The crisp and bouncy audiophile production is suffused with evocative, flavour-filled samples, live instrumentation and a heady, groovy atmosphere, whilst clever but accessible, vivid and entertaining lyrics are delivered with a grown-man hip hop finesse and honest, bullshit-free directness.
With wit, subtlety and humour Ty tackles subject matter ranging from Brixton, depression, poverty, racism, family, hip hop and the creative process, to philosophical musings on life and even imagined film soundtracks.
Despite being Ty’s masterwork, he also finds plenty of space to accommodate others, with a cast of guests including Durrty Goodz (now known as OG Rootz), Tall Black Guy, Wayne Francis from United Vibrations and the legendary Umar Bin Hassan from The Last Poets.
With a liquid, spiritual soul beat, the deeply lyrical ‘Somehow Somewhere Someway’ is simultaneously a tribute to crowd-fuelled hip hop energy, a mantra to restoring faith in yourself and a prime example of Ty’s total synergy between music and rapping.
With a nod to Roy Ayers ‘Brixton Baby’ masterfully captures the bittersweet essence of one of London’s most currently prominent areas, in a celebration of coming from somewhere and the opposite to a hip hop postcode war.
The melancholy bass clarinet of ‘Marathon’ sets the tone for Ty’s glimpse of anxiety, depression and general struggle poetically being documented but not bemoaned, with a message of pushing on - both from a personal perspective and universally.
Maternal tribute ‘You Gave Me’ offers this album’s equivalent of Ty’s perennial anthem ‘Music 2 Fly 2’, and paints a picture of family sacrifice over a long period of time.
‘As The Smoke Clears’ features beats by Tall Black Guy, who Ty came into contact with via the popular Facebook group he started for producers called The Beat Inn. The concept and challenge they came up with together was to pick 2 films and create music for certain scenes. Verse 1 is about a scene from Paul Haggis’ ‘Crash’ and verse 2 is about the rape scene from Tyler Perry’s ‘For Coloured Girls’.
Ty values hip hop as a high art form. He set out to create an album where every beat, sound and idea were thought-out, then thematically and coherently fused to create what he considers a perfect whole.
“I wanted to move away from the hip hop album approach where a bunch of disparate beats by different producers and different rappers with stock rhymes are strung together” he explains.
“With every guest, every sample, lyric and instrument I thought about whether they suit the themes and mood of the song, then decided what to include accordingly.
As the songwriter and producer, I created whilst thinking what the album is actually telling you. This is my life work, it’s how I feel, and it’s a catharsis.
I want to upgrade the view of hip hop; rappers need to view their artform as important, which is why I have lyrics like ‘every rhyme written should be in a museum’. This music should be treated with importance and a lasting high value”, he concludes.
Ty has released 4 critically acclaimed albums; ‘Awkward’, ‘Upwards’ (Mercury nominated) and ‘Closer’ on Ninja Tune’s Big Dada imprint, plus ‘Special Kind Of Fool’ on BBE.
He has collaborated with De La Soul, Tony Allen, Roots Manuva, Bahamadia, and Speech from Arrested Development.
He has two radio shows; the educational ‘Reaching Out’ on Soho Radio, which features intelligent discussion on academia with a hip hop connection and ‘Awkward Audio’, which is an outlet for new hip hop.
Recently Ty participated in workshops alongside the hotly-tipped MC Mist, in support of young emerging artists in Birmingham, which were organised by Levi's Music Project and filmed by Boiler Room.
The Jazz re:freshed record label has been doing big things since its official inception in 2016, and this is its biggest thing to date. From their popular weekly live residency in West London, to the annual JAZZ RE:FEST festival on the Southbank, Jazz re:freshed are building on the organisation’s mission to provide services and support independent, UK jazz and jazz influenced artists. Co-founder Adam Rockers says, "It is an honour for us to have TY on our label because for years we have respected him and his forward thinking approach to hip-hop and the musicality he brings to the genre."
2. ‘Eyes Open’
3. ‘Somehow Somewhere Someway’
4. ‘Brixton Baby’
5. ‘Work Of Heart’
7. ‘No Place To Run’
8. ‘You Gave Me’
9. ‘Harpers Revenge’
10. ‘Folks Say People Say’
11. ‘World Of Flaws’
13. ‘The Raspberry’
14. ‘As The Smoke Clears