Its that time again, for us to shine the light on a ‘industry master’. This time we shine the light on South London legend TY.
When i first started writing the ‘industry masters’ series, TY was someone that i always wanted to shine a light on. Other features, reviews, life etc have all got in the way. But now its time to hopefully do this man justice. This will be a mixture of personal, factual and everything in between, i am a huge fan of TY what else can i say.
My journey with TY goes all the way back to when i was a young kid, long before i was a DJ. Just a regular kid buying cd’s, vinyl etc on the weekend with my crew. I many have read about his debut album in the sadly now defunct HHC magazine, or i may have just liked the look of the cover. I honestly can’t remember why now, but i bought ‘Awkward’ from Imperial Records on what was the legendary Park Street in Bristol.
The debut album from TY on Big Dadda records, was the start of a wonderful journey for me. I remember listening to the first track “Mind Made Up” and being transported into a world of jazz, chill out and trip hop, that at the time was so different to everything else i was listening to. I actually keep stopping what i am writing here as i have ‘Awkward’ on the decks and keep getting up for a cheeky scratch and trip down memory lane.
Active since the early 90s TY has always been an integral part of hiphop. From rapping, performing, hosting, producing, cameos in videos, workshops and events. He is even heavily involved in the community, his native Brixton is, i am sure a lot different from the Brixton TY grew up in. I haven’t been to Brixton for 6 months, i am sure it’s different to what i even remember. Regardless TY is a huge force in the community always championing events, record stores and more, which is rare nowadays.
In my own words and the words of many others TY truly is a legend. He is also a very humble, honest, self aware person, who is a pleasure to interact with be it on social media, in person, to listen to on your headphones, or to see live! As a live performer one word instantly comes to mind “outstanding”. I first saw TY live at the Jazz Cafe in Camden, my first time at the Jazz Cafe when i had first moved to London. TY had a full live band and was promoting his third studio album ‘Closer’. His energy as he worked through tracks from ‘Closer’ then through his back catalogue, was second to none and is still one of my most memorable shows.
With four albums under his belt and an EP, TY has a unique, varied and artistic arsenal at his command. ‘Awkward’ the second album from TY was nominated for a Mercury Prize Award, Franz Ferdinand won the Mercury that year. It was still a huge moment for hiphop and for TY to be nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in music.
With his third album ‘Closer’, one of my personal fav albums from TY. He had some high class guest spots including: De La Soul, Bhamadia and Zion 1. Another jazzy, soulful, left field journey into hiphop through the eyes of one of the greatest to ever do it. I personally think that TY as an artist is too creative, talented and expressive to be put into just the hiphop bracket. Its hard to say with any conviction which genre i would personally put TY in, a fusion of hiphop, jazz, soul, trip hop, world sounds. Does such a genre even exist?
Not only a talented Mc, performer, host, community activist etc. TY also hosts various radio shows across the capital including a show on recently re launched ‘Pyro’ radio and ‘Soho Radio’. With a voice thats deep, soulful and smooth, i don’t really mind what TY is playing on radio or saying on tracks. His voice is one of the most interesting in hiphop, period, a voice that never becomes tiresome.
To date TY has collaborated with everyone from Funky DL, De La Soul, The Nextmen, DJ Friction and countless others. As well as tearing down festivals, clubs and shows across the world.
I have had the pleasure of meeting TY a few times at Itch Fm during my time with the station. I also did a special take over show with TY, hijacking the airwaves, for two hours. If you ever meet TY you will be bowed over by how one man with such an epic legacy can be so humble.
If you follow TY on any of his social media platforms, you will know he holds no punches back. His posts are honest, heartfelt, blunt but above all else concise with the world we live in. Music, politics, human rights and more TY isn’t just an empty Mc. A true globe trotting, hiphop warrior with over 25 years in the game and still going strong. If anyone was ever more worthy of the title ‘Industry Master’..
He has a new album due very soon.. Follow TY on FB, Twitter for more.