Rae Sremmurd. Alcohol and chronic / Is all we want is how the song ends. But Ty likes the classics, NPR and being ahead. It seems he’s not so blasé after all. —Darian Symone Harvin
Apple or Android?
Apple, for sure. I do have both, though. I’ve had the iPhone since iPhone 3 or iPhone 2…but what’s this other s— called? It’s not in front of me now, but that…I
s it a Samsung?
Galaxy. I do feel like Androids, in my opinion, take better photos. Way better.
Which emoji do you use most?
😂 😂 😂.
What’s your all-time favorite team?
L.A. Raiders. Of course, they’re not L.A. anymore. They’re in the Bay. But we got the Rams coming back and I’m excited about that.
Do you listen to podcasts?
I listen to this dude Anthony Valadez on [Santa Monica’s NPR station] KCRW’s app. He plays every Monday and that’s what I go to every time.
Why do you keep on tuning in to him?
He always plays new s— and he always plays a cool vibe — most people don’t know about it. I like hearing new things because I’m in clubs every night because I’m performing, so I hear the same s— over and over. So I always like to hear something new.
Where else do you go to learn about new music?
SoundCloud. The app. If you go to SoundCloud and just pick a random person — I like SoundCloud a lot.
Overall, do you have a favorite app on your phone?
I love this MSQRD app. You can change your face and start talking, and then put it on your Instagram. Snapchat has those cool little filters but MSQRD is better.
Current fashion obsession?
I’m still into my Dickies and my Vans. I love Vans’ old-school style. A lot of people are starting to move into Vans [now] but I’ve been doing this s— forever. I also like Alexander Wang T-shirts — the real thin ones. I’m into Supreme real heavy, as well.
Do you recall the last magazine that you picked up?
It was actually Thrasher yesterday. I went to City Surf up in Cardiff in Wales, got a new deck made and I got the Thrasher.
What’s your favorite book?
Ever? The Bible. The classics.
Where do you get your news?
Best to me is Instagram. People find out what you don’t want them to find out on Instagram. The Shade Room is hilarious, and BallerAlert is hilarious, too. All the homies are like, ‘Yo, did you see that s—?’ I’m like, ‘What? It’s on Instagram?’ Everything’s on Instagram.
So out of all the main social platforms, Instagram is your primary.
No. It’s moving to Snapchat because…all the fans’ll be like, ‘Let’s take a snap. Let’s take a snap.’ I was like, ‘All right. What the f— is this Snapchat s—?’ At first, I was like, ‘Oh, this is corny. I don’t want to f— with it.’ I’d rather just post a pic on Insta — everybody could comment, they could do whatever. But Snapchat is the new wave for sure because — I don’t know. It’s way better.
What are you the champion of?
I’m the champion of doing my own thing and making my own sounds and when people copy those sounds I come with a new sound. I’m the champion of being ahead. Of being a person that people copy off of. It’s crazy.
Where does your courage come from?
It’s just there. I got it. Everybody’s like, ‘Yo, I don’t see how you do this.’ But I just love it. I just want to f—— win, you know? That’s where my courage comes from — just wanting to win, and not stopping for nothing.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
CulturePlay is The Undefeated’s weekly interview series with big time and emerging personalities. It’s a fun, illuminating, classic personality column of loves, likes and dislike with a modern-day focus.