I Hung Out With Ty$ the Other Night. Things Got Out of Hand
10:00 PM, Monday, Oct 8: I'm standing outside Paramount Recording studios on Santa Monica Boulevard waiting for the publicist for R&B singer Ty Dolla $ign -- aka Ty$. The plan is for me to hang out with the Hollywood denizen, who rolls with the Pushaz Ink label crew (YG, DJ Mustard, Fuego). Ty$'s blowing up. He inked a deal with Atlantic Records in September and released his new mixtape Beach House this month. I, on the other hand, am fucking cold. It's actually 60 degrees outside, but it feels colder. Maybe it's because I'm wearing a short dress with no jacket.
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10:03 PM: A young man riding his bike almost runs me over. "Watch out, bitch!" he yells. I jump out of the way. Sadly, two hours earlier, another dude on a bike called me a slut while I was walking down Fairfax. To quote Randy Newman: I love L.A.!
10:07 PM: Aishah, Ty's publicist and I enter the smoke-laden studio where DJ Reflex, Kid Ink, Nate 3D and a few other friends/co-workers are chilling. It is a typical studio space, with flat screen TV playing the Saints-Chargers Monday Night Football game.
Ty$ sports an Adidas jumpsuit with a cross dangling from his left ear. "Dolla Sign" is inked across his neck, and he is wearing a light blue L.A. cap with his dreads pulled back. He sparks a joint and blows out a heavy cloud of smoke.
There is a Grey Goose bottle on the counter, as well as several Red Bull cans, Guinness bottles, water bottles and some leftover grub. Rapper Kid Ink is sitting behind the mixing board adjusting his Atlanta Braves cap. His last album Up & Away came out in June, and he's working on his new one. Some of the beats he's looking at are from Ty$ and his production team, which is called Dirty Rotten Underground Sound (or D.R.U.G.S.).
Ty$ is pretty stoked about Beach House and interested to hear what his friends think of it.
"Did you listen to Beach House yet?" he asks DJ Reflex.
"Sorry, man. My wife is having a baby. I haven't had any time," Reflex responds.
"Thanks, man," he says, laughing. "You got no time for me."
10:10 PM: Ty$ imparts that his father Tyrone Griffin, whose name Ty$ shares, was a member of Lakeside, a '70s funk band best known for the song "Fantastic Voyage," which was sampled in Coolio's 1994 hit with the same title. He played keyboards and sang backup, and he inspired Ty$ to get into the business. "I wouldn't have been into music if it wasn't for my dad. He got me into all the dope shit," he says. "I started when I was three. I still have the cassette tape of me playing. I would go into his studio and make my own beats." He added that he would like to collaborate with his dad and that it will probably happen someday.
10:20 PM: Ty$ rolls a fat blunt.
10:25 PM: DJ Ill Will walks into the studio with a Laced sweatshirt on and chain slung around his neck. He got to know Ty$ from his first mixtape House on the Hill last year, which featured artists like YG, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa. He sits down on a chair next to Ty$, and the group gets down to business. A young, bald-headed engineer by the name of Angel starts playing some music. It blasts through the small space.
10:26 PM: Ill Will plops down on the couch and starts talking to an A&R guy in the room. He looks over to me and says, "I really liked this guy's music when I heard it [points to Ty$], but I think he really needs to change his fucking name."
"Dolla Sign!" Nate 3D adds, while wiping ash from his black D.R.U.G.S. tank top. Ty$ laughs and says, "Yeah, but the ladies like it."
10:30 PM: Our conversation touches on numerous topics, some music-related but mostly about women. Ty$ explains that women respond to his music first, "then the niggas do." I ask him if he has a girlfriend. His answer: "Nah." He thinks it wouldn't be fair because of what he does for a living, and he wants to play the field. He explains that girls always think he will "Toot It and Boot It." Of course, he is referencing YG's hit single that he wrote, produced and sang on.
10:46 PM: He rolls two more blunts.
10:50 PM: They smoke two more blunts.
10:53 PM: I'm getting a major contact high. I am stoned.