posted August 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM CDT | 9 comments

Born in Kankakee, IL, raised in L.A. since his teens, TiRon brings an influences from both cities to create his laid back vibe. With frequent collaborations with the likes of Pacific Division and Ayomari, TiRon has already been clearing his own rightful path in the L.A. Hip Hop scene and beyond. His infectiously funny track “Wingman,” pays homage to "taking one for the team," while tracks like “Throwin’ my Money” [click to listen] speak to the materialist in us all. And it’s that identifiable “realness” that makes TiRon a frequent favorite of blogs across the Internet, as well as our choice for DXnext this week.

90% of rappers have the worst self esteem in the world,TiRon tells DX, “That’s why they always talk about ‘me, me, me, I, I, I’ and all this braggadocios shit.” But TiRon takes a different route. Taking cues from various musical influences, mixed with the humility from humble beginnings, this true lyricist brings fresh sound to a stagnant industry. He’s currently working on his yet-to-be-titled album [due out by year’s end], a slew of mixtape appearances including the official mixtape for TheExactly.net, and Pacific Division’s Summer League Tryouts mixtape.

This may be the first time you’re hearing of TiRon…but, trust us, it won’t be the last.

On Living in One of The “Worst Cities in The Country”:That environment was crazy as hell. When you’re a kid, you don’t really pay attention to it. It kinda goes over your head. The only thing that affected me was seeing my father do crazy things like pawning our CD players and bikes…I didn’t understand drug addiction [as a child]. Now, if anything, I think it’s shaped the way I act and speak to others. I try to understand the needs of people. I pay attention to my surroundings a bit more.

Influences:I grew up listening to the stuff my mom listened to: Stevie Wonder, The Staple Singers, Anita Baker, Luther Vandross…then I got older and didn’t wanna be a mama’s boy. [Laughs] I started kickin' it with my cousins and my homeboys and listenin’ to some gangsta shit. Psychodrama, DJ Quik …me and [the guys from Pacific Division] [click to read] were huge Dilla heads too. I mean, we would stay up till 5 am on Kazaa and LimeWire because people overseas might have some Dilla shit we didn’t have yet. [Laughs]

On Defining His Sound:
I wouldn’t wanna define my sound. What kind of definition could I give that hasn’t already been said? That would ultimately make [my definition] a cliché. I just wanna make music and let it be whatever it is.

On Not Being Signed To A Label Yet:I have a better head on my shoulders than I did yesterday. So it’s a blessing to be able to sit back and soak up as much energy and game as possible. But the bad thing is that [all rappers] have lack of self-esteem moments when you think you’re not good enough. It’s a mental war. You have to ask yourself, 'Would you rather be broke doing something you love, or rich doing something you hate?' But the grass is always greener on the other side. I want more, just as much as Kanye [West] probably wants more; and he’s on top of the world right now.

On Playing The “Wingman”:I don’t wanna knock nobody. I ain't saying I'm the best lookin’ dude out here…but, shit, at least I’m interesting! [Laughs] At least I can hold a decent conversation. We’ve all taken one for the team before. And some of us have taken one for the team so bad that we don’t EVER want it mentioned. [Laughs] ‘Cause I've taken some L’s. I've taken some serious losses…some [Celtics] vs. Lakers moments. [Laughs] But I got more wins than losses; don’t get it twisted.”

For more info and music on TiRon, visit his MySpace [click to view].

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