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While hip hop was born on the East Coast, the influence west coast artists have had on its sound and success is undeniable. From 1984’s Breakin’, the first feature film highlighting breakdance culture, to the 1990s G-Funk sound delivered by Dr. Dre and Death Row Records, the westside has established its own flare, approach, and voice.
REVOLT Summit x AT&T’s “Westside Story” panel featuring L.A. artists Mustard and Ty Dolla $ign served as an oral history of the impact of West Coast hip hop.
Panel moderator, legendary L.A. radio host Big Boy, asked the guys about bringing the L.A. vibe back to the forefront after a strong run by the south, and both said they feel good about where the region stands within the industry.
“The West is everywhere,” Ty Dolla boasted. “From the music to how we dress, we out here.”
Mustard first hit the scene in 2009 and has contributed hit after hit that has moved the culture forward. On the backs of his inventive predecessors, the artist created a new West Coast sound known as the “Ratchet Movement.” The sound is heavily influenced by Bay Area pioneers Too Short and E-40. But, the craziest part is that his artist Ty Dolla $ign is the reason this party DJ began producing at all.
“When I was younger, me and YG used to go over his house and he used to make beats for us,” Mustard recalled. “I would tell him, ‘I need you to teach me how to make beats. I really want to make beats. He taught me certain stuff. He ended up giving me a sound pack which I still use to this day.”
A healthy competition further helped to develop Mustard’s musical chops because YG and Ty Dolla are so exceptional at what they do. Ty Dolla, in particular, has been musical since the age of 2 and taught himself to play several instruments by ear. Mustard realized he had to be extraordinary to even hang out with them, so he practiced and practiced until he nailed down his own sound.
Ty Dolla credits Def Row, Ruthless Records, Mustard, newer artists Roddy Rich and SiR, and the late Nipsey Hussle as his westside musical influences. That’s after his father, of course, who is a multi-instrumentalist and member of 80s Funk band Lakeside.
As for Mustard, he studied Dr. Dre and DJ Quik to contribute to his talent to “one big West Coast sound,” as he described it — one that is boundless by genre.
R&B plays a big role in hip hop and two of his acts are among the most acclaimed in recent years. When he’s developing sounds for artists on his 10 Summers imprint, he categorizes their beats by their personalities.
For instance, Grammy-nominated singer Ella Mai has made Mustard step up his production even further by learning new instruments to suit her sound.
“YG ghetto, so I can just go in the studio and be on some ghetto [stuff] with him,” he said. “Ella is a more thorough process. Drawing in pianos and drawing it into my Fruity Loops because now I’m taking piano lessons. Wherever God takes me is what comes out of that session.”
Ty Dolla credits his signature sound to the fact that he loves every type of music. He explained: “I done jumped on a song with Christina Aguilera to a song with YG to anything. I feel like [my sound is] just being me. Being a person who studies music for real, and really loves music. Not just here to be famous.”
Mustard showed hometown pride by adding more influences, saying: “We got the best food. The best weather. I personally feel like we got the best people.” He also drew on relatable L.A. traditions like Crenshaw and Dorsey rivalry games, Fairfax and Hamilton, Melrose, King Parades. “All that [stuff] is a part of me and how I came about doing music. Watching the drill teams and stuff like that. That was a part of my whole thing,” he said.
Ty Dolla spoke more to the instrumental contributions from the West Coast sound. He said: “Just like everyone who came from out of here, from my pops’ days, like SOLAR Recordings. It was a certain sound from Shalamar to Lakeside. Then, you got Dr. Dre and them studying Funk, and the Parliament sound to DJ Quik. So we’re on a different wave with the instruments. We make people dance.”
While Ty Dolla and Mustard are up now, the marathon continues with these L.A. talents that the pair named as artists to watch: Roddy Rich, Shoreline Mafia, 1TakeJay, AzChike, and SiR. “It’s so many dope people coming out here. I’m excited for sure,” Ty Dolla stated.