Ty Dolla $ign is a singer, first and foremost, who is more than capable of dropping some bars on a track. What makes him such a pleasure to listen to is his strength in melody. Even when he’s rapping, he’s still singing. “There is not one time where I say a word without melody,” he once stated in an interview with Hip-Hop Wired. Hear Ty’s “Beach House 3” and this statement rings true. “Beach House 3” is braggadocious yet vulnerable, delivering charisma and authentic self-examination through captivating singing and memorable hooks.
The opening track “Famous” is an earnest reflection on Ty’s perception of fame and its shallow nature. “Everybody wants to be famous,” he croons, “Anyway, anyhow.” With its tranquil, acoustic guitar riff, the track sets up a serene mood akin to watching the rising sun from the shores of the eponymous beach house. The opener also sets the tone for tracks like “Don’t Judge Me,” “Ex” and “Message in a Bottle,” where Ty’s fame seems to be getting the best of him.
Drugs are his coping mechanism of choice on “Don’t Judge Me,” a repetitive but infectious tune. “Blow the whole pound, don’t judge me/ I might pop a seal in the morning/ Lately, I’ve been going through a lot of things,” he laments.
“Ex” and “Message in a Bottle” explore urges of infidelity and running back to former partners. Ty is “Mixing Henny with the Bombay” because, well, he’s “had a long day.” Low and behold he “linked up with his old thing” and texted his “main chick/ (he) told her (he) ain’t coming home tonight.” With its sample of 112’s “Only You (Bad Boy Remix),” and a contribution from the king of turn-up, YG himself, “Ex” is a head-nodding anthem ready-made to throw on at your local kickback.
His string of infidelities continues on “Message in a Bottle,” an airy slow jam; “drinking ‘till I’m woozy/ Poppin’ these Advils and textin’ my ex.” With its clever word play, this track presents a vulnerable Ty completely aware of his actions yet expressing little remorse. The punchy, synthesized drums paired with a quiet harp creates a gloomy atmosphere that juxtaposes Ty’s poised attitude.
Interludes, such as “Famous Lies” or “Famous Excuses,” clock in at or under 1 minute, acting as harmonic segues between tracks. “Famous Lies’” vocal sampling of Peabo Bryson’s “Feel the Fire” echoes faintly underneath lush, synthesized chords that create a murky, echoed ambience. Bryson’s sample breaks through the atmospheric haze and seamlessly signals the start of “Love U Better.”
Produced by frequent collaborator DJ Mustard, “Love U Better” finds Ty alongside Lil Wayne and The Dream brimming with boastfulness. Ty just wants to flex that he “can love (her)/ better that he can.” On the chorus, The Dream and Ty pay homage to Mary J. Blige’s “I Can Love You,” delivering feelings of impatient yearning fueled by emotionally charged lyrics. Lil Wayne uses autotune well, paring it with an array of vocal inflexions and creating syrupy melodies that give the track a modern R&B feel. The rubbery bass line bounces alongside the “Feel the Fire” sample carried over from “Famous Lies” to create a glitzy groove. The dual nature of “Love U Better” is its strength, as it evokes a nostalgic, ‘90s R&B vibe while simultaneously delivering a catchy, contemporary sound.
On the closing track, “Nate Howard Intro,” Ty makes an interesting choice and hands the reigns to Nate Howard, a professional speaker, educator and frequent collaborator. As the song opens to the sound of waves gently breaking onto shore, Howard reminds us to “Just breath/ Life is too short/ Enjoy this moment.” Alongside the sounds of gentle waves is a harmonizing crooning that mirrors the ebb and flow of the waves as it softly fades in, crescendos to a soft peak, and slowly wanes away. Sonically, the song creates an ambience that paints an image of a setting sun slowly disappearing behind the horizon fitting for the end.
Verdict: “Beach House 3” marks Ty Dolla $ign’s third and best installment in the mixtape series. Ty delivers some vulnerability while simultaneously flexing a masterful understanding of what tunes resonate with listeners.
Best Tracks: “Famous,” “Famous Lies,” “Love You Better,” “Ex”