Tyrese aka "Black Ty": Allow Me To Re-invent Myself

posted September 06, 2006 12:00:00 AM CDT | 4 comments

Normally we raise our brows, well at least one when we hear about rappers turning to the Silver Screen. When an actor decides to take his shot at rapping eyes often look to heaven and heads shake because not to be a pessimist, it doesnt often pan out how it is expected. We watched Tyrese Gibson star alongside Snoop Dog in Baby Boy, we see him headline the movie which brought The Game to the big screen at movie theatres right now, Waist Deep and now thanks to nods of approval from these connoisseurs of Hip-Hop Tyrese is confident in his next project, rapping.

When his first mixtape hit the streets and the hands of guests at the recent BET Awards, people actually gave Black Ty a listen and many were pleasantly surprised by their curiosity. So when you see names like Daz and Too Short jumping on a track with him for his forthcoming album, Alter-Ego, you know there has to be something special about him and his ability to garner credibility in the Rap field.

With a multi-media enterprise, Headquarter Entertainment to head up, Tyrese definitely has his plate full. But direction for Black Ty shouldnt be too hard now he has the experienced persona of Chris Lighty on board in molding and shaping the movement of his new personality. Read what Tyrese has to say about who has paved the way for him and this transition, his take on music coming out of the West and just what other projects he is involved in.

How important and how hard has it been for you to re-create yourself as a Hip-Hop personality?

Its one of them things where you kind of have a concept in your head, you know at first God sends you a message at the time that the time is now, so you have to do whatever you have to do to live out that part that is in your brain and that is all that I have done. I know so many rappers and I have known rappers for so many years and I know they have a respect for me as one of the homies because I sing and then my energy, I am from Watts, everything about my energy is an R&B singer, but they dont look at me as being soft. Its always been a respect that I have for them mutually and now it is me making a phone call, like now its a case of I make a phone call and tell them I made a track with their man and I come through and I play it and they jump on it every time. Now I am getting phone calls from people who are wanting me to rhyme on their albums, which is so crazy, they are talking about this like let me do something with him now before it gets crazy, I had Tank the singer come at me about rapping on the beginning and the end of his new single.

All the names that are co-signing you, Game, I mean you guys obviously worked on Waist Deep together, but Snoop and Method Man, this is obviously great encouragement.

Yeah I am honored as they dont have to do it. It is one of those situations where I know what Hip-Hop is and to me it is like the dope game, everyone is trying to get money of the same corner and if anyone tries to jump on the same corner they are going to do what they need to do to get rid of them so I mean you ever heard of a dope man complimenting another dope man? How much money he is making five blocks over, because everyone is in competition with each other. For me for rappers to be able to talk about me and what they think about it and go public about I am honored. It is one thing to be speaking up on myself but nah, they are speaking up on me and that makes my whole movement more of a breeze for me.

How long have you aspired to break out as a rapper? I mean is this something you always hoped to do, when time allowed?

I have been rhyming longer than I have been singing. I used to be in a rap group called Federal Impact. So it was one of those things where you messing around, having fun with it and you know I have never been one to question the order of Gods blessings, you dont really know which opportunity is going to come first and I am just going to take what does and be thankful. The singing came first and I put out three albums and now it is time for Black Ty.

Why did you go with Black Ty?

I dont know, it just resonated with me. You know I didnt want to go with something too far to the left, I am black as hell and my first two initials is TY (laughing).

So there was no creative thought involved really there (laughing.)

No not really.(laughing)

Have you ever felt out of your depth though when it comes to you the rapper as we have see you have a successful singing career and an amazing resume as an actor. Or do you think there is a wide open lane for you?

When you really think about the temperature of Hip-Hop right now. There is a lot of rappers that are singing their own hooks, right now Nelly is basically singing with Janet Jackson on her first single, he is rapping but also singing, the thing is if they are in my lane why cant I be in that lane, why cant I jump over there and have some fun. Lauryn Hill, she was the first singer/rapper/actor, why cant I be like that. Mary J Blige is out rhyming on everyone elses album and getting away with it because it works. I love it. I just told Mary at the BET Awards, Thank you for doing what you do first before I even came as you got people over that hump initially and now I am just about to go ahead and hit a home run. You know she pitched the ball and I am going to go ahead and hit it out of the ballpark.

