On Sign Language, standard stripper/flossin’/sexy time lyrics abound, but since it’s Ty Dolla they just sound better than when anyone else sings them. Ty Dolla $ign has the wonderful ability to turn actually objectively weak bars into the most soulful sounding phrases. “Usually I don’t kiss/but you’re so damn bad I had to hit it” from “Missionary”; or “Lames can’t call her/She only fucks with ballers” from “Dead Presidents” feat. Juicy J and Rich Homie Quan; and “Fuck you like I do girl/ahhh/ahhh/ahhh” from “Like I Do” come to mind.
Highlights from Sign Language include the FKi-produced “Issue” which features Wiz Khalifa in uncharacteristically not obnoxious form, and prominently utilises a sample of Les Sins (one of Toro Y Moi‘s side projects) “Grind” to hypnotic, hip-gyrating effect; when Fabolous shows up on the DJ Mustard-produced “Type of Shit” lamenting all the things girls (read hos) do with which he is NOT down; and the “Intro/NDK” which is probably just about the most soulful and groove-inducing thing I’ve heard this year- the string arrangement is perfect and the backup harmonising is #flawless.
Ty Dolla $ign might look like a fool, and he might sound simple, but he’s actually an incredibly talented, musical dude. He gets RnB music and how to make listeners feel a vibe in a way that is lost on most contemporary singers, musicians, and producers. He’s not fucking around with weird drum patterns for no reason, he doesn’t shy away from being campy, and he understands that simple does not equal not complex. Sign Language is one of the very best mixtapes I’ve encountered in music 2014 thus far, and I would encourage you to check it out immediately.