How Ty Dolla $ign Turned Himself Into This Generation's Nate Dogg

by Julian Sonny

When it comes to West Coast rap, everything you hear today originates from an OG class that was one of the best to ever do it.

Current artists like Kendrick Lamar, YG, Nipsey Hussle and even DJ Mustard all draw inspiration from the last generation of gangsta rappers and producers who paved the way and helped create that unique LA sound.

Icons like Eazy-E and Tupac started the revolution, but an even more distinct genre of gangsta rap during the 90s helped propel West Coast legends like Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Dr. Dre and DJ Quik to the top of the industry.

The already aggressive lyrical content of hip-hop was combined with elements of funk and, for the first time, R&B singing.

We remember this as the G Funk Era, and there was no artist who represented that better than Nate Dogg.

With the drawn-out bass lines and the melodic synthesizers, every track was drawn in by a catchy hook. And Nate Dogg was the best to do it.

It's easy to see how these artists -- much like this generation today -- were inspired by their parents' time of soulful artists like Earth, Wind & Fire, Rick James and Prince.

They just added the gangsta twist.

It had massive commercial success, and fans loved it and they helped push the music to become one of the most celebrated subgenres in hip-hop.

And over 20 years later, you can bet most everyone you run into on the street knows every word to "Regulate."

Though Nate Dogg passed in 2011, his spirit lives on and his music continues to inspire a generation of young artists -- but none more so than 30-year-old Ty Dolla $ign.

Much like Nate Dogg in his time, Ty$ is an artist who created his own lane by blurring the lines between R&B and rap.

Even though he's talking about violence, drugs and subjecting women, he's able to mask the hardcore nature with relaxing and smooth melodies.

Much like Nate, he's a unique voice in his generation. And even more so like him, he's changing the industry around him.

Ty Dolla $ign was born in Los Angeles and comes from a musical family. His father was in the musical group Lakeside.

He plays several instruments, including the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums.


Before breaking out as a solo artist, he wrote for other singers in the industry and got his start producing.

He wrote part of "Loyal" for Chris Brown...

...and "Young, Wild & Free" with Snoop, Wiz and Bruno.

When he first came on the scene, Ty$ worked closely with YG and DJ Mustard.

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Likewise, Nate Dogg was the only singer in the hip-hop trio 213.

His first commercial success was a song he wrote and produced in 2009 with YG called "Toot It and Boot It."

But, he's most known for "Paranoid," a single off his 2012 mixtape, Beach House.

Since then, he signed with Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa and became a part of Taylor Gang.


His collaboration with Wiz and The Weeknd, titled "Or Nah," reached #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

It was also a modern version of an old G-Funk classic.

Despite being labeled a rapper, Ty$ thinks he isn't one.

In an interview with Complex, he explained,

People would call it rap, but I really don't feel like I rap. There's so many great rappers, like if we had to battle or some shit, they would just cream me. I don't really consider myself a rapper, I just happen to have bars, or something like that. I still sing man, I'm a singer, ya feel me?

He also draws inspiration outside of rap and listens to bands like Nirvana and Incubus.

You can hear some of that inspiration in his single "Stand For."

He also blends EDM and house music elements in songs like "Destructo."

Ty Dolla $ign loves all music and isn't afraid to create something new...


...as long as he keeps it gangster, much like a legend we all remember.