If you were to judge Ty Dolla $ign’s Beach House 3 album on the intro track alone, you would have no idea that he’s one of hip-hop’s most consistently successful songwriters. “Famous” is an exemplary acoustic ballad that would lead any brand new listener to believe that Ty is just a gifted guitar player and vocalist—not someone who's singlehandedly dominating the sound of modern rap. But that’s the beauty of Ty as a complete artist; he puts out a surplus of varying sounds and vibes that merge genres together seamlessly. Beach House 3 is a combination of all Ty’s hip-hop, R&B and pop strengths melded together then polished with a fun-loving summertime bounce that bumps just as well in the colder months.

Ty doesn’t waste any runtime and gets to the hits right away. Not even five minutes in and “Love U Better” explodes through the speakers with DJ Mustard’s effervescent beat and The-Dream’s silky voice taking center stage. The singer also recruits Lil Wayne for one of the better verses heard from the Young Money leader in a long time. It’s the kind of song that isn’t overly complicated and sticks to Ty’s career-long winning formula—hot hook, sing-a-long rhymes and pulsing production. After the lead single wraps, “Ex” carries on a similar two-step bop but with a more vocal-focused pivot from Ty. YG, who gets a well-deserved feature, of course smashes his verse with plenty of rhymes about deceiving his main girl and seeking other female pursuits.

It makes perfect sense YG and DJ Mustard make the tracklist, seeing as all three West Coast reps came up together, but Ty doesn’t just stick to his day-one collaborators on Beach House 3. In fact, the featured guestlist’s star power would rival any of DJ Khaled’s stacked albums. Most notably are Future and Swae Lee’s appearance on the trap gospel “Don’t Judge Me,” the Wiz Khalifa and Pharrell assist on the simplistically serene “Stare” and “So Am I,” the tropical-infused rhythm featuring Skrillex and Damian Marley. Other collaborators include Jeremih, MadeinTYO and Tory Lanez, all of whom add their own colorful strokes to Ty’s already decorated musical canvas. As it sits right now, Ty is more known and praised for the collaborative efforts he puts forward, so on his own album when the tables are turned, all the guests step up to the plate and deliver a really focused effort.

As much as Ty does a top-notch job mixing sounds with his contemporaries, there is a stretch of solo cuts on the backend of BH3 that really take this album from good to great. In many ways, it sounds like a separate album altogether. Three very complete songs are broken up by smooth interludes and summed up with a spoken-word outro by Nate Howard. The album’s best technical singing shows up on “All the Time,” where Ty hits a wide variety of different ranges. The album’s strongest writing also bubbles through on “Message in a Bottle” with double entendres of life and alcohol running ramped and getting doubtingly concluded with Ssomething told me to FaceTime my ex/Must have been a message in a bottle.”

This string of deep cuts bodes well for Ty and emphasize the fact that he can make resilient solo songs without the help of dance beats and guest features. Although the album is well-paced, there are a few too many songs to keep track of, especially in the middle. Had Ty cut down a few tracks, or better yet morphed some of the more like-sounding songs together, this would have been a body of work even more enjoyable from front to back.

Beach House 3 truly is one of Ty Dolla $ign’s best works to date. He manages to please with his collaborative hits and hooks all while maintaining artistic integrity with his more introspective tracks. There is no doubt that this album’s diversity, genre-fusing atmosphere and downright good grooves will last well into the new year.

See New Music Releases for November 2017