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Exclusive Interview: PAUSE Meets Ty Dolla $ign

Yeezy is back with Season 2.

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Whilst Kanye West’s adidas Originals YEEZY Season 1 is not in stores yet, apparently there’s the Season 2 already on the way. Even though the second collection hasn’t been officially announced, on some theaters programs is listed Kanye West YEEZY Season 2 Premiere, that will most likely be live-streamed in movie theaters just like the first season was. For now, the programs suggest that the collection will premier around September 10, during the New York Fashion Week.

Stay locked for more details.


Le Sport Noir

Stylist: Jay Hines // @xyyx
Photographer: Robin Bharaj // @RobinBharaj
Stylist Assistant: April Edgar  // @AprilEdgarX
Photography Assistant: Osaro Thompson // @osarothompson
Model: Kris @ AMCK Models // @krisbrummell

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Credits: Jacket & Turtle Neck: Berthold, Bag: Christopher Raeburn, Shorts: Ada x Nik, Trainers: Converse

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Credits: Shirt: ADYN, Shorts: Underrated, Hooded Top: Underrated, Trainers: Money.
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Tracksuit: James Long, Trainers: Money, Bag: Temple London

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Credits: Jacket: Berthold, Trainers: Converse


This custom from HeyDay looks pretty familiar. 

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New York-based HeyDay Footwear, recently surfaced mouth-watering pictures of a Jordan VI custom sneaker, lavished in a familiar natural, vegetable tanned colour palette. Can anyone say Hender Scheme? Though they may only be paying homage to the progressive Japanese sneaker brand, this luxurious take on the classic Jordan VI silhouette is one that only dreams are made of – well, sneakerhead dreams. The HeyDay Air Jordan VI Leather High sneaker is available now on eBay in multiple sizes, so head over now while stocks last.

$_578


PAUSE Meets Ty Dollar $ign

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Interviewer: Johnson Gold // @Johnson_Gold
Photographer: Jamie Kendrick // @Jamie_Kendrick
Stylist: Samantha Ria // @SamanthaRia
Photographer Assistant: Fred
Stylist Assistant: Aaron Miller // @indigoochild
Videographer: Isus Williams // @isuswilliams

Clothing Credits: 
Ruth Peterson


“That shit lit, ” just like his music. Meet this year’s one-to-watch in the Hip Hop game, Ty Dolla $ign. You’ve probably heard his song Blasé bumping up the club or seen him jump into the crowd during his tour performances. PAUSE, as we sat down with instrumental legend to discuss the tragic story behind his album FREE TC, his favourite style icons in Hip Hop and his future plans outside music.

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So, welcome to London!
Aw, thank you man! 

[Hands him an Oyster card]. What do you think this is?
Is it for a train? 

Yeah, how do you think people use it in London?
You just probably go up to the little shit, put it right there and it let’s you in, right?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right.
Yeah, they got the same type of shit up in New York. I use to stay up in New York for a second, so.

Oh, so on the Metro?
Yeah, we got the Metro Card too. Plus, I ain’t never did any of that type of shit in LA; I got my car. You feel me?

Have you used the transport in London yet?
No, not yet.

You should!
I got to check it out, I’m down.

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With the people who are familiar with you in London, and the people who aren’t, who is Ty Dolla $ign?
Ty Dolla $ign is a real one. From Los Angeles, California – South Central to be exact – and if you don’t know, then bitch you better ask somebody! 

How many tattoos do you currently have and which one is the most important to you?
I have tattoos all over my body. I’m trying to get my back done, but I haven’t had time really. I got my whole chest done; my whole stomach; my arms; my fingers, my legs. I got a little tattoo on my face; all that shit. I’m tatted up, you feel me?

So, who smokes the most weed, you or Wiz Khalifa?
Erm, that would be a battle right there, I don’t know. Its probably different days, different things, like whoever has more time in a day. If I wasn’t in here, I’d probably be smoking right now, you know. I already lit up in here and everybody panicked and shit, but it’s all good!

So, do you know anything about the UK Rap scene?
Yeah man, you know… Shutdown! [laughs]

Everyone knows about Shutdown, isn’t it?
Hell yeah! I be playing it at my DJ sets man and you know, Tinie Tempah’s my guy… I was on one of his albums. I also fuck with other guys, Krept & Konan. Shout out to the homies.

