#TBB10 with UK Rap Legend Ty, A Work of British Art

If I were to ask you to list the top 5 British Hip Hop legends there is no doubt that Ty would be amongst them. Not only is he respected by his peers but he is one of the few still flying the flag for true Brit Hip hop and does so with grace and humbleness.

With the release of his latest album A Work Of Heart there is no doubt that in an industry that does not celebrate and appreciate the legacy that is British Hip Hop enough, he will be heard.

1# The last time you spoke to TBB you’d overheard a disturbing but unsurprising conversation on the train between some music execs about the dominance of white artists in ‘urban music’ [1]. Since then do you think there has been a shift in the way black music and black artists are being received?

Yes, there’s been a shift but it’s a carefully measured shift and not a full on reversal which is what we need to have a better music environment in this country. The boys club continues. The only shift is to be more careful more hidden.

2# As an artist who has been in the game for quite some time, you have seen the way in which music distribution has changed over the years from vinyl to cd to downloading. You have recently streamed your single, Eyes Open feat. OG Goodz (aka Durrty Goodz) do you think this is a better way to get your music circulating?

I don’t think it’s necessarily a better way. But it is essential to be involved in all these different factors. My music has been on Spotify for a while now.

3# Was there ever a time when you were resistant to the way the music industry/business changed and what made you adapt, and how do you manage to retain your OG sound and status yet be aware of how people are receiving music?

I will always be resistant to the way the music industry works. I’m here for the music not for the politics or the subtle mind control or selective music publicity of certain artists over others, my sound is just Hip Hop music unfiltered or unbothered by music politics. I retain my balance by thinking about music differently. This is Art. I’m a composer and a poet/rapper with words.

Photo credit: Bunny Bread

4# You released your latest project A Work of Art this month. How does it feel to still have such a buzz about the music you are releasing in amongst the younger generation of artists?

It’s great to see people still buzzing for new music from me it’s how it’s supposed to be. I think we need to change how we view rap artists and longevity, It’s very possible to be putting out music for a long period of time if you’re unique. I am unique, my style isn’t something you hear every day so I feel blessed to be able to give people this new album.

5# What can your audience expect from this new project? What lessons do you have for us this time around?

Honesty, Integrity, Vulnerability, Truth, Skills, and Music arrangements.

6# You have a number of collaborations on this project, OG Rootz, Tall Black Guy, Wayne Francis & Umar Bin Hassan. Of all time which has been your favourite collab?

No favourites. I love each and every song equally, they were all lessons to me they were all puzzles I had to figure out.

7# With the emergence of artists like Stormzy, Boy Better Know, Krept & Konan alongside JHus, Fuse ODG British Hip Hop has evolved into Grime, Afrobeats/AfroReggae, and drill. Are you up to date with new British Black artists, who has caught your attention and do you think there’s enough conversation between generations past and present?

Hip Hop hasn’t evolved into grime. Grime is more popular and is given more credibility and media presence these other music genres are more popular for a number of reasons and they deserve the accolades. But it’s not the replacement for Hip Hop culture. We mix the two things up. Hip Hop is a house, rap music is a room in the house. All these other genres are just new versions of rap that fit into various rooms. But they don’t replace or represent Hip Hop culture.

There is a generational divide that needs to be addressed because music is society and family if you let the generations split and not be aware of each other eventually the ecosystems of what we are will burst. Families don’t function well when the different generations don’t speak, that’s a fact! None of the new music has caught my attention I’m aware of it all, but it’s not for me, and I think a lot of people want to have more choices than we are being allowed currently.

8# Do you consider yourself to be one of the few artists keeping the roots of UK Hip Hop alive?

There’s a whole scene that people have forgotten young and old that still make UK Hip Hop. The music industry has started to call grime artists the new hip hop and I think that’s partly journalists’ fault of overlooking genres and scenes. Hip Hop in the UK is a culture, rap music is the music being made. There’s plenty of UK Hip Hop being made and put out. The problem is, folks have been overlooked, the scene has been overlooked and counted out, and then the term UK Hip Hop is used whenever the music industry feels like using it rather than respecting the roots of the term and the scene itself. There’s plenty of great UK hip hop around that’s about to make a resurgence and I’m glad to be a part of it what we need is journalists to be on our side and push it as much as they push the grime material which is also very good.

9# Apart from the music you have your two radio stations both based on Hip Hop culture. You work with young people through schemes like the Levis Music Project where you had music workshops in Birmingham. In the current climate with so many of our young people killing each other how important are projects like this?

These projects are important amongst other things happening. Workshops and other youth engagement is very necessary. The issue of young people killing each other in current society is a deep topic and it’s one that I think is not being addressed properly. How did we get here? What is the cause of this phenomena? Why do young people feel this way? We need to be more honest and look at how society works. These are not young people killing each other these are our children killing each other.
Until we look at the problem with that kind of personal attachment we’re not going anywhere.

10. What’s next for you? Can we expect some tour dates and festival appearances this summer?

There’s a European tour, a UK tour and other things on the horizon.

Thank you for speaking to TBB.

Get your copy of Ty’s A Work of Heart here

Ty’s Tour Dates are:

16.03 La Palace, Paris, France | 17.03 ELECTROCHOC Festival, Bourgoin-Jallieu, France | 22.03 Fluc, Vienna, Austria | 23.03 Musik and Frieden, Berlin, Germany | 29.03 Zwischenbau, Rostock, Germany | 30.03 One Love Festival Tenerife, Spain | 31.03 Paper Club, Las Palmas, Spain | 04.04 Mojo, Hamburg, Germany | 05.04 CLF Art Cafe, Block A, Bussey Building, London, UK | 06.04 Duycker, Hoofddorp, Netherlands | 20.05 Hare and Hounds Birmingham, UK | 21.05 Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds, UK | 23.05 Picture House Social, Sheffield, UK | 24.05 Patterns (upstairs) Brighton, UK | 25.05 The Louisiana, Bristol, UK


[1] – http://thebritishblacklist.co.uk/legendary-uk-rapper-ty-overhears-uk-music-industry-bods-controversial-conversation-about-black-artists/


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