The Mercury Music Prize Nominee Rapper “TY” has unleashed his third album entitled “Closer“. I caught up with TY to get his views on the music industry and what we have to look forward to on his new album.
Kwaku: How did it feel after recording a very well received second album (Upwards), which was amongst an A-List of Mercury Prize Nominees?
TY: When I finished the second album I felt like I had finally given my account of how I feel and why I refuse to stop making music. I felt like it was an adequate example of the excellent creative output we have to offer. Being from the UK I felt like it was relevant to the timeframe that I was living in.
Kwaku: How was your approach to recording the new album?
TY: The new album was following instinct I wanted to include my musical peers not just my local peers but locality of mindset (People that do the same things I do in their music i.e. Information, real emotions and observations). I wanted to strip down the album and not make it so frilly. I wanted it to be more in your face and more dance floor evoking!! I also wanted to get inside the music a little so my voice is inside the beats, I’m not just rapping over the beats I am in it.
Kwaku: Did you feel under pressure to follow suit after the high popularity and profile of Upwards?
TY: I didn’t feel under pressure to compete with the last album that’s not where we are. Me, Drew and Leroy just kept in constant contact, listened, commented and edited each other’s ideas freely. As far as lyrics go they just come out like spiritual vomit so I don’t try and worry about them.
Kwaku: Amongst your peers you are well known for your great live performances. What is the largest number of people you have performed for and how did it feel?
TY: I have so many live shows under my belt its hard to say. I think 20 thousand people in Spain on a beach, also Serbia Exit festival I did that with the Unsung Heroes and Tony Allen. Crazy concert as far as the eye could stretch, just the bodies of people amazing it feels great, I wouldn’t change my job for the world.
Kwaku: Which do you enjoy the most, recording or performing and why?
TY: I enjoy recording cos I’m a nutter and anything can happen behind the vocal booth. I like grafting away at a beat, at an idea til it becomes clearer; music for me is like a beautiful headache its all consuming.
Performing music for me is hilarious because of people reactions to your music is the missing link the crowd’s response completes the procedure of making music.
Kwaku: Which is more mind challenging for you, producing or writing raps and why?
TY: For me writing raps is second nature. To me production music is more laborious but I enjoy it just the same cos I don’t like to copy people’s formulas. I’m harder to please as an artist so beat making and eventual production is more of a concentrated effort for me.
Kwaku: Do you feel that there is an equally balanced music scene?
TY: The music industry is very unbalanced especially when it comes to street music. We are ridiculed on TV, media and toyed with by the music industry. They take our hairstyles and jackets and put it on their pop stars like it’s their own and don’t give anything back or allow Hip Hop to do its own thing. We still don’t have our own TV show on terrestrial TV from 86 to 2006 what the fuck is all that about? Control!
Kwaku: What are your thoughts on current Rap Music?
TY: I think the current RAP music scene has sold itself down the river completely, it has lost its vision, its integrity and its creative licence has run out!!
Hip Hop music still exists, but in the shadow of its bossy spoilt brother its hardly being watched at all. It has let down the next generation miserably there is little inspiration in the music right now especially in the mainstream rap music.
Kwaku: Amongst all the places in the world that you have travelled to rock a show, which was the most memorable for you?
TY: In Switzerland in a town called Berne in some old hippy commune. It went crazy. I thought I was going to start flying. The vibe was electric; it was the first time that I had been somewhere were you felt like they had been waiting for you to come for a long time. And also in Portugal, in Lisbon, the whole club sang the words to Wait A Minute. I felt like I had gate crashed a private party, it was their song, really amazing. I had to do the song three times.
Kwaku: What are your views on Gangster Rap?
TY: Gangster rap is relevant.
Kwaku: What are your thoughts on Gangster Rap and the adverse affect it may/ or may not have on the younger generation?
TY: I think it’s used to have a purpose. It used to be the voice of a particular set of people now to me its just empty, money, rhetoric.
Kwaku: What else do you enjoy doing when you are not writing raps and making music?
TY: I enjoy having a reasonably normal life, I enjoy my struggle and I look forward to being able to look after my family more.
Kwaku: What’s next on the agenda for Ty?
TY: Next for TY is kids life and a wife!!! Lol
Kwaku: Thanks for taking the time out to talk with me. Where can we get all the latest info on Ty and when is the album dropping?
TY: The album is out in the UK and Europe on the 16th of October and January for the United States.
Written by: Kwaku