Ty Dolla Sign’s rise was a long time coming. He became a star at a late age in hip hop years and studied rap for decades before becoming a success. He lived through the golden age of rap, and Tupac Shakur was his number one hero.
He comes from a musical background, and his father was a member of the funk band, Lakeside. Through his father’s connections, Ty got his first insight into the entertainment business, and through him, he met the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, and Prince.
Funk and soul was his first love, which occupies a stronghold on him today. At first, he didn’t want to become a rapper, and Ty taught himself the bass, with hip-hop coming to him later on.
It was his teenage years when Tupac entered his life, and he began to let hip-hop consume him. Bizarrely, he also met Shakur during his childhood, but that moment dwindled into insignificance compared to the impact his music had on him.
Ty was going through a tough time at home following the breakdown of his parent’s marriage. The emotions he laced into his raps spoke volumes to Ty, who was incapable of channelling his thoughts and feelings as coherently as Pac, whose music meant more than him than he could put into words.
The rapper told Pitchfork: “Fifteen is around the time when my parents broke up, and all I was listening to was Tupac. With Pac, it was just his lyrics: All his songs were about shit that I was going through at the time with my family.”
He added: “He would always have a song that would talk about how his pops wasn’t fuckin’ with him, or about his moms. They hit home for sure. There was a lot of Pac haters, but I definitely love Pac. I wish I got to do a song with him.”
Watch Ty Dolla Sign, YG and Thugs Mansion pay tribute to Tupac in the video for ‘Mozzy’ below.