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Ty Brasel was born in Memphis, TN, where he grew up at the intersection of East Memphis & Olive Branch, MS. This area, referred to by locals as “Memphissippi,” is where Ty first recognized his passion for music. As a kid, Ty found his role models within hip-hop and the music became the backdrop to his story.
“As I️ got older and started attending rap shows and learning about the history of hip-hop, I️ fell in love with the art and the culture,” Ty shares. Ty’s teenage years coincided with the global explosion of southern rap. “I️ was surrounded by rappers, singers, & producers who were seeing local & national success, which inspired me to take the chance of pursuing music as a career.” Although Ty felt a calling to music, he was initially more focused on sports and a desire to become a professional athlete. That dream slowly started to fade after he was introduced to drugs.
Ty’s upbringing in the “Bible belt” had him well acquainted with religion and church at a young age. However, Ty chose a path that lead him down a road of substance abuse and crime. “In my early years, I️ dealt with some serious family issues that left me traumatized, so when I️ got to high school, I️ began to numb the pain with drugs. I️ began selling & using drugs and ventured deep into this dangerous lifestyle as a means to search for identity,” he says.
After an encounter with God following his senior year of high school, Ty decided to change his ways and began a new spiritual journey. He enrolled into college at Ole Miss and started a hip-hop group with a fried. Ty quickly found himself reacquainted with substance abuse and illegal activity. Ty’s growth as a musician was overshadowed by his destructive lifestyle. Ty gained significant notoriety on campus, but was arrested four times during his freshman year.
“If I keep going down this path, I’m going to ruin my life,” he remembers thinking in a jail cell. “I wanna thrive, I wanna live life.” Ty dropped out of college after his third semester with no money and no plan. He knew that if he wanted to succeed in music, his lifestyle needed a drastic change. “I decided to go back to my childhood church roots and began to find my true identity for the first time,” Ty states.
Ty slowly began to regain his passion for life and wanted to help others do the same through hip-hop music. His personal brokenness and struggle didn’t change overnight, but a renewed connection with God ignited Ty’s desire to make honest, conscious hip-hop that contrasted the destructive themes he previously portrayed in his music.
His style, as showcased on 2017’s “Young T,” draws inspiration from the southern style of rap he was raised with, as well as influences like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, and Post Malone. His musical tastes are eclectic, like the soundtracks to long road trips with his father when he was young. “He would go from Run DMC to Johnny Cash & everything in-between,” Brasel says. “That’s when I came to the understanding that good art is good art."
Ty’s songs are often aimed at people in the down cycles of life, and in his lyrics, the theme of overcoming life struggles and personal demons is ever present. The notion that while there may be storms within, peace and hope are attainable.
Ty has released multiple projects & seen success with many of his singles, including “Praying Hands,” along with the accompanying music and lyric video. Ty’s music aims to break boundaries within hip-hop by making great music with a message of hope.
He explains: “As I become more aware of my own heart and mind, dealing with my issues, I turn that into lyrics. So many of the songs on this new project have come out of me facing my problems head on and reaching out when everything in me wants to turn away. We can overcome even the worst of adversities. That is the message I want out there.”
Ty’s label debut album, “Destined for Greatness,” will be releasing this year in two parts, Side A & Side B, with the former releasing on March 30, 2018 through independent hip-hop label, IVAV (4Against5), an imprint of Curb Records, with tracks and videos to follow.