So, which of the UK artist is currently killing it right now?
Skepta. Well, all of them though. Krept & Konan, they’re doing their thing, and they got their song with Jeremih that’s popping. I’m on my shit. I actually played on one of their songs with DJ Mustard, so shout out to them.

So, which one would you like to collaborate with?
Erm, all of them! You know.

But is there one that you kind of have an idea, and want to do something with?
Well, I already got something with Tinie, I already got something with Krept & Konan, so… I’m down to get something with Skepta; that would be dope, see what we do. You know, we might do something hard; me, him and Diplo, or something fresh like that, you know.

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“My favourite song being this one called “Miracle” where my brother, I recorded him off the phone right from prison”

Your album is called FREE TC. We’ve heard it’s inspired by your brother, right?
Yeah, my brother is locked up right now for something he didn’t do. How I feel is, you know, from LA, all the way out here to London, I’m sure you guys have been harassed by the police for no motherfucking reason, just for being black; or just for being whoever you are. When they felt like fucking with you just because they thought they had the authority to mess with a person that doesn’t, and like fuck people that abuse their authority, from cops to the bouncers at the front of the club, who thinks he’s the shit too, you know.

Was that the overall message behind this album?
Yeah, you know, the songs are turnt, I’m not going to lie. There are also some chill songs, just like how I did on “Sign Language.” And there are also some songs that make you think about shit, and that are heart felt. My favourite song being this one called “Miracle” where my brother, I recorded him off the phone right from prison, and then played keys over it with my homie DMAL, he did the beat. I added the third verse, I added some backgrounds and all that shit, and it’s a movie, you know. But it’s my favourite song because he’s just talking about how it’s a miracle that he’s still standing, with all the shit that he’s been through. He’s been in there for some years now, for some shit that he hasn’t done, like 7 or 8, I got to look it up, but its been a while. It’s fucked up to see somebody in that type of situation, especially a good person, like I know my brother is. I’m sure there’s more people like that, that have been locked up out here for doing some shit that they didn’t do; just for being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, so shout out to everybody behind bars that’s listening and we got love for y’all.

So, which single on the album do you think is going to blow up and why?
Erm, it’s not about that, you know. “Blasé’s” taking off though and I’m happy about that. It’s always good to get a good single that people love.

Is there one that you were recording in the studio and felt like it would blow up, because there is always one that you feel different about?
Oh, I ain’t going to lie, it’s always the one that I don’t like, and I didn’t like “Blasé” that much because I just felt like it wasn’t my most musical song and I wanted to show off my musicality – if that’s a word. That was like my least showing off, of what I could do. But of course, everybody in the room got up like “hey, that’s that shit!” I’m like “all right, here we go.” And then I started going to the shows, and man, that’s the one that everybody loves.

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“I get the crowd to say “Fuck that shit!” We want to see someone turnt the fuck up, we want to rage, we want to party.”

When you’re performing on stage, what’s the craziest thing you’ve done onstage and backstage?
The craziest thing I’ve done onstage is probably run all the way from the back, and then just jump out into the crowd. Actually, there was this girl on Twitter, that showed her eye, she had a black eye because I accidentally kicked her in the eye – I’m sorry about that – and you know, I told her one day I’ll take her out, you know. We’ll go to the movies or something, it’s going to be all good, but yeah, that was pretty fucked up. The craziest thing [I’ve done] backstage is probably a cop, fucking with us, or a security guard fucking with us, and you know, something happened to him and I don’t know. [laughs] I don’t know. One of us ended up going to jail though, so that’s fucked up. We turn up man, it’s like some new age bad breeds type shit.

So what makes you want to jump in the crowd?
What makes me jump is the energy, you know, from “Blasé” like, that’s the song. It used to be “Paranoid,” you know, it would just have the whole room going crazy and excited and partying like the best party they’ve ever had in their lives, and that’s all I love to give people; the best time you’ve ever had in your life. And that’s what you’re paying for, that’s what you’re coming to see, you know, a lot of people, they try to be all cool and shit, like fuck that; I get the crowd to say “Fuck that shit!” We want to see someone turnt the fuck up, we want to rage, we want to party. There’s so much stressful shit going on in life and you know, so much work, you know, I just want people to get up and loosen up.

Are you going to be performing again in London, any time soon?
Yeah, I’ll be back here to perform. Erm, when was the last time I performed out here? It’s probably been a year. I’ve just been out here working. I was out here working with my dawg Usher, and then now I just came out here, and you know, I’m meeting with you [Johnson], and I got my studio setup in my hotel room; I’m just catching the vibe. It’s raining and shit – I love it!

