As the title suggests, if you haven’t heard of Ty you’ve been missing out. Sadly this is the case for most people and that’s why I’m very excited to bring you someone who has a great sound that they’ve made their own. For all the heads out there this is the ‘real hip hop’ you always bang on about on every hip hop video that is just below the mainstream.
Ty has been making music for a while now and is quite a popular artist in British Hip Hop. The trouble is that he’s not particularly gone after the big publicity nor has he compromised the music he creates in order to go with the trend at any current time in UK Hip Hop. Despite saying he sincerely dislikes being solely credited as being different and independent, his refusal to compromise and his outspoken attacks in the past on trends in the Hip Hop world will always make him into hero for those who espouse the need for ‘real hip hop’. Caught in a trap partially of his own making, his latest album is designed to show more raw emotion and convey more of himself. It is an attempt to prove that he deserves being regarded as a great artist and not simply patted on the back for being different or alternative. Unfortunately the album is both of these things, exactly what these quasi-fans that he dislikes love. It is going to be pretty hard for Ty to escape from the praise of the heads for doing his own thing. In all fairness he probably doesn’t need to.
After all, the album is brilliant.
Special Kind of Fool is a lyrically dark album and of course contains attacks on the mainstream UK Hip Hop that exists right now. It has his sound firmly embedded within it and so, without further ado, I bring to you the first single from the album:
I’m only going to bring you one more track from this album because, for the first time in years, I’m actually gone out to buy his album and listen to it all in one go. I’d like to think you’d do the same if you like his music as he is still due more recognition than he currently gets. And no, I’m not asking you to do this because he’s alternative, but because he’s good.
Quite a few of you are probably feeling a bit sceptical right now, wondering why I’m so excited and why I’d buy the CD without listening to a few more tracks from it. It is time to break out a short resume of his work.
He started off on the main stage with the album Awkward which was released in 2001. From listening to the album you can tell he was still finding his way to creating a recognisable sound of his own but it already has that distinct richness to it. I’m not going to spend the next few hours piecing apart his music to find out exactly what makes his sound recognisable, just listen:
His next album, Upwards, gained him a nomination for the Mercury Prize in 2004 and has a few top notch songs. As the youtube caption suggests, this is one of Ty’s best tracks.
Oh and just to show you another indication of why he received the nomination, check out this remix he did of one of his own tracks alongside Roots Manuva:
Yeah that is Roots Manuva on there with him!
Moving on he produced Closer in 2006 which was the album I originally knew him by and it is pretty good but doesn’t quite hit the mark when you compare it to some of his other work. Saying that, the title track is good:
Before I finish this post with one more great track, I hope I’ve at least shown you that Ty is good at what he does and definitely deserves more recognition than he gets. This is down to him being a creative artist and being able to make great stuff. He will inevitably receive praise for being different but this is grateful praise for the fact that he is one of the few who are actually being creative. When you realise that the “Hip Hop” that is currently the biggest stuff in the UK right now is bullshit from ‘artists’ like N-Dubz or Chipmunk, you see why he gets the praise. ‘Artists’ like N-Dubz don’t even deserve the accolade of being artists, they’re simply vehicles for someone else’s money making strategy.
Others like Dizzee Rascal and Example were creative and independent but now they’ve moved into creating stuff that sells. I was looking at some of Example’s earlier stuff and its really good, I guess it is just a shame that he (and others) felt they’d rather make music that sells than make music for the sake of making music. I’m not going to lambast them for doing that but all we can hope for is that artists like Ty receive the recognition for producing great stuff without having to conform to the mainstream in order to get noticed. Recognition for producing music just like this:
To finish, a quote from Ty:
“I made this music for a reason I feel like the ingenuity of hip hop music has taken a backseat..originality & individualism which is key to real classic music has been replaced by marketing & a lazy attitude towards making music i.e. just rap over a beat & put it out… Well that’s not me!” [sic] (Ty 2010).