Free TC
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Review: Ty Dolla $ign's 'Free TC'

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Ty Dolla Sign’s Free TC is a study in well-executed maximalism. Backed by lush, ornate soundscapes and assisted by nearly two-dozen high-profile collaborators, Ty pulls all the stops to create an unforgettable listening experience. Despite all the mayhem surrounding him, he rarely allows his guests to outshine him on his own tracks. The album only includes two solo cuts, yet it still feels undeniably his own. Ty’s coy personality and arresting vocals command all the attention, even when a full orchestra or an inspirational speech from Kanye West threaten to steal the stage.

To pigeonhole Free TC as simply a R&B album is downright disrespectful. Doing so undermines the far-reaching range of influences woven thoughtfully into the the album’s structure. Although Ty Dolla Sign’s major label debut is largely centered around R&B, elements of gospel, hip hop, orchestral, and rock are interpolated seamlessly throughout. Free TC is sonically ambitious, drawing upon several discordant sources for inspiration and tying them together into a cohesive package. Although nearly all of the sixteen tracks are credited to a different producer, the songs flow nicely together in sequence.

The album is as wide-ranging in lyrical content as it is in production values, as infectious party cuts are juxtaposed thoughtfully with heavier tracks about gang violence, police brutality, and gratitude. The most touching moment on the album arrives at the halfway mark, as Big TC, Ty’s incarcerated brother and the album’s namesake, croons soulfully about redemption on “Miracle / Wherever.” The eight-minute track begins with minimal instrumentation and later erupts into a gospel-referencing orchestral magnum opus. It’s a rare moment of vulnerability for the effortlessly cool bad-boy.

Free TC is a powerful, exquisite body of work that showcases not only Ty Dolla Sign’s musical abilities, but also his innate talent for curation.


STANDOUT TRACKS: “Miracle / Wherever (feat. Big TC & D-LOC)”, “Solid (feat. Babyface)” & “LA (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Brandy & James Fauntleroy)”

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