You love it?
Hell yeah!

Really? Does it rain down in LA?
It rains it LA sometimes, probably a month or two months out of the year, but its not like this. This just feels like “Woo! I could come up with some shit!”

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“I’m in it for the music, dawg! I play the guitar, I play the bass; I play the keys, the organ, whatever you want to do.”

Who is the biggest style icon in Hip Hop right now for you? And why?
The biggest in Hip Hop? The most popular in American Hip Hop is Drake, for sure. Drake is the shit. He deserves it. My favourite rapper is Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco.

Why?
Kendrick, because first of all, when he dissed everybody, no one said anything back to Kendrick. There were a few that said something back but like really? That didn’t matter, like come on. And no one wants it with Kendrick, like he’s the best, clearly. Like, if you were a smart man, I wouldn’t go against Kendrick when it comes to this rapping shit. Lupe Fiasco because I’ve worked with a lot of rappers that are incredible, but he was one of the first that I have ever seen; I did the beat, he gave me the idea for the hook, I did the hook… He went into the booth and done all three verses on top of the head, not written (I promise you), and every single bar was amazing. So, there are only a few like that. Today now, I feel like a lot of people have lost the passion to want to be the best, to want to be great, and he’s one of those last ones. Shout out to Lupe Fiasco man, I’m glad. Thank you to Bizzy from Atlantic who put me in the studio with him. I love to be around the greats like that, Kanye is another one. I saw him spit for like, forever! Like damn! I wasn’t expecting that. I should’ve been expecting it because he’s ‘Ye, but that’s just crazy man. He’s amazing like, there are only a few. My homegirl Jizzle, you know, she’s amazing, my homeboy James Fauntleroy. He may not be the most popular but like he’s one of the best out here. He also had a group called Cocaine 80s, like he could just sit there and freestyle forever. That’s what it’s about, being a real artist and like really doing the music; not being in it to just get the money, get the girls and get the fame. It’s really about this music still.

What are you in it for?
I’m in it for the music, dawg! I play the guitar, I play the bass; I play the keys, the organ, whatever you want to do. That’s what I love, that’s what I know how to do; so like, if I wasn’t doing this, it might be a little bit scary for me.

How did you teach yourself growing up [to play instruments]?
Basically, I think I was already doing it, because like, of my Dad. He already had the instruments around the house and then I wanted to learn how to start doing beats. I learned from my homie Troy Johnson and my other homie T. Bob and my Pops. He would have the MPC there but he would be out of town because he was in this group called Lakeside, and I would start learning on the MPC, how to sample and do my different shit. Sampling was one thing but then I had to learn how to play keys. So then, when you learn how to play keys, it’s like they never have the real, genuine sounds. So it was like damn, okay, I got to learn how to play bass! So, I picked up the bass, and I learned, and that was easy… The guitar was kind of hard because it’s like six strings; you’ve got to learn chords and shit, you’ve got to learn all types of shit when it comes to the guitar. And it hurts your fingers a little bit, so I learned bass, that’s just one note at a time. Then I came back to the guitar because I got good on the bass, and then you know. A little bit of violin; if the violin was around and I learned how to do that; it’s all strings, you know. Anything keys as well, from the Rhodes to the Wurlitzer, to the organ to any one of these keyboards or to any mini keyboard sound, I learned that shit. Then I went from there to FruityLoops. One of my first beats that actually got known was tooted and booted for YG and shit; that was just a sample from my vinyl collection. I also DJ, like anything that has to do with music, I’m with that shit.

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What word do you use to describe a persons style other than “Fresh” or “Dope?”
“Craze,” you feel me?

“Craze?” Is that what you say?
Yeah, that shit “craze,” that shit “fire,” that shit “wet,” that shit “lit.” You feel me? For real. 

Would you tap into anything other than music in the future?
Yeah. I’m going tap into just buying up hella properties, on some black Donald Trump type shit. You know, just giving the people in the neighbourhood a better place to stay.

Whereabouts?
LA, South Central, you feel me? That’s where I’m from. I just want to give our people the chance to, you know, live.

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Download Ty Dolla $ign’s debut album ‘FREE TChere.

Transcribed by Akhnaton Selbonne-Willie.