Often compared to Future, Los Angeles rapper, singer, and songwriter Ty Dolla $ign is more like the duo Rae Sremmurd reduced down to one, offering lean trap rhymes and hooky choruses that stick in the head long after the song is done. Both Future and Rae Sremmurd guest on Ty's debut album highlight "Blasé," where the lead MC spits out "And my bitch cold, she a centerfold/Put her on a stand, and she never told" in a way that's more street than Future, and wiser than the Sremmurd crew. Speaking of wise, Ty seems like an old soul with Jagged Edge ("Straight Up") and Babyface ("Solid") on the guest list, and he's a creative one at that, giving the former a drifting, slightly off R&B number to sing while the latter superstar gets a clever, acoustic-guitar driven masterpiece that could be passed off as K'NAAN, Wyclef, or maybe even the late singer/songwriter Ted Hawkins. If it's a surprise to find a full-bodied, blues-inspired number here, it's equally as intriguing when this mush-mouthed rapper winds up a worthy Usher rival on the swaggering strip-club number "Saved" with E-40, and still it's "Guard Down" where the jaw drops the farthest as Diddy and Kanye West help deliver a track driven by glitchy underground electronica, plus one with lyrics that are as sincere and empowering as the Beatles' "Hey Jude" or 2Pac's "Keep Ya Head Up." R. Kelly, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, and what seems like the rest of 2015's A list wind in and out of this busy effort with ease, and all of the genre-jumping seems like second nature for this deceptively diverse artist, acting like he's on album number six when he's really just on number one. Numerous proven mixtapes help set Ty up for an easier introduction than most, but Free TC tops all expectations, as the man conquers the club, the bedroom, and the brain with this end-to-end stunner.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries