If you think you’ve seen the phrase “featuring Ty Dolla $ign” a lot this year, you’re right. Deemed “the hardest-working man in music” by The FADER in May, the 33-year-old musician born Tyrone Griffin Jr. has popped up everywhere in 2018, from Drake‘s Scorpion to Kanye West‘s ye to Migos‘ Culture II.
Note: To be included in the list, the song must strictly be a feature. For example, none of MihTy is eligible considering he’s a main artist. Additionally, all songs where he merely provided backing vocals (i.e., Drake‘s “Jaded” and Khalid‘s “Vertigo”) were excluded from the list.
10. Christina Aguilera feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 2 Chainz – “Accelerate”
Christina Aguilera‘s return to the spotlight came as a surprise to many, with the pop superstar electing for a Kanye West-produced track as her first single in nearly five years. Though the comeback single didn’t pull the desired numbers — it failed to chart on the Hot 100 — it gave a rare glimpse at Ty Dolla $ign’s stripped back vocals. The oft-Auto-Tuned crooner shows off his raspier side, straining in a way that works well in tandem with Aguilera.
9. Tinashe feat. Ty Dolla $ign & French Montana – “Me So Bad”
As is often the case with upbeat, club-friendly songs, “Me So Bad” gets a nice boost from its supporting cast. Though the track appears on Tinashe‘s Joyride, it feels like a natural fit for Beach House 3, as well. Neither Ty nor French Montana turn in the most impressive verse of their career, but it’s hard to imagine this song possessing the same earworm quality without the former’s ad libs and backing vocals on the chorus.
8. Teyana Taylor feat. Ty Dolla $ign – “3Way”
Ty Dolla $ign is never one to shy away from getting explicitly sexual with his lyrics, but he leaves very little to the imagination during his guest verse on Teyana Taylor‘s “3Way.” As Eric Renner Brown delicately puts it in his G.O.O.D. Music rankings, “save this one for until after the kids hit the sack.” Though the song isn’t exactly fit for radio, two heads are certainly better than one for the overtly seductive track, as the team’s smooth and confidently sexual vocals set the mood.
7. Mariah Carey feat. Ty Dolla $ign – “The Distance”
Landing a feature on Mariah Carey‘s first studio album in four years serves merely as the most recent notch in Ty Dolla $ign’s belt. The latter certainly tones down his lyrics on this one, with “kissing in public” being about as raunchy as it gets. The whole song leaves the listener floating, and Ty’s silky verse melts like hot butter right into the chorus. The only drawback here is Carey’s powerful voice sometimes drowns out Ty in the background.
6. Kanye West feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR, Ty Dolla $ign & Jeremih – “Wouldn’t Leave”
You know that “wait…” GIF of James Franco from The Interview? This one. Yeah, so that’s essentially how you’ll feel when Ty jumps in on the song’s final chorus and outro. His presence on this song, combined with PARTYNEXTDOOR and a backing choir, provide a goosebumps-inducing sound. Come for the Kanye West rant at the end, stay for Ty Dolla $ign humming “keep that same energy” in your ear over and over again. It’s just a shame he’s absent on the track’s front half.
5. Fabolous feat. Ty Dolla $ign – “Ooh Yea”
Following a 10-second intro of Ty Dolla $ign showing off his impressive riff range, Fabolous comes in with, “Oh, I like this.” How could you not? And while I’m not the world’s biggest skrrt ad-lib fan, it just may be the best part of this song. Ty gets cocky with his watch boasts and brags about designer brands en route to one of his stronger lyrical features of the year. Ty more than holds his own in an opportunity to flex with one of hip-hop’s veterans.
4. Damian Marley feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Stephen Marley & Wiz Khalifa – “Medication (Remix)”
Between the cast list, April 20 release date and opening frames of the music video, it’s not particularly difficult to decipher the theme of the track. Damian Marley passes the first verse of the jam over to Ty Dolla $ign who provides plenty of references to marijuana — believe it or not, Louis XIII doesn’t refer to the royal monarch — in a groovy entry to the four-minute song. Naturally, weed’s unofficial ambassador Wiz Khalifa adds a verse toward the end of the song.
3. Khalid feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 6LACK – “OTW”
With Khalid, Ty Dolla $ign and 6LACK all working on the same team, there’s no way this track could lack the wavy vibe that it possesses. Ty dazzles with his multilingual bars — it’s hard to credit name-dropping a French lingerie brand as using another language, but I suppose it counts — and serves as a necessary component in between Khalid and 6LACK’s more firmly R&B-rooted verses. Though Ty’s “You say, ‘Play Khalid’ / I say, ‘Pass the weed’ ” line is a little corny, it gets a pass because the song was (also!) released on 4/20.
2. Drake feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Static Major – “After Dark”
It’s hard to imagine that Drake considered anyone else besides Ty Dolla $ign to feature on this song. The lustful, late night jam showcases Ty’s three best added assets — crisp backing vocals in the chorus, suggestive and bouncy rap lyrics, and mesmerizing riffs — woven between sad Drake bars and the late Static Major‘s noteworthy range. Though “After Dark” is buried right near the end of Scorpion, it is more than worth the wait, leaving the listener finger-snapping in the intro and sipping a hot cup of coffee during the night shift on the outro.
1. Post Malone feat. Ty Dolla $ign, “Psycho”
For those who don’t know, Ty Dolla $ign is extremely talented at guitar; “Famous” remains one of the best cuts from Beach House 3. As Post Malone notes in Billboard‘s “How It Went Down” series, the two were messing around in the studio with the guitar during the creation of “Psycho.” The track topped the Hot 100, and succeeded thanks in large part to its “less is more” approach, allowing both Post and Ty to shine. Toward the end of his verse, Ty sings “Girl, you look beautiful tonight,” which, although simple, stands as one of his most touching vocal moments of the year.