Ben ‘Ty’ Chijioke 1972-2020
All of us here at Tru Thoughts were very sad to hear the news of Ty’s passing. We send our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and everyone who has been affected by the news. As a big fan of Ty since buying his 12” vinyl release with Shortee Blitz and playing so much of his music out in clubs and on the radio, it was exciting when he approached us about releasing some music on Tru Thoughts. His releases on Big Dada were game-changer albums and he continued to push boundaries with his albums on BBE and Jazz re:freshed. Of course widely known as a rapper, MC and poet, he was also producing the music for most of his solo releases alongside longtime co-producer Drew Horley, which added to his uniqueness as an artist.
Working with Ty on the “Kick Snare and An Idea EP” series was a great experience. We were pleasantly surprised when a track from the EP got playlisted on BBC 6Music, showing how far his music reached. He was Hip Hop, but explored all styles and tempos of music within other genres in his releases.
Ty was full of ideas and energy when it came to his music. Ty would be inspiring and would talk a lot about concepts and ways to push everything. Ty was sometimes frustrating – and I am sure he found us frustrating at times too – but overall he had an energy about music and visuals and the art that was very positive. It was amazing to see first hand how hard Ty worked behind the scenes. Ty was on every detail, from getting the videos done on relatively small budgets, the remixes commissioned, the artwork through to the photos. Nothing was left to chance and every part was looked at and discussed. Ty would sometimes give you a look over his glasses where you never quite knew if he was about to disagree with you or agree with you… the relief I felt when he agreed with me and smiled was real. I had some great discussions about music and the music industry with Ty and he always had a fascinating perspective on these topics and a depth of knowledge about what was going on in various music scenes.
From our time working with Ty, I felt he sometimes did not pick up on how much love there was for his music out there. So many people have been paying tribute to him including De La Soul, Chuck D, Talib Kweli, ?uest Love, Idris Elba, Wiley and Ghetts, amongst many others. It feels like Durrty Goodz really picked up on that feeling with his quality tribute song to Ty: “The Real Ones”
It does feel like Ty’s passing has reminded many of us that Coronavirus is very real, and it is important for us to be safe and take care not to spread the virus, as our family, friends and colleagues can be vulnerable to it.
Ty was always supporting and talking about new and older artists within his music and radio shows too. We released music from Durrty Goodz on Tru Thoughts because Ty made the link, something he seemed to do a lot for all types of artists. Equally we were of course very excited to release the KINGDEM project of Ty, Rodney P and Blak Twang on Tru Thoughts.
He has left lots of amazing music for us and at the time of writing this we recommend checking the tribute DJ mixes from Gilles Peterson on Worldwide FM BROWNSWOOD BASEMENT WITH GILLES PETERSON: TY TRIBUTE and Mista Jam on BBC 1Xtra Rest in Peace Ty We are sure there will be plenty more tributes to check.
ITV News in the UK also paid tribute to Ty with touching interviews with Ty’s sister and Ty’s co-producer Drew: ITV News; Family pay tribute to rapper Ty
We have dedicated this week’s Unfold radio show to Ty’s music: UNFOLD : Ty tribute Including music from his albums on Big Dada, BBE and Jazz Re:freshed, some of his earlier releases with Shortee Blitz and The London All Stars, music from the KINGDEM project, a great remix of Lizz Fields Ty did with his co-producer Drew (soulful Broken Beats), his feature collaborations with Dego, The Bamboos and Terri Walker, the tribute to Ty from Durrty Goodz, a few tunes from the “Kick Snare and An Idea EP” series and game changer tracks like “Wait A Minute” and “Groovement”. Plus plenty more musical goodness.
If you are relatively new to his music we are sure you will find plenty of music out there from Ty to nourish your soul and if you know his music already you can remind yourself of how much great music he has left us with. Rest In Power Ty.
Robert Luis, May 2020