Let’s be honest. Tyrese is one of the greatest voices of our generation. He’s the personification of R&B. When you listen to his music, it becomes very clear that he eats, lives and breathes music. So why is Black Rose his last album? And where is he going from here?
Tyrese has been on the scene for nearly two decades now, and like fine wine, he just keeps getting better. Black Rose, Tyrese’s latest independent project is now #1 on the charts, but surprisingly, despite his impressive body of work, Tyrese still isn’t getting the respect he deserves.
And maybe that’s what all the fuss is about.
Lately, Tyrese has been getting a lot of press…and it isn’t just about how well his album is doing. Some of the press has to do with how Tyrese feels about the music industry in general. Just today, TMZ posted a video of the singer expressing his disdain for how he’s being treated by certain (white) radio stations.
“I have an issue with mainstream radio right now. I don’t create limits for myself, so I don’t appreciate mainstream not playing my song” he told TMZ.
Some of you may not know that Tyrese’s first #1 single as a solo artist was “Stay,” or that it was #1 on Billboard for 11 consecutive weeks.
“Couldn’t get rid of the song if they tried,” he says.
Now, four years later, he has his 2nd number one single entitled “Shame,” featuring Jennifer Hudson, and it is a BANGER. Check out the video below:
“I wanted to bring back real music videos, that are like real experiences. Instead of the videos that look like “We are the World” with 15 rappers in it.”
Tyrese has reached an incredible amount of success doing everything independently. He reveals that he only has a staff of seven people helping him get things done. But even with all of his success on the music charts, he’s still bothered by the lack of airtime he’s been getting over the years.
“Everyday I just kept wondering–why is my song only being played on urban adult contemporary? It was mainly living on urban AC. Then 5 years later, we have this genius-ly talented singer named Sam Smith, from Europe. He had a song called “Stay.” Not only does he have a song called “Stay” but on his hook, on his chorus, he has a full choir. [sings song] So I’m watching all this play out. I’m not a homophobe, I don’t have a jealous bone in my body. I probably know more white people than white people. I’m not competitive. I don’t want anybody else’s hits, I just want whatever God has in mind for me. If I had sung the Sam Smith version of “Stay,” it would have not only been locked in on urban adult contemporary radio, but it would have probably been locked in on the Gospel channel, with Yolanda Adams. R&B is dying. We feel like if we don’t have 15 rappers all over our albums, our sh*t don’t get no attention, no sales, no love. Without radio, we have no power.”
“Sam Smith, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke…I’ve been knowing Justin Timberlake for over 15 years…he’s my guy. Way back to the N*Sync days. I’ve been knowing Robin Thicke for over 20 years. Back to when he was signed to Brian McKnight. I don’t know Sam Smith, but I think he’s talented as hell. So now my question is, how is it possible that when [they] sing R&B Soul, specifically…make me understand how top 40, rhythmics, cross-over pop stations are playing their songs when they sing R&B soul…AND urban radio is playing their songs. [Urban radio] spreads love. So why doesn’t it work both ways? I’m not looking to be filtered. I’m unapologetic. Most of what I’m speaking on is what people think, but they’re too afraid to say it. A lot of people may be saying it, but they may not be where I am in my career, so their voices aren’t getting heard.”
The truth is, it’s not uncommon for artists to remain mum. However, Tyrese says he knows that most artists don’t speak out for obvious reasons. No one wants to be blackballed. Tyrese on the other hand, has made it very clear that being blackballed isn’t a concern of his. He says the media is twisting his words, and painting him as the “angry Black man” who is “using the race card,” but he says it’s all a distraction from the real issues.
“I don’t have a racist bone in my body. I’m speaking facts. I’m on a mission that is much bigger than me. I’m on a mission that’s been a little uncomfortable at times.”
“I am not Superman. I don’t feel like I have a cape on. I’m not doing this for any type of antics. But, you’re not gonna see me wearing clown ass outfits and looking like a baboon. Putting on head pieces, and growing my hair, and coloring my sh*t red and yellow. I’m not into the antics of it all. If it works for some, do your thing. But you’re trying so hard to be different, you look like a clown. I’m not really lacking in the celebrity department, I’m not lacking in the media, or the press department.”
The singer goes on to say that while he may not be concerned with how others perceive him, that he is very much concerned about the state of R&B. He says it’s taken a backseat, and the record labels and media could be to blame.
“I’m concerned that Deborah Cox doesn’t have a record deal. I’m concerned that some of our favorite singers walk into these record labels, and they’re not messin’ with ’em because they’re not willing to twerk, or ‘Watch me Nae Nae.'”
While Tyrese says Black Rose will be his final solo album, he says he’s going to continue to create new music. He even mentioned the possibility of doing another TGT album. (Ladies…you ready for that?) *throws panties*
It’s no secret that Tyrese is also a pretty good actor. I mean, he’s a part of one of the biggest movie franchises in history…Fast & Furious. The singer/actor reveals on our phone call that he was also originally casted as Dr. King in the box office hit Selma. Gibson says that Lee Daniels casted him before Ava Duvernay eventually took over, casting her own actors to play the roles.
While promoting for Black Rose, Tyrese chose to take a more unconventional approach. His guerilla marketing tactics got him a lot of attention from fans. Taking to subways and local parks, Tyrese set out to promote his album on his own. Never being afraid to get hands dirty and mingle with fans, Tyrese has done a lot of things over the last month that most of us would never expect from a celebrity of his caliber.
When I asked him if he ever worried about how his methods would be perceived, he had this to say:
“Oh, not at all. Baby listen, and I say this respectfully. I…don’t have no f*cks to give. I stopped caring and being concerned about comments, thoughts, peers a long time ago. I’m a grown ass man. I know my intentions, I know who I am…I know what I’m looking to do. So at the end of the day, some of the biggest and best marketing hits went down from my Samsung phone. I never planned to get on that train and do that. I was supposed to do an interview with Rocsi Diaz on HLN. My driver said it was going to take an hour and thirty minutes in New York traffic. And I was like, ‘So we gotta get on the train.’ Nobody sat around a conference table and said, ‘You know what, you gotta go back to the streets.’ I’m already in these streets. I ain’t gotta go to back to sh*t. There is no marketing plan. It’s very simple. And doing what I did on the train actually wasn’t my idea.
According to Tyrese, a guy who was soliciting money for a surgery was the one who gave him the idea. He said the guy got everybody’s attention, told them what he needed money for, and then he walked around with a bucket. Tyrese says the guy made about $30-40 that day. Seeing how successful the guy was, Gibson says he waited for a minute, and then decided to do the same thing.
“So I was like, ‘Excuse me!’ (laughs) And that’s how it all happened.”
Speaking with Tyrese, it’s easy to tell that he’s a passionate guy. He truly is a man for the people, and he definitely loves what he does. His way of giving back, besides giving money, is sharing what he knows.
“When I die, they’ll be able to say it wasn’t just about Tyrese. But he took his success, his stage, his platform, to motivate and inspire others, and give people insight on information how they can become successful as well.”
And in an industry full of artists who could care less about who they help or who they “touch,” I think we can all agree that that’s pretty dope.
To download Black Rose, click here.
Trust me, you won’t regret it!