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States Pop Quiz #28: Ty Dolla $ign

What does America mean to the “Paranoid” singer? Good kush, tasty soul food, porn, and a little bit of heartbreak

As part of our States of Independence summer takeover, 50 American indie icons have volunteered to take the Dazed Pop Quiz; a quick-fire Q&A about what they love and loathe about life in the USA. Check back here every day for more from the series. 

To celebrate his new album 10 Summers, King of the Beats DJ Mustard is taking over Dazed: with a long-read with the man himself, a megamix from New York DJ Tanner, and a Pop Quiz with Ty Dolla $ign, its a total Mustard Marathon.

Ty Dolla $ign is standing on the loading deck at the back of the LA Convention Centre, waiting to take to the stage with DJ Mustard, the producer of his two biggest hits, “Paranoid” and “Or Nah”. “That’s my little fat brother and I love him,” the dreadlocked singer laughs affectionately as Tinashe and her dancers warm up a few feet away. “What we’re all creating is the new sound of the West. We’re not making killing music like Chicago – out here it’s more about having a party. We’ve always been funky with crazy bass lines and synth sounds, but our drums are different.” As the legend goes, the 28-year-old singer and producer gave Mustard his first drum sounds, kickstarting the DJ’s production career. “Yeah, but no-one’s ever gonna do what I can do with my sounds…and no one’s ever gonna do what he can do with my sounds, you know what I’m saying? That’s all him.” 2014 has been a transformative year for the Cali heartthrob, with his Beach House EP on constant radio rotation, a high profile spot on Wiz Khalifa’s Under the Influence of Music tour, and a songwriting credit on Chris Brown’s inescapable summer jam, “Loyal.” So, how would he describe the effect he and DJ Mustard are having on the music industry? “That’s simple,” he says with a smirk. “This is a revolution.”

Which living American do you most admire? 

Ty Dolla $ign: My daughter Jilynn.

Which living American do you most despise and why? 

Ty Dolla $ign: I don’t despise anyone. It’s definitely all about the love.

Who’s face should be on the hundred dollar bill?

Ty Dolla $ign: Dolla $ign! Hell yeah.

Who gave you your first break Ty?

Ty Dolla $ign: My pops. He was in this group called Lakeside back in the day. They played funk and RnB, they were poppin, they got really big. He showed me a couple of things and took me out with him a couple of times. I got to see what it was and I really wanted it. He plays horns for me now.

What food reminds you of home?

Ty Dolla $ign: Soul food. Yams, beans, macaroni n’ cheese, and whichever meat they decide to cook.

Where’s your favourite spot for soul food in Cali?

Ty Dolla $ign: My mum’s house.

What smell do you associate with Cali? 

Ty Dolla $ign: Kush.

Where did you fall in love for the first time?

Ty Dolla $ign: In LA, somewhere. I got cheated on.

Did that have an effect on your music?

Ty Dolla $ign: Maybe. Some of the songs are about that but I try to just keep my songs fun, not so sad and shit.

What’s your favourite American film?

Ty Dolla $ign: A Bronx Tale. It just relates to me. I kick it with a whole bunch of people, whereas some people only want you to kick it with one race, you know. I mess with white girls, Asian girls, Spanish girls, black girls, everything.

Is LA less segregated these days?

Ty Dolla $ign: It’s becoming less so compared to the 60s and 50s but it’s still shit, you know. It’s still there, for sure – for me, I don’t believe in race, none of that shit.

What’s your favourite American album?

Ty Dolla $ign: I like Jaco Pastorius’ Portrait of Tracy. He was this bass player who played Jazz fusion. He was the dopest bass player who ever lived.

What’s the ultimate American guilty pleasure 

Ty Dolla $ign: Porn.

Do you think America is addicted to porn?

Ty Dolla $ign: I don’t know about America, but I love porn.

Would you ever star in a porno?

Ty Dolla $ign: No. If I didn’t do music, maybe…and if I was stupid.

What’s the most overrated US tourist attraction?

Ty Dolla $ign: Universal Studios. They’re not really rides. You know what’s cool though, they’ve got some new shit where you go sit in this chair and the chair moves around and you put these glasses on and it looks like you’re on a ride, it’s like a new age rollercoaster. I want one in my house now I know that you can do that.

What’s your favourite US slang phrase?

Ty Dolla $ign: Boof, which means it’s not cool ­– it’s boof.

What law would you change or invent?

Ty Dolla $ign: I think weed should be as legal as cigarettes, everywhere. You still have to get medical cards to get it in LA. If I just lit up right here somebody would have a problem with it.

Where would you ride out the apocalypse?

Ty Dolla $ign: I would stay where I am and let it happen. Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen.

What supplies would you pack for it?

Ty Dolla $ign: A lot of water and a lot of weed.

When was the last run in with the cops and what happened?

Ty Dolla $ign: Virginia. I had a stupid ass security guard who let them into my hotel room like a dickhead and I had an ounce of weed on me…well it was probably more than that but they locked me up. But I got a cool lawyer and got that shit dismissed. I know the cops probably smoked it all.