The term hitmaker isn’t bestowed by chance. It's a title earned at the intersection of quality and consistency. Throughout the duration of their impressive careers, both Jeremih and Ty Dolla $ign have been awarded the honorary emblems that many singers and songwriters thrive to achieve.
This upcoming February will mark the 10-year anniversary of Jeremih’s debut single, “Birthday Sex,” which became a top-five, 3x Platinum hit. Ty Dolla’s breakout moment came in 2010, through the world-wooing hook on YG’s immature yet infectious single, “Toot It and Boot It.” Both R&B artists reached the masses through radio, found homes on the charts, and have continued to be mainstays on Billboard’s Hot 100.
As peers in the art of sultry sweet nothings, a collaboration was bound to bring the Chicago and Los Angeles talents together for the greater good of a bedroom playlist. Since “Impatient,” a smooth R&B jam with a touch of trap bounce courtesy of producer London on da Track, on Jeremih’s late 2015 release Late Nights: The Album, further work as a duo wasn't difficult to imagine. Between YouTube and Spotify, the record has amassed a combined 165 million streams.
Two years later, “Dawsin's Breek,” a fumbled diamond that should’ve been spotlighted all summer long, arrived on Ty Dolla’s Beach House 3. Regardless of their commercial prosperity, both records showcased a fun, breezy chemistry that felt effortless yet effective, which is the obvious intent of their newly-released collaborative album, MihTy.
The 10-track album is thoroughly tailored to be played in the company of swimming trunks, suntans, and 90-degree weather. It’s easy to imagine the sun-soaked project was intended for a June release—not October—with a temperament that places MihTy closer to Ty's Beach House than the slower, moodier sonic palette Jeremih often taps into. This doesn’t make him an outlier, though. Their balance as collaborators is perfectly even. The stylistic similarities and songwriting focus on their usual topics of women, sex, and the lifestyle that accompanies lots of sex with lots of women, giving the album a collision vibe. It’s truly a joint album that pairs the two in ways recent collaborative hip-hop projects haven’t successfully accomplished. They are synced.
Unfortunately, there are few thrills to be found. Sure, there is still fun to be had, but MihTy is like entering Six Flags with only a few functioning roller coasters. The two gifted songwriters are far too loose. Their French Montana-featured flip of Biggie’s classic “Fuck You Tonight” is commendable, but the outcome left me wishing the combo had created a fresh classic rather than a modern revamp.
Their approach to the flip of Dru Hill’s “In My Bed” on “New Level” is far more enjoyable, but at its heart, all the fun feels safe. MihTy, as a body of work, feels completely free from artistic risk. It's a collection of safe songs that are too formulaic to truly be interesting.
Ty Dolla $ign continues his summer-long streak of sounding great with sweet runs and sugar-dipped melodies and Jeremih provides his own glorious vocal performances, but while they do sound good together, only a few songs break through the background to grab your attention. Not even "Surrounded," a clear-cut hit with a Chris Brown hook, or "Perfect Timing," the only true slow burner, can lift the project out of the background.
It’s unfortunate that even with Hitmaka (f/k/a Yung Berg) behind the boards there are not more records likely to dominate the airwaves. In fact, his repetitive, springboard production is partially to blame for the lack of sonic diversity. MihTy doesn’t switch its tempo enough to allow for a different range of record. Not tapping into the versatility of the two main artists is a criminal shortcoming, and there’s nothing sexy about bounce-house-trap. The album sounds as if it was made for clubs with beds flopped on the dance floor, rather than a more ideal intimate setting.
There’s no birthday sex, sadly. Rather, MihTy is a birthday party that isn’t the celebration it was hyped up to be.
Three Standout Songs:
Here we have a warm, sensual, classic R&B slow jam. Jeremih displays the higher-pitched range that adds another layer of character in contrast to Ty’s deeper, soulful tone. The canvas produced by Hitmaka is silky smooth, the kind that truly allows an R&B singer to dance within the groove and sing with intentions of taking the listener somewhere behind closed doors.
When I think of Ty and Jeremih, the records that come to mind don't include classic R&B samples. Hearing Dru Hill, I wanted to hate "New Level" immediately, but outside of Jeremih's rap verse, the record is hot enough to burn a hole in hell. Hitmaka brought a new flavor to a timeless jam. I can’t wait to play this in the whip next summer (which should've been this summer).
SOULFUL! Another sample, but one I don’t recognize. What I love about this record is the slower tempo, how Jeremih commands the hook, and everything that Ty Dolla contributes. It’s earmuffs in a blizzard, the first sip of Jack on an empty stomach, the first rays of spring following a long winter―a song that brings a vibe that’s simply cozy.
By Yoh, aka YohMihTy, aka @Yoh31
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