There’s always a big risk in two artists coming together for a collaborative album. Even if the respective acts have spent ample studio time with each other, testing the waters and seeing how their collaborations fair in the public eye is important. Some things are better together, others better separate. It’s why Drake and Future’s What A Time To Be Alive was a success and why Travis Scott and Quavo’s Huncho Jack was a huge disappointment. While a joint project between DVSN and Ty Dolla Sign wasn’t specifically requested by their fans, it seemed set to be a match made in heaven. Both are inspired by ‘90s R&B and thrived in the genre thanks to originality through said inspiration. With that being said, Cheers To The Best Memories should have been an R&B lover’s dream, right? Yes, but the two acts missed the mark for such a title.
In a recent sit-down with Interview Magazine, Ty Dolla Sign and DVSN’s Daniel Daley and Nineteen85 spoke about the ins and outs out of the album, and in this discussion, they revealed the bar they set for Cheers To The Best Memories. “We cooked up a bit then and then we looked up like, ‘Yo, we’re kinda sitting on a few joints. It would be funny if we did some R&B Watch The Throne-type sh*t,’” Daley said. Jay-Z and Kanye West’s prized 2011 album has been, and still is, the bar to reach for modern artists who decided to join forces and make the best of the chemistry they have together and while the quality of the project and how well it aged are up for debate, there’s no denying the hip-hop moment it created and left behind. However, that came with time. Years of solo work from the respective rappers and years of collaborations together, and the latter, which Ty and DVSN lack, hurt them the most with Cheers To The Best Memories.
The records on Cheers To The Best Memories aren’t bad at all, but that’s simultaneously the issue at hand. The catalogs of DVSN and Ty boast records that are far past the descriptor of “not bad at all,” especially in the realm of bedroom symphonies and sensual soliloquies. Brighter moments that are delivered through the album’s spirited opener, “Memories,” and its closing tracks “Wedding Cake” — which is cut from the cloth of Ty’s “R&B” — and “I Believed It” are undercut by YG’s odd placement on “Can’t Tell.” Furthermore, Ty’s “Rude” interlude contradicts the album’s seemingly cheerfully nostalgic theme, as it arrives as nothing short of spiteful and disgruntled. Its placement makes even less sense next to DVSN’s pleading call towards his skeptical partner on his interlude, “Better Yet.” Lastly, while this writer is a fan of the song, “Somebody That You Don’t Know” is sonically out of place on the album and probably would’ve fit better on DVSN’s A Muse In Her Feelings.
Realistically Cheers To The Best Memories is the artists’ own attempt at duplicating Drake and Future’s What A Time To Be Alive more so than Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne. For starters, their titles are similar in the sense that they both seek to relish and recall the atmosphere that surrounds them. Additionally, DVSN and Ty bring both of their styles to the table while either party leads the way as the other uses their talents to fill the missing piece in the puzzle. They even allow moments for each other to shine individually. The success Drake and Future achieved with What A Time To Be Alive can also be credited to time. Their first song together arrived four years before the project, and in between that came multiple collaborations. While, of course, there are exceptions to every rule, Watch The Throne and What A Time To Be Alive worked in large part because of the chemistry the pair of rappers spent years working on.
DVSN and Ty Dolla Sign’s joint project leaves listeners second-guessing the expectations they set for the project. Maybe the bar was set too high, and maybe we got carried away with the expectations for it, but that leaves far too little blame on the artists. DVSN’s A Muse In Her Feelings and Ty’s Featuring Ty Dolla Sign were both highlight R&B efforts in 2020, leaving it more than reasonable that a strong body of work was expected from the two. With Cheers To The Best Memories, the world deserved something along the lines of DVSN on Ty’s “Everywhere” or “Slow It Down.” It was also worthy of Ty on “Greedy” or “For Us.” It’s theoretical records like these that would’ve helped push Cheers To The Best Memories to the level of quality we hoped for it to be. Hopefully, if Ty and DVSN choose to create a project once again, they learn from this and give the world something more impactful.
Cheers To The Best Memories is out now via OVO Sound/Warner. Get it here.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.