Music

I Don’t Think I Like This Flip Of Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone” On Ty Dolla Sign’s New Album

Fans have taken to social media to also share their thoughts on “Tyrone 2021,” the track that samples Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone.”

Ty Dolla Sign has released his third studio album Featuring Ty Dolla Sign. The follow-up to 2017’s Beach House 3, the album includes a handful of notable features ranging from Anderson .Paak and Thundercat to Kanye West and Gunna. The album also includes some standout samples, particularly a flip of an Erykah Badu classic. Right from the very beginning, Ty’s “Tyrone 2021” samples “Tyrone” from Badu’s 1997 Live album. And although I appreciate the attempt, I don’t know if I actually enjoy it. But before I get into that, I’ll acknowledge what I do like about it, because there are some moments Ty (alongside producer Murda Beatz) beautifully use the sample. Like, the intro for example.

Hearing the live drums of “Tyrone” mixed with the electronic production of “Tyrone 2021” felt good to hear, and I honestly thought that was how the rest of the track was going to be — allowing the down tempo of the former to lead the latter. But the beat flip takes away from the song’s charm and lessens the impact that those first 10 seconds set up.

Second, I really liked the moments when the track used the ending of “Tyrone,” such as at the 1:20 mark. Once again, those drums  from the original just feel so good, and it puntctuates the track in a way that is pleasantly unexpected, marking Big Sean’s feature. Because of how it’s set up, it feels as if something different is going to happen for Sean’s verse, only to return to the same beat that makes up most of the track.

With all of that said, the main part of the sample flip I don’t like are Badu’s pitched-up vocals. Chipmunk soul samples are very hit or miss, and they’ve often resonated more when they’re more heavily incorporated in the track and are accompanied by beats that emphasize the vocal flip — think Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” or most of The Diplomats’ Diplomatic Immunity — and I get having to change the key of her vocals to fit the key of the song, but it feels empty. She’s decoration on the track; a nice little garnish that floats above everything else. This is fine, but it would’ve been nice to see her vocals used in more interesting — and not so obvious — ways.

Flipping samples is an artform and, when done right, gives the listener an opportunity to enjoy a song they may have already liked in a new context, or possibly introduce them to an artist they didn’t know beforehand. And although the initial reaction of hearing Badu’s “Tyrone” on “Tyrone 2021” is surely joy, that feeling doesn’t stay the same throughout.

And I’m not the only one who feels that way about it — a handful of listeners have also shared their thoughts on the sample, with some enjoying it while others, not so much.

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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Elijah C. Watson

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