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Ty Dolla $ign “Beach House 2” Reviewed

Ty Dolla Sign and some lovely ladies

In Ty Dolla Sign’s world, if a woman cheats on him they could stand to be killed. On “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” one woman thinks of Ty while her man is in the hospital, and Ty says, in a demonstrative tone, “I swear to god, I’d kill your fuckin ass if you did that shit to me.” Harsh, but a principle to stand on nonetheless.

But if a woman cheats with Ty Dolla Sign, well then that’s cause to celebrate. Write a song, flaunt it, and flex your sexual prowess. “I got another n**** bitch in my bed right now, she got her legs all up in the air right now,” he sings on “4 A Young.” What to make of these contradicting views? The difference between Ty the victim and Ty the perpetrator would be a good deal more troubling if his music weren’t so damn soothing. Scrutinizing falls by the way side when staying at his cabana; the scenery is too breezy, the mood is too mellow. Why worry one’s head when the atmosphere is so calming?

This is the irresistible aspect of his Beach House mixtape series, and its second installment, released on July 1, makes its more difficult to overlook his misogynistic, vulgar, and inconsistent perspectives.

Women are the main muse for the Cali singer on Beach House 2 and he’s improved his sound as well as his rolodex from the first. It’s how he feels towards women that waivers back and forth, painting a picture of vast sexual encounters, all of which end with Ty in control.

The tape opens with a spoken word intro – an odd start considering what’s to follow – before segueing into “These Hoes,” a track that accuses women of playing games for nothing. The production is inviting, with strings intermingling with synths. Ty’s opening line “You found that rubber in the trash can,” is gross; filled with distrust and literal garbage. But he pauses afterward, letting the next measure wash over like a tide clearing the debris. It’s symbolic of everything both great and horrible about the singer.

But you listen on. To hear what comes next, because the instrumentation, in its minimalist west coast vibe, moves on you like a warm front. Ty goes on to “Paranoid,” stressing that two girls he has relations with are in the club together, and then “I Bet,” what might be the most sexually explicit R&B song in recent years. It’s very “women, can’t live with ’em, can’t live with ’em” all within the context of the bedroom. “Beach House 2” is devoid of romance, founded on lust, and one night stands and physical intimacy. The line “All we do is drugs and fuck” from “Still Sippin” serves as its thesis.

It follows up on last year’s Beach House with higher profile features and more channeled sonics. Tracks like “My Cabana” and “4 A Young,” stand outs from the first mixtape, add Young Jeezy and Trey Songz respectively, and Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, Chris Brown, B.o.B., The Game and Jay Rock all appear elsewhere. Compare that to the first Beach House, where a majority of the tracks are Ty singing solo. If “Beach House” was his introduction, Beach House 2 is his coming out party, and the guest list has elevated in stature.

That’s likely a result of the praise Beach House received, but Ty’s recent signing to Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang Records may also have something to do with it. Wiz appears twice on the new tape, on the previous mentioned “I Bet” and “Irie,” a menacing ode to achieving the perfect mind state, and a fitting diversion from the rest of the sexual overtones on the rest of the disc.

For an artist like Ty Dolla Sign, it’s a relief. The potential star power isn’t solely devoted to the gutter, songs far too dirty to push as singles. But tracks like “Irie” and “Creez” suggest mainstream appeal. (It should be noted, Wiz has excelled at two things: zoned out dreary mixtapes and hugely successful pop singles.)

With so much of this summers rap music determined to be provocative, requiring deep meditation from the listener, Beach House 2 is not. It is straightforward, and complex only in its reflection of gender based double standards. Otherwise, this is beach music. Tunes to bump and grind to, to undress and cool off to, to close your eyes and forget what the lyrics represent and instead lose yourself completely to.

Beach House 2 Cover artwork Ty Dolla Sign

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