From the time he was five years old, Dallas-area rapper T.Y.E has made music his life. His Dad, Rich E Blaze, was a prominent producer who worked with the likes of Bone Thugs & Harmony and who taught him how to conduct himself in a studio environment. In high school, he took a turn toward the classical, joining the choir, singing Mozart and Beethoven, and later, earning a scholarship to Abilene Christian University because of his vocal talents.
Though he listens to and absorbs almost everything, hip-hop has always been T.Y.E’s bedrock, and as it turns out, his salvation. In 2015, T.Y.E attempted to take his own life. He was later admitted to mental institution where he discovered he was bipolar. Since receiving that diagnosis, he’s learned how to cope on the day-to-day with his anxieties and fears, and channel them into his art. The cumulative outcome of that process is his brand-new album 32, which stands as one the best rap releases of 2017.
32 is an illuminating glimpse into T.Y.E’s view of the world. You feel his pain, and root for him as he searches for love in all of its many forms. It’s sonically diverse — he created the beats himself – and lyrically ambidextrous. Ethereal ballads like “Ledbetter Lady” are stacked next to frenetic bangers like “Aliens & UFOs.” It all comes to a close with the stunning single “La La Land,” the melody for which he composed while still in a mental institution, yearning to transport to somewhere else entirely; somewhere it didn’t hurt anymore.
Last week, I had the chance to talk to T.Y.E. about his fantastic new album, his mental health struggles and what his hopes are for the future. Read our conversation below.