t.y.e.

From Oak Cliff to the world, Dallas’ T.Y.E. can code-switch in both worlds.

The backstory of T.Y.E., the 22-year-old Dallas native by way of Oak Cliff shocked the Good Culture Podcast on Saturday. T.Y.E., manicured Afro and big eyed smile revealed that his escape from the gang life surrounding Carter High School was the opera. That Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys & Mozart influenced his most recent work and songwriting. His drawl? Still Oak Cliff, still resigned to Dallas.

What the interview on Saturday didn’t reveal were the darker aspects of his ascent. The “La La Land” rapper has made a claim to being the next solo rapper out of the 232 but it came via awkward ground. T.Y.E. is bipolar. He won’t readily reveal the information if you ask him but as you dive deeper into his time at Abilene Christian University or watch the “La La Land” video, you get small hints of it. Volunteering a diagnosis is a victory for mental health in the black community. For T.Y.E., its a dash towards freedom and understanding.

“I started showing symptoms in the seventh grade,” he told Pigeons & Planes last December. “I was angry all the time for no reason. I didn’t even know what was happening because in the black community there’s no such thing as a mental disorder. It’s either you’re strong or your weak.”

Finding a balance in colors is what will draw viewers to “La La Land”. The track, christened by our friends at Central Track as the best Dallas rap song of 2016 has two pieces to it.

“It’s either you strong or you’re weak.”

The first features a washed out T.Y.E. amongst various hues of green and yellow. As if his normal is on a different part to the gray scale than anything else. There he displays the vocal chops that earned him an opera scholarship to ACU, a West Texas outpost that is far more in line with the America you try to escape rather than the home you embrace.

The song casually drifts from building upon that massive chorus and descends into Oak Cliff madness. Fiery raps that rip like buckshot at close range; pistol play and paranoia wrapped under the idea of brute masculinity. Anyone from the Cliff will tell you that there’s gentrifiers attempting to make it look sparkling clean. Anyone from the Cliff will also tell you that it still isn’t a place that routinely opens up about the mental aspects of horror and disability.

T.Y.E.’s rabidness makes him an easy to love artist. The sweeping distinctions and the close to the heart feel of being so damn Dallas for starters. It’s why he’s got a deal in place with Passion of the Weiss’ POW Recordings to release his debut album. The “Dimes” video? NSFW as hell. “Kokaine”, his latest single, is a far more fun odyssey to twist around than “La La Land” though with a video that leads off paying homage to Pulp Fiction and results with T.Y.E getting the upper hand. Of note, you can’t really be from Dallas and make a song about nose candy without a Michael Irvin reference.

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