People are still out here erroneously calling Ty Dolla $ign a “rapper,” but his new Babyface (!) collaboration, “Solid,” just furthers the alternate theory that he’s a 21st Century blues artist, telling gritty and often not-so-pretty truths through a smoke-inflicted rasp and deeply soulful melodies. On some of his more pop-oriented songs, this notion might get lost in the modernized sub-bass, but stripped down to just two acoustic guitars and an on-the-road narrative about how real he is, a fuller spectrum of his vast talent is on display. Ty can play like 13 instruments and Babyface is on back-up, for god’s sake!

“Solid” is from Free TC, his years-in-the-making debut major label album, which refers to his brother TC, in prison for what Ty says is a wrongful murder charge. Free TC was due last year, but he’s released a gut of music in the interim. Earlier this month, he surprise-dropped the mixtape Airplane Mode, which features a lead song that’s got some of the meanest lyrics I’ve heard in ages, including “molly made me fuck her even though she average,” juxtaposed with an explicit depiction of how sexily he might put it on while he’s there nonetheless. It’s misogynist in his way but he always puts it so plainly and straightforwardly that the women who might want to mess with him at least have a chance to know what they’re getting into.

Again, it’s the blues (without the violence—Ty is never violent), and that he’s collaborating with Babyface here also situates him in the tradition of classic ‘90s R&B, something he’s alluded to periodically through his career, particularly on Beach House 2 (which actually had a Teddy Riley collabo). He’s the real deal, and doesn’t really get enough credit for it, but that may change after Free TC drops November 13, at the very least because the collaboration roster is insane—Kanye West, JAGGED EDGE, Fetty Wap, Kendrick Lamar, BRANDY! R. Kelly too, a bad man I can’t stomach but if we’re being honest, I’m interested to hear what they sound like together. All that, plus Diddy, Future, and Rae Sremmurd for the turn-up. Bieber’s album also comes out November 13, but Ty is who I’m holding my breath for.


Contact the author at julianne@jezebel.com.