Ty Dolla Sign’s “Campaign” is like vanilla ice cream. It’s generic tasting and really doesn’t bring anything new or unique to the table. It isn’t anything exciting like Rocky Road or Chunky Monkey. “Campaign” feels like somewhere I’ve treaded before, which is a shame because Ty Dolla Sign does have the talent to create good music.
Past hits like “LA,” “Wavy” and “Or Nah” showcase Dolla Sign’s ability to produce both soulful and party records. Furthermore, in a year packed with “turn up” anthems and mundane hip-hop, “Campaign” falls victim to the tropes set in 2016. The mixtape has some gems but most of the project falls flat due to uninspired creativity.
“Campaign” crosses off everything that a generic hip-hop album needs in 2016. A Future feature? Check. A Travis Scott feature/produced record about popping pills and “f------ b------”? Check. A “Turn Up” anthem? Check. It does little to venture out into uncharted territory.
The lack of taking risks makes “Campaign” feel uninspired. Dolla Sign’s wordplay also lacks a certain level of consistency.
One of the strangest things about the mixtape is that, in a few tracks, it tries to weave in skits that talk about the presidential candidates.
It seems out of place considering that about 99 percent of the tracks consist of partying or picking up women.
With all the negativity aside, “Campaign” delivers on the production side. “Campaign” proves that Dolla Sign is able to shift between rap and R&B with ease.
The title track “Campaign” delivers an iron clad, hard-hitting anthem about hitting the campaign trail to pick girls.
The soulful “R&B” is backed by wondrous harmonizing vocals and the 90’s bounce of “Hello” is sure to give some listeners nostalgia.
No track compares to the powerhouse that is the politically infused “No Justice.” The track is a soulful ballad that describes the horrific inequalities that African-Americans experience in this country.
To add to the drama, Dolla Sign’s brother, Big TC, provides a haunting chorus and verse that was recorded in prison.
TC sings, “I keep my hands where they can see ‘em, I know this could be the end of me/ they say we are all created equal but ain’t nothing about us equal/ there could never be no justice when killing us is legal.”
Songs like “No Justice” shows how much of a misstep “Campaign” is.
The blunt “Pu$$y” also stands as one of the mixtape highlights. The DJ Mustard produced tracks talks about how a woman is always his. Trey Songz and Wiz Khalifa stop by to drop some memorable lines.
Trey sings, “Cause I know what to do, she know what it is/ so what’s up?/ and she might be with you but she feeling me ooh.”
“Campaign” feels like a huge miss. Nowadays, mixtapes are used as a platform for artists to venture into new territories without much consequence. It’s a chance for them to flex their creativity.
Dolla Sign needs to step up his game in order to stay relevant in a time where more and more rappers and artists are becoming prominent.