In Jeremih and Ty Dolla $ign’s multiverse, there are no hangovers. There’s no heartbreak and no bills to pay, no line at the club and no cracked iPhone screens. It’s a Truman Show of epic, hedonistic proportions, where the sun is always about to set and the night always beginning to buzz—the biggest issues are girls who play hard to get, bras that take too long to unhook, bottles that don’t come quick enough.
As someone who, as of this writing, is hungover, slightly heartbroken, and has several bills to pay in addition to many other glaring issues in his barely held together life, Ty and Jeremih’s collaborative album MihTy should be something like a slap in the face. But it isn’t. If anything, it’s actually making me want to drink again, buy a one way ticket to an island, and get over my ex by sleeping with someone from the club. Ty and Jeremih might be the two most successful and influential pop-adjacent R&B hookmen since T-Pain, but what they don’t get enough credit for is their ability to create atmosphere, their uncanny knack for pulling you headfirst into a sticky-floored, syrupy neverland of their imaginations, and their quiet commitment to, with their solo work in particular, create immersive experiences.
Both singers’ respective solo careers have sold a fraction of what their appearances on countless hit records have, yet it’s not a matter of misplaced priorities. Rather, as Jeremih’s masterful Late Nights and Ty’s almost as good Beach House 3 demonstrate, the two singers excel, and are excited by, longform worldbuilding and mood-making, extended scene-setting and reality-warping. It’s what separates them from their peers: Ty and Jeremih are quiet album artists in a sea of single chasers, and they can make pretty much anything sound monumental and vital, even if nothing is there. You might roll your eyes reading their lyrics out loud, but you suspend your disbelief the moment you press play.
MihTy, which has been teased for over a year now, follows in the line of both singers’ solo projects, with a bit less depth and a bit more recklessness. Melodic, efficient, and incredibly fun, it’s an album remarkably unconcerned with commercial pickup, instead serving as a seamless melding of both artists’ universes; it’s a cohesive, nocturnal experience from two artists who by day masquerade as pop sidekicks. Of course, any project with these two is inherently set-up for a wide audience, but there’s no upstart rapper feature here, no beats from a producer-of-the-moment. Thanks to executive producer Hitmaka, who’s worked extensively with both singers, MihTy is custom-fitted for its two stars: steeped in classic ’90s R&B and hip-hop samples (Biggie’s “Fucking You Tonight,” Dru Hill’s “In My Bed”), club-ready bass throbs, and overlapping, looping melodies, it works to equally compliment Ty’s throaty commands and Jeremih’s fluttering range. Neither singer has had this much fun in a long time.
MihTy sounds like it was recorded with the two singers in the same room, if not the same booth; it never once feels like one’s album more than the other. On opener “The Light,” Jeremih follows Ty’s opening incantation (“let’s have sexxx!”) with a flood of melody and falsetto, taking the baton with the ease of a relay runner. “Perfect Timing” is even better, as Jeremih’s falsetto chorus gives way to a swaggering Ty, who ushers in a slowly swelling beat of bass slaps and modulating synths until the two are singing in unison. It’s symphonic and nearly flawless.
“Take Your Time,” with its jack-in-the-box looping melody, sounds like a sped-up remix of Jeremih’s Late Nights highlight “Remember Me.” Ty, with backing harmonies and palpable yearning, gives way to a flow-switching, voice-manipulating Jeremih, who cheekily warns us that he’s “stingy with your ass like Kobe, with the pass/You could be my one and only, but I can’t.” “Surrounded,” which features Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa (no, I don’t know why either), stages a dramatic strip club opera. You can pretty much hear Ty grinning as he sings “Out the country, spending Yen in Japan/I just seen your baby mamma, made her dance,” warping both “Japan” and “dance” to rhyme with “lawn.”
MihTy is an album almost entirely about women, made by two men who love singing about them in the broadest, most objectifying way possible; it never really strays from sex outside of the somewhat flat “These Days,” a song about haters and old friends. Sex is undeniably at the thematic center of Ty and Jeremih’s venn diagram of interests, but even if you can get past the sleaziness, the unwavering carnal gaze strips the album of its potential dynamism, which is probably on purpose, but nonetheless a missed opportunity. The two singers are expert womanizers, sure, but they can do more, especially together. On their stellar, even melancholy, Late Nights team-up “Impatient,” we at least experienced variations on non-sexualized desire and the comedown from a long night; similarly, on their Beach House 3 collaboration “Dawsin’s Breek,” the focus is celebratory, childish flexing that sounds like two friends playfully roasting one another.
Still, Ty and Jeremih could sing their shopping lists for Target (side note: would love to know what they’re buying) and it’d sound good. MihTy was never going to be about the lyrics, and nobody asked it to. Instead, it’s something of a modern R&B unicorn – a long-rumored collab album between two unconventional personalities that actually came to fruition, and one that works despite having, or maybe as a result of having, no big single. It’s even more of a miracle considering that, for all of their chemistry and stylistic sensibilities, Ty and Jeremih couldn’t be more different in their approaches to their non-MihTy careers: Ty is the always-working Renaissance man, doing features for pretty much anyone with a voice, while Jeremih has done almost everything in his power to derail a solo career that, in an alternate reality, could’ve made him as big as Trey Songz or Chris Brown.
It’s unclear, even for a huge Ty and Jeremih fan like myself, what the expectations for this album were to begin with, except that it sounds like the experience of staring at a lava lamp while sitting in a jacuzzi with a bunch of strippers, and to that end, it does. MihTy is the best case scenario of what for years has been a dream partnership – it’s hilarious, it’s sexy, it’s infectious and it’s club-ready. Most of all, it’s an audible vacation: it takes you out of whatever funk you’re in and transports you to the Miami or Barbados of Ty and Jeremih’s dreams, your problems rendered non-existent. Coming back to reality afterwards, though – to the heartbreak, to the bills to pay, to the inevitable hangover – is a different story entirely.
Ty Dolla $ign and Jeremih’s ‘MihTy’ is available to buy or stream. For more of our album reviews, head here.