Ty Showcase and Q&A

  • Chinwe Ojielo
The British Music Experience played host to UK rapper Ty’s album showcase and Q&A for his fourth album A Special Kind Of Fool. On paper, everything about this set up made marketing sense. You had the great location, a great artist and fans were given the opportunity to get up close and personal to ask Ty anything they wanted. If you weren’t one of the lucky few in attendance, the event was streamed live and you could tweet your questions. It definitely was a night well planned, that is until we met the chair of the Q&A and Ty’s interviewer.
Leading up to his opening question, said interviewer revealed to Ty, the audience and to the world that he wasn’t really into hip-hop. I’m sorry. Did we hear correctly? How can you chair a Q&A with a hip-hop artist if you are not overly concerned with the genre itself? It was a bombshell, but we gave him a chance. He may not be into hip-hop, but he’s into Ty right? Erm, not really. He went on to say that he only listened to A Special Kind Of Fool a couple of weeks ago, no doubt in preparation for this event, but not enough preparation as his lack of knowledge on Ty made for the simplest of questions, meaning that the audience were not always able to delve much into Ty’s wisdom.
On some of the audience, the importance of Ty’s presence was lost. For example, when the floor was opened to the audience, one budding young actor for some reason mistook Ty for an agony uncle and asked: ‘do you think I should continue acting?’ Yes just like that, with no link as to how his question connected to anything to do with music or what had been said before. Amid the laughter that ensued amongst the rest of the audience, Ty gave his advice and then thanked the guy for the unexpected comedy section to the evening.
Another question came from a guy wanting to know how Ty felt about having dancers in his video, before later revealing that he was sitting with members of his dance troupe and cheekily asked about the possibility of them appearing in Ty’s next video. Obviously this guy and his peers had not seen the accompanying video to Ty’s lead single Emotions, which boasts plenty of dancers. Taking it all in his stride, Ty kindly let the dancers come in front of the cameras and bust a few moves while he performed key tracks from his album.
Such was the randomness of the behaviour of some of the audience that it was an evening in which you felt that anything could happen and it did. The late finish proved a bit much for one young fan who let out a massive and I mean massive yawn much to the amusement of Ty and everyone else. Despite the randomness of some of the questions, the night garnered insightful answers. When asked to comment on whether hip-hop music is responsible for the unruly behaviour of some young people, Ty responded with a resounding yes, but also stated that hip-hop can be a positive thing too. On his reasons for leaving his last label, a frank and open Ty said that among the reasons was due to him being limited creatively in regards to who he could work with.
If some of the planning that went into selecting the venue and orchestrating the online media activities had gone into selecting a more suitable chairperson, (why he left it to the audience to ask Ty about the image sat between himself and Ty (an African sculpture of Ty which coincidently is his album cover) still baffles) and also on an audience of diehard fans, the night would have achieved more. That being said, Ty did impress with his willingness to respond with honesty, however random or loaded the question.

A Special Kind Of Fool

We’re used to Ty being in front of the microphone but it’s only on this, his fourth album on his new label (BBE) that Ty shows us that he is also a talented producer as well. There’s a lot of live instrumentation and Ty celebrates this by letting the production run and run and run, long after he’s finished spitting. Oh and his bars and flow are still on point as ever e.g. Little Star, Something Big, Emotions. On the album you’ll hear a featured guest for each track, for instance Soweto Kinch, Shaun Escoffery, Terri Walker and Sway, but the guests aren’t there just for the sake of it. Each track is a clear hip-hop banger, sounding different from what sits beside it. They are so strong in fact, that any of them could be singles. You know those guys who stand by the wall watching everyone else dance in the club, thinking they’re too cool for school? Well this album’s gonna change that.