“A dextrous artist who wove threads of UK rap culture together” – The Guardian
Ben Chijioke, better known as British rapper Ty, signed to Tru Thoughts in 2013 to begin the next stage in a remarkable career with the release of three-part EP series ‘Kick Snare & An Idea’ pt. 1, 2 & 3. With a reputation built on his original style and refusal to hop on any industry bandwagon, Ty was best known for his lyrical frankness and honest portrayals of everyday life, setting him aside from many mainstream hip hop acts and allowing him complete artistic independence. This led to the release of five successful albums and a Mercury Prize nomination, among many high-profile plaudits across his career.
After gaining notoriety on the London underground scene Ty signed to Big Dada records in 2001, the same year his mighty debut album ‘Awkward’ was released. The union between the artist and label saw a further two albums – 2003’s Mercury-nominated ‘Upwards’ and ‘Closer’ (2006) – released over five years. His fourth solo album, ‘Special Kind of Fool’, was released in 2010 via BBE Records, and fifth ‘A Work of Heart’ in 2018 on Jazz re:freshed. In 2019 Ty joined fellow UK hip-hop heavyweights Rodney P & Blak Twang in forming the supergroup KINGDEM. The trio released an EP on Tru Thoughts and performed on Charlie Sloth’s legendry ‘Fire in the Booth’.
Ty had featured and collaborated with many artists stretching the globe, from afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, Roots Manuva, De La Soul, Ezra Collective, a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse – the list of creative affiliations was endless. A lifelong love of hip hop saw the honest speaking South Londoner gain skills in sound engineering and producing, the latter leading to work with Scratch Perverts, Talib Kweli, Blak Twang and Arrested Development. Ty is also known for his work as a spoken word artist. Working with the British Council, Ty performed and hosted workshops, which culminated in the conclusion of a 35-year halt on international performers in the Sudanese town of Port Sudan.
As well as this, his spoken word efforts saw Ty put in performances at The Big Chill Festival and The Royal Albert Hall. Alongside his work with the British Council Ty is also a member of The HipHop Shakespeare Company, running workshops with young people, showing the influences and works of Shakespeare in today’s music scene.
“Something about Ty’s voice and flow is so deep and hopeful. One of the UK’s greats.” – Zane Lowe (Radio 1)
“He makes mainstream American hip hop sound as formulaic and vacuous as it really is” – The Times – 4/5
“As accessible as hip hop gets – a Sunday stroll of an album on which his conversational and precisely enunciated flow rests lightly atop his mellow space funk, nu-soul and broken jazz beat productions.” – Independent on Sunday – 4/5
“Mellow, deep and highly accessible, Ty reinstates himself as the UK’s most well-rounded rap don” – DJ MagRead more
“Something about Ty’s voice and flow is so deep and hopeful. One of the UK’s greats.”
“He makes mainstream American hip hop sound as formulaic and vacuous as it really is”
“As accessible as hip hop gets – a Sunday stroll of an album on which his conversational and precisely enunciated flow rests lightly atop his mellow space funk, nu-soul and broken jazz beat productions.”
“Mellow, deep and highly accessible, Ty reinstates himself as the UK’s most well-rounded rap don”