REVIEW: Ty – Special Kind Of Fool
With his first full album since 2006, Ty is back with Special Kind Of Fool, out right now on BBE Records. Long revered among UK hip-hop circles and beyond, Ty is some what of a legend to those familiar with his work. The roll call of people who have worked with Ty, and also people who have lauded him, is longer than the Thames, but nine years after his first album dropped, where has Ty’s journey brought him?
Special Kind Of Fool spans just over an hour of diverse and soulful hip-hop productions featuring contributions from talented artists like; Soweto Kinch, Carroll Thompson, Sarina Leah, Shaun Escoffery, Vula Malinga, Terri Walker and Erik Rico. One thing that has always made Ty stand out, apart from his impressive flow, is the angle of his music. It goes beyond simply being labelled hip-hop – but I think this is something that has always run deep within Ty and his music, he’s passionate about ‘music’ and it shines through in his own creations, particularly this latest one.
01. Don’t Cry feat. Corey Mwamba
02. Wait feat. Leo Ihenacho & Soweto Kinch
03. Heart Is Breaking feat. Sway & Roses Gabor
04. Little Star feat. Wreh-Asha
05. Something Big feat. Carroll Thompson
06. Emotions feat. Sarina Leah & Shaun Escoffery
07. Phantom Of The Opera feat. Anthony Mills
08. Get To The Sky feat. Vula Malinga & Terri Walker
09. Happiness feat. Vula Malinga
10. I’m Leaving feat. Anthony Mills
11. ME feat. Erik Rico
12. I Get Up feat. D-Cross
13. Falling feat. Shaun Escoffery & Finn Peters
14. Special Kind Of Fool feat. Erik Rico
15. Endtro feat. Leo Ihenacho & Robin Mullarkey
As the above tracklisting suggests, there are a lot of guest appearances on this album, but each one is paired beautifully. Nothing is out of place or unnecessary with the collaborations. From bangers like Don’t Cry, Wait, and Heart Is Breaking, to deeper numbers such as Happiness, I’m Leaving and Special Kind Of Fool, each track is brimming with soul and feeling. It’s this blend of soul with hip-hop beats that has become synonymous with Ty’s quality – although it’s never as easy as just pairing vibes to create a masterpiece, the utmost credit has to be given with regards to the overall production qualities and the construction of the songs. This strikes me as an album that will be loved more and more with each and every listen, and I’m in no doubt that it is the quality and subtle intricacies that add fuel to this claim.
In the opening paragraph I asked where Ty’s journey had brought him. I think it’s a continued musical evolution where the main constant is consistent quality. From tight instrumentation to fresh verses, his sound remains relevant. Particularly from a UK stand-point, I don’t know if there are many who come close to his level of emceeing. Brutally honest lyrics delivered with a flow and voice as solid as oak, yet smooth as silk – it’s hard hitting but aurally pleasing. Ultimately, Special Kind Of Fool will appeal to a broad spectrum of music lovers. The beats are present and come correct, the vocals are on point and the music is the most soulful you’re likely to hear this year. It is said that success breeds success, and in the same vein I guess quality attracts quality, because the guests on the album are of the highest calibre. Some voices more familiar than others, but nevertheless they’re all fantastic singers in their own right and place firmly their own respective stamps on each track. What’s not to like?
I’d recommend that everyone and anyone take the time to check this album out. You can buy it on multiple formats via the BBE website, plus at the moment you can grab a Waajeed remix of Emotions, which was the first single to drop from the album, for free at Ty’s Bandcamp page.
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