Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ty: No Ordinary Visionary

Ty Ty Ty Ty

Ty Chioke has been in, about and at the pinnacle of UK hip-hop since his debut album “Awkward” (2001). In that time, he has put out a bevy of albums. His last album “Special Kind Of Fool” (2010) perhaps one of his most successful, featured a plethora of UK talent. There’s been an eight-year gap since TY’s last album, but woe betide those that say he has not been busy musically. He has been ‘active as ever’ and his forthcoming album “A Work Of Heart” is merely the culmination of his activity.

I was lucky enough to catch up with the man himself recently for a candid chat about his new album, radio co-hosting duties, producing tracks, Dilla beats, the hip-hop genre and respect in music…

How busy have you been since last your last album dropped?

I have been busy. The thing is, that campaign for my last album ran for 15 months, what with touring and other things. Off the back of that, I then dropped “Baby Love” (featured in Adulthood) as a seven inch. I have also co-hosted a radio show, which has of course been a big undertaking.

How did that opportunity come about?

I have always loved music. I used to love it when 1Xtra would call me onto the station to essentially host my own show or my own selection of tracks for a segment, as it were. I think to date, I have hosted about 5 basement sessions with 1Xtra. I think off the back of my past activities Pyro Radio subsequently came with the opportunity to co-host a show. We both just jumped at the opportunity. We did not know what we were doing but it just worked straight away - there was this natural flow.

And your reasons for taking on such a huge job.

I did it for different reasons from everyone else. As an artist and pioneering icon, I noticed that I have never seen an artist who can make music people like, and then turn around and play younger artists and not play artists that his ‘squad’ are rating. I play people who are different and fresh. I do that because I want to take new steps and play music that is good, rather than play music because people in my circle go “that’s hot!”.

It must help your shows that you have travelled so extensively as an artist?

For sure. I have toured in so many different countries that I have built up relationships with people. Consequently, I hear music that you might never hear in London. From an Israeli emcee right through to some hot German emcee - I play music from across the borders.

Can you tell me about your choice of title?

The title is “A Work Of Heart”, but every album is a ‘work of heart’. I could easily rap just for rap’s sake and put out some mumbled words but I don’t want to. I have been giving people music you can come back to time and time again for years. But ultimately, it is about the connection between the music we make and the music which are pieces of art.

The album seems a quite an eclectic affair…

Eclectic is what I do, normally. When people use the word ‘eclectic’ they mean different but I have always done that in my music. On the album, there is obviously a hip-hop sheen with an adult grown perspective regarding what I do. For example, I am aware trap music is popular but while I do not make trap music - I make tracks with that ‘bounce’ - reminiscent of trap but it is NOT trap. You can hear that in tracks like “Eyes Wide Open”. The track also has the same drum sounds as Dilla’s “Raise It Up” but the way I have flipped the drums, there is no way that you can say I am copying Dilla. The approach to the music is Ty flipping things. “Brixton Baby’s” drum programming is flipped in a certain way. It has a type of African feel but I have not made an afro-beat track. I am fusing genres but programming with hip-hop sensibilities.

Album “A Work Of Heart” is out through Jazz re:freshed

You can read more from our interview with UK rapper Ty, including his experience of producing his new "Work Of Heat" album and his influence on UK hip-hop, all in the current issue of Blues & Soul Magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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Words Semper Azeez-Harris

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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