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Ty Dolla $ign

Ty Dolla $ign

It might seem predictable—or even cliché—that a prominent personality in the urban music scene like singer/producer Ty Dolla $ign would gravitate toward depicting hot chicks smoking weed, or wrestling  around while oiled up in a girl fight, but we defy anyone to say they would have predicted that the images would be so artistic and scintillating.

Photographs by Andy Hartmark

Interview by Raphie Aronowitz

The Interview

Did you have a personal connection to the magazine growing up?

I heard of Penthouse, of course. Growing up, I think I found some of my dad’s one time.

Have you ever done anything like this before?

I have, but I haven’t released it yet. I have some shit coming, though.

You do? A nude photo shoot?

Yeah.

Tell me about it.

I can’t talk about it.

Okay, we’ll talk about this project. What were you going for?

I didn’t want to just have a super-ratchet photo shoot. If you notice, my music is kind of straight up, you know. And I didn’t want the pictures to be so straight up. All my videos are hella artsy. The song is talking about some crazy shit, but the pictures and the videos are tasteful.

Why is that?

Because that’s the way it is in life. What people do is, they will sell you a dream and make it seem like it’s all good. But in real life, they’re real ratchet. What I like to do is reverse that. I just tell you exactly what it is, but then I’ll show you the real visual of everything being perfect.

Expose the bullshit without being the bullshit.

Exactly.

What do you look for in a girl?

Shit. Just swag, really. Being confident. There are a lot of cute girls out there who aren’t sure of themselves and that makes it too easy. I like it when a girl knows exactly what she is. Then it might be a challenge … but it might not be.

Do you have a particular type?

[Sings] “I ain’t got no type. Bad bitches is the only thing that I like.” You feel me? I’ll fucks with all different races, all different sizes. Maybe not too big, maybe not too small. I just like all women.

Even the more traditional models you see represented in mainstream media?

I like them, too … on those types of days. I’m not gonna lie: I’m a single man and I’m not looking for love, but one day it’s gonna happen. I’m not hiding from it, either. Right now I’m definitely on my turn-up and I like all the different flavors. Compare it to a box of Crayola crayons. I like them all.

Any deal breakers? What would it take for a girl to turn you off?

If the coochie stink-stink, then of course I’m not fucking with her. If the breath stinks, I’m not fucking with her. If her nails are fucked up and dirty, I’m not fucking with her. I just like a woman to take care of herself and smell good. Oh. If she ain’t got no job, I ain’t fucking with her either. I don’t like broke bitches.

What exactly were you looking for when you cast Sophie Dee and Selena Santana as the models for the shoot?

For me it’s face first, so if you have a beautiful face, I’m fucking with you. Sophie and Selena definitely won as far as the face goes. And then the body comes next. Something about Sophie, probably the eyes…. She just gets you.

Yeah, those eyes.

Just a thick, beautiful white girl with blue eyes and huge tits. That was cool. I think that’s everybody’s—a lot of people’s—dream white girl. And Selena as well. Selena is just a fire-ass Latin chick. Beautiful. Nice body. They’re both bad as shit. They holler at me.

What was your inspiration behind picking the set?

The weed shit definitely came from me. I’m looking into owning one of those shops, you know, and having some beautiful girls in the shop like that would probably be the everyday thing going on in there. I was like, fuck it, let’s do this first, and I’ll look into getting my license.

You weren’t into the girl fight?

I’m into it; it’s cool. They weren’t really fighting, though. They got turned-up. They started pouring that oil on each other, that baby oil.

But the dispensary was more your speed.

It’s definitely a reflection of me. It’s all good to have the girls, but just imagine: hotel with the girls, or dispensary with the girls? I’m going to choose dispensary. I don’t need the bed and all of that old-school shit. I’m down for the couch or the floor and the weed.

So your shoot actually gives people a glimpse into what you’re all about.

If I weren’t working so hard every day doing music, I would probably be just chilling out in my weed shop with some chicks, getting hella stoned and trying all the different flavors.

In hindsight, would you have done anything differently?

I probably would have cast at least four to five [models]. A Spanish, a white, an Asian, a black, a Middle Eastern or an Indian or something like that. Something fly. You know you got to have all the flavors in order for it to be complete.

Sure, but if budget weren’t an issue?

Budget is never an issue for the Dolla $ign. Excuse me?

The only bad thing was that I couldn’t smoke inside, for the vibe. I was just talking about that with one of the homies yesterday. Everything that we do is based off if we can smoke or not. And I couldn’t smoke in there, so that was kinda wack, but outside wasn’t too far.

Did you hold anything back?

I definitely self-edited. I want my shit hella artistic and to get them blown up and have them hang in my crib, so right when you walk in my front door you can see them. And my daughter can walk in and see them, and my grandmother, and whoever else, and they still get the point. And it’s clean, you know what I mean?

What’s on the horizon for you professionally?

I have an album called Free TC coming out right before summer. And I got hella features dropping. God is great. I’m thankful. More tours coming. Festivals coming. Just more good music. Let’s get it.

What’s behind the title Free TC?

Free TC is dedicated to my little brother TC. He’s locked up for a murder that he didn’t do. It’s not just him who’s been [victimized by] injustice. I have other homies who are going through the same shit. All across America and in Mexico, in Canada, Africa, everywhere, and we just need to bring awareness to that shit. I’m going to take a lot of this money that I’m going to get from this album and put it toward a great team of lawyers and work on getting him out. That’s about it.