Ty Dolla $ign Explains Why Grammys Voting Still Matters

The R&B singer didn’t have much to say about Kanye’s latest album: “That’s artist shit.”

March 02, 2016

NYC was incredible as always ! Philly tonight

A photo posted by Ty Dolla $ign (@tydollasign) on

Late last week, The FADER reached Ty Dolla $ign by phone hoping to hear about his experience working with Kanye West on The Life of Pablo. Ty's voice appears on the album twice: on the pathos-fueled "Real Friends" and the album's closer "Fade."

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Unfortunately, Ty, who was in the studio in the back of a tour bus en route to Pittsburgh (he thinks) kindly demurred from speaking on the album. "To tell you the truth, I just want to let him present it how he wants to present it, because it's his album and then I'll present my album," he said. "It's artist shit."

Fair enough. He did, however, speak on opening up on "Real Friends," what it's like to open for Future on the Purple Reign tour, YG's much anticipated Still Krazy, and why he thinks its important that more artists join the Academy so they can change the Grammys.

Read excerpts from the conversation below.


You seem to reveal a new side of yourself on "Real Friends."

That's definitely a different side. I have so many different sides, and when I hear a track like ["Real Friends"]—it all depends on what beat it is for the magic to happen—it makes me talk like that. It's definitely not a party song, because life is not all a party. That was just about, like, of course I'm so busy so motherfuckers think that I'm neglecting them and all that shit. But it is what it is, anybody who has to work a lot is not going to have time to do all type of other shit that they might want to do that everybody else gets to do.

Are you going to see more of this side of you?

Yeah for sure. It depends what beats come my way and what chords come out of my fingers. It's all the music and then that shit makes me start talking, so hopefully we get some more crazy shit going on. I wasn't doing it on purpose, but I know that I change everyday and I'm trying to get better and better at what I'm doing. Probably it's just going to be different side after different side after different side, and hopefully it will just get better and better and better.

People won't take you seriously?

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Nah, because what they need to know is that people party as well as go through real shit. If you think I'm not serious just because I party, fuck you. That doesn't even make sense! People party, people study, people go to fucking church the day after the club. There shouldn't be nothing wrong with that because that's the world we live in.

Kanye West recently took to Twitter to give the Grammys undressing, specifically calling on the Academy to recognize artists like Future, who run the radio and club scene but are critically overlooked. Do you care about the Grammys?

More people need from our generation and our peers to vote. I know there's a way that we can all vote. I'm registered on that shit and I do vote. Maybe if more of us were a part of it then we can change it. Maybe, though. Who knows, it might be politics.

How did you become a part of the Academy? Aside from voting, what other responsibilities does membership require?

I have a dope ass publicist, Aishah White, and she told me about it and she took me up there. Everybody should do the same thing. [Once you are in,] you go to meetings, you get on the phone, you read up on what's poppin, and you vote when it's time.

Do you feel like your vote matters?

Who knows. That's why I said more of us need to [participate]. A lot of the time I talk to the homies—other rappers, producers in the game—and they never even know about it. I think more of us need to get on board and come to those meetings and we could change this shit, because we definitely own it. Definitely Future has it on lock, and it only makes sense that he would have performed at the Grammys.

How does it feel to vote and then see the results?

It feels fucking crazy when one of the homies is supposed to win but they don't. But at the same time, to see Kendrick finally come out and kill like that? We're on! The West Coast is back motherfucker!

Do believe the the Grammys can change?

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For sure. Anything is possible. People never thought there was a black president for a long as time, then there was. We're on out here, everyone needs to get on board. Duty call.

What are you working on now?

I'm about to put out Free TC with some bonus tracks on it, and that shit is lit as fuck. And I'm back on my production shit real heavy. I'm doing a lot of the production on Still Krazy, YG's new album. It got my own shit, it got shit with Mustard, but I ain't saying nothing. We just out here doing out shit. And I just want to do even more bigger shit. I definitely want to work with Jay Z and Beyoncé—I hope they read this.

You are currently on the road with Future's Purple Reign tour. How was that been?

We've been killing these shows. Fans love that shit. And they really love [Future's] shit, they go crazy. In Detroit, whatever venue we were at, the balcony had, like, a thousand people on it and that shit was bouncing like fuckin' hydrolics when he was performing. When I come out for "Blasé" I usually go super hard, but I seen that shit and I got scared. I didn't want to pump the people up too much because I was scared people might die in that motherfucker! That's how lit it is. People was jumping and fucking pandemonium, crowd surfing and all this crazy shit. If you didn't get a ticket I feel sorry for you, because it's sold out everywhere.

And you and Future have been recording together on the bus between shows—describe what that scene is like.

It's a movie, it's a movie. It's simple, it's easy. That motherfucker just comes off the top of the head and can do like seven songs and so can I. So together, just imagine what's about to happen. Who knows what we might do, man. It's magic!

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