Being from the West, what do you plan on bringing to the table to rep your coast, as the West has taken some slamming from critics which obviously all stems for the Southern Invasion?

The West coast is popping right now, this is where it is at. I am here I am on the West Coast, and I disagree. There are a lot of albums coming out that people are really looking forward to, you have Snoop and then you have The Game, Dre is putting his together, Detox, you got Bishop Lamont and Glasses Malone. A lot of cats coming out of Watts and there is a lot going on in Hip-Hop and of course everyone is waiting on Black Ty (laughing,) all these people wondering what I am doing, what is going to happen with this singing cat? I got everybody everyone curious.

But having sparked that curiosity has to be a good thing?

Yeah its like you got all these rappers thinking what is going on, is he really doing something, let me hear something.

So you just sitting back and rubbing your hands deliberating?

I am not even rubbing my hands, I am just sitting back like, look it is going to happen but if my album never sees the light of day, oh my god, I have done so much in my little short time. I just did a record the other day with Too Short, Snoop and Kurupt all on one record called Get Low and I just did another one with David Banner and I have Ludacris, he is on his way to do one tonight and it really is stupid right now. I just cant ever believe that this is happening this fast.

I know you have brought Chris Lighty on board, are you signed to Violator Management?

I dont really want to speak on it. Chris Lighty is a part of the movement, that is all I will say on that.

No exclusives for me?

(laughing) He is a part of the movement; he is a believer of Black Ty.

Violator represent only the best.

Yeah they have 50, Busta, Missy, the whole of G-Unit, my thing is Chris Lighty gets approached every single day, every place he goes by rappers as he knows what it is, he has been doing this for over twenty years and everyone knows exactly who that man is. So once again I am honored that little ole biddy me caught the attention of Chris Lighty on his first listen. So he will do what he has to do to be part of what is going out.

The new mixtape dropped in August, Ghetto Royalty, is that what you consider yourself?

Ghetto Royalty? Absolutely.

Any idea when your album will drop?

Yeah sometime in the fall, October, November but it will be somewhere in the fourth quarter. That is coming out on J Records.

But you have an imprint deal right with Headquarter Entertainment?

Yeah my producers have produced every record on my album and they are called The Front Line Boys, on my life these guys will be the Hip-Hop producers from this moment on.

Where are they based?

They are based out of Los Angeles.

Now Headquarter Entertainment has been classified as a multi-media enterprise, can you give us a little bit more info as to what plans you have for this company?

We are developing a female fragrance right now, we have a film division called HQ Pictures where we take little screen play writers, including myself and have them in-house, it is a full on production company. We have soundtracks we are doing, films that we are scoring, there is a lot going on. The Front Line Boys are my producers, we got song writers, we got artists, we are developing a sports division right now, you know we are going for everything. It is a one stop entertainment shop. I am looking to be the P Diddy of the West Coast.

No reason why shouldnt be, I just hope you wont buy into the shiny suit syndrome.

No... I have never been down that road, so we doing good. But it is going to be one of those things where everything has to be done in a first class manner, you know with class and tact and we are going to do business the right way. You know we arent going to get involved with all that street stuff, you know we going to keep it classy and keep it right and make sure that the streets do respect everything we are doing and just keep it moving.

The streets are important to you then?

The streets are real important to me as they dictate everything.

In terms of Alter Ego, how close to completion is that album?

Its about two songs away from being done, I still have a few R&B records to do and a couple of Hip-Hop to do.

Its a double album then?

Yeah, one whole side is R&B and the other is all Hip-Hop.

People are often quick to criticize double albums, does this bother you? I mean you are really taking chances with that.

No. Bring it on, you know you only get one shot you know people may not be speaking my name next week so I am going to go ahead and ride this out. I am in a lot of different worlds so I am always going to be doing something, you know I am always going to be doing something, you know I could put a cereal out next week, you just dont know.

What sort of cereal?

Chocolate Puff (laughing.)

Funny guy (laughing.) In terms of collaborations, listening to the names that have co-signed you I am sure many of those are on the album, would that be a good estimation?

Well I mean I am not sure what is going to make the album, but all the collaborations I have done thus far, Snoop, Game, Chingy, Mannie Fresh, Ice Cube, Kurupt, David Banner I have so many different collaborations it is crazy.

So you have worked with people from all over as West Coast artists are sometimes stigmatized for staying in their own region.

No I have worked with artists from all over.

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