Rating: 8 / 10
Ty. This year?
If the Mercury Music Prize is the symbol of individual success on these shores, then Ty’s latest offering should be odds on to take it. Third album deep and the evolution continues. From the start with 2001’s “Awkward”, Ty displayed the dichotomy that hip hop has always needed. If you only check for the likes of Styles P and Mobb Deep then the chances are you’ve slept on this British artist, heavy with a reputation for impressive live showing. And he’s probably not to your style anyway.
A style which is playful, positive and eclectic, past offerings displayed humourous storytelling and experimental wordplay. “Closer” listens like a soulful playground with plenty of funky choruses decorating the walls. Opening track ‘Dont Watch That (Knickers,Y-Fronts and Jockstraps)’ is a nice start. A bassline reminicent of Amerie’s ‘One Thing’, Ty talks on people in his business and the bother it brings. The chorus?
“People in your business love to just chat,
All up in yer knickers y-fronts and jockstaps.”
Arrested Development’s Speech drops a verse on ‘This Here Music’, a sythn laiden song, soulfully accompanied throughout with BV’s from Vula, who features nicely on several tracks. Its nice to hear from AD’s frontman again but not exactly a necessity to the tune as the production is so strong. De La Soul however do what they do best and take over the show on ‘The Idea’. Pos sounds at home with Ty’s playful wordplay style in particular.
The pace picks up on ‘What You Want (Taylormade)’ with a faster tempo of beats and rhyming. A return to soulful jazzy hiphop, trumpets, horns, trombone, sax supplied by Jason and the Angrynotes plus beatboxing from the excellent Taylor McFerrin. Another guest features on the first single release and album title track, ‘Closer’ – this time De La’s Maceo does his shouting thing on the chorus. Huge shoutouts to the album’s production team of Drew and Ty himself. A beautiful song from start to end. A driving french horn and chorus that will be a MUST to hear live. Ty rhymes on the state of a now-struggling hiphop and from a personal point of view.
“the culture’s under attack and thats no theory,
rap is trapped and thats so scary,
just sex no message no ex
teach the youts to think thats whats fresh
for you to have a mind means no success…
..if the grass seems greener then check yer contacts
im tryina spring clean an’ then check for phonetaps
i never had a full deck of cards so chill
im tryina get by not driveby to kill it aint nothing to stay fresh
and taste rotten, im tryina sell farms and not just pick cotton”
Peep this single for an exact taste of what Ty is about. Highpoints remain throughout. Bahamadia is always a pleasure to hear, featured on the electronic ‘Oh!’ as is the taste of spoken word at the start of ‘Hustle (Thats Why We?)’. Ty is an individual who thankfully hasnt changed his style – just grown up a little… an artist who still offers his playful wordplay alongside some soulful music to be played and played and played.
Ty, this year? Who cares, Ty, thank you.