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Memphis rapper Tyke T claps back at racial injustice

Photo Credit: Gregory Taylor

Photo credit: Gregory Taylor

Rapper Tyrone “Tyke T” Stroble recently released a socially conscious single, “This Can’t Be Life.” The song focuses on the injustices faced by minorities in today’s society.The brother of Core DJ Ron C, Tyke T’s music has been featured on VH1 and MTV. The scholarly rapper received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University shortly before his transition to Memphis, Tennessee.

Read what he has to say.

When did you know that being a musician was your calling?

My brother, who is a DJ, would bring in all kinds of music. I remember when I was 10 or 11, I was listening to Celly Cel’s “It’s Goin’ Down Tonight” song. I wrote my first rhyme to that, and ever since then I have been hooked!

Describe three other occupations you’ve held.

I’ve had so many jobs man growing up. I was a cashier at Dollar General, which we all later got fired, because the manager was allowing us to take so much stuff home at the end of the night (long story) … Krystal’s, McDonald’s, Popeye’s for a day (another long story).

After college though, all of my jobs have consisted in Sales. I have my MBA in marketing, so everything that I’ve done that does not consist of music revolves around sales.

What inspires you to perform?

I love the science of performing man. That rush, nervousness, butterflies, all of that energy right before you go on stage is such an indescribable feeling. I also love the challenge that comes with performing as a new artist. Like it’s my job to make sure that after I leave this stage you want to know more about me! And what’s the name of that song you just performed. I love that about performing.

What instruments, if any, do you play?

None. When I was in the sixth grade I played the clarinet, but I gave that up pretty fast. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would for sure learn the piano.

How would you describe your music?

Relatable. I would call myself the “People’s Rapper.” Like once you hear my music you can say to yourself, “Damn … that’s true.” … Or “man, bruh just like me, some days I hate going to my job too.”

When you are on stage what do you want to convey about your style?

Energetic, crowd participation, engaged from beginning to end with the fans

Name three musicians who have influenced your approach to being a musician?

Drake, Graduation album Kanye and way too many people condense down into one for the third one.

(Press play to listen to Tyke T’s single “This Can’t Be Life”)

Describe your creative process from concept to complete song.

Lately I’ve just been voice memo-ing my freestyles. I love this new style. It feels like I have taken off all restraints that come when writing a song. I used to sit down and go (1st verse, chorus, 2nd verse, and chorus…blah blah). But by doing this I was putting way to many limits on myself & not allowing the creativity to take over. I feel so free now when recording. From that I’ll go back and pick what parts I might actually want to take into a full song and that’s how my music is being created now. I love it.

How do you select your creative music partners to fashion your musical voice.

One of my strengths is bringing out the best in artists, I think. Like I feel like I can see the talent in you, and mold it to fit the needs of whatever record that I have for you. I only want to tap into whatever your strengths are as an artist, because if we are working together I want you to shine just as much as I do on the record. It’s not about me, it’s about the musical integrity! I don’t care if you have a fan base of 2 people or 2 million, if you fit the record, you fit the record and let’s go!

What advice would you give anyone preparing to enter the music business about publishing and management?

Google. There are no more excuses. Information is readily available these days! Educate yourself before you sign anything.

If you were going to sing for any famous person as a celebration of what they have done for humanity, who would it be? President Barack Obama. He legitimized any person of color actually being able to believe that they could be the president. Like I feel before Barack, people would tell little Black boys and girls that “You can be the president of the U.S. if you work hard,” but I’m not sure how much they believed it — because it never happened before. Now you know it can happen!

What are the effects to society that you would like the results of listening to your music to be?

Specifically for “This Can’t Be Life” I’m hoping to continue conversation and awareness. Like discussing these type of issues are hard. They are not easy topics, but the only way to bring awareness to what’s been happening and how things have been is to keep the dialogue going. Denying that there is a problem, makes you apart of the problem. We just got to keep striving to be better.

If you could go outside the USA to write and produce music what country would you choose and why?

Definitely Jamaica. That Reggae sound is amazing. The energy feels so authentic.

What do you like the most about being musician?

Freedom and Creativity to say and create what you want. Almost in no other field, do you have that. I love it!

What producers are you looking forward to working with soon?

To be honest, I don’t have a list of producers that I’m aiming to work with. To me it doesn’t matter who makes the track, if it’s a dope beat, then I’ll use it. That’s really how I am when it comes to picking records. But of course I wouldn’t mind working with the guys that have & are currently killing the game you know. Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Pharrell, Lil Jon, Metro Boomin, Mike Will, Kanye, DJ Mustard. I mean the list can go on and on

Name three musician you would like to record with that are hit makers?

Drake, Kanye and Master P…I wanted to be a No Limit Solider all my life man.

If you could make a duet with someone who would it be and why?

I can’t narrow this one down. I can tell you it would be an artist from the ’90s R&B. I can’t say which one, because I love them all  … but def someone from that time period. That music is timeless. I’m a huge fan of that whole era!

What musical awards have you aspired to receive and it happened?

So in Memphis, they have something that is called the K97FM “Next Big Thing” contest. The first year I went out for it, I didn’t even make the cut to have your music voted on. So I was determined to be sure that the next time the contest came around, that I would win it. Sure enough the next year came and not only did I make the “cut”. I won the whole contest!

What musical achievements have you yet to obtain?

Hearing my music in a movie. I think that has to be an awesome feeling hearing something that you created in a movie. I want that and I’m going to find a way to get it done.

Finish the sentences:

When I hit the stage I feel Like a family member who has been away for a couple of years, but finally comes home. What I mean by this is, we’ve all had relatives who you haven’t seen in years and then they pop back up right? It normally takes a little while for them to assimilate back in, but after a while everything is smooth and back to normal. That’s how it is with me on stage. At first there is always a nervousness/butterfly feeling, but after about 30 seconds back on the stage I feel right back at home.

When the crowd is responding to my music I know … That I’m using my gift the way GOD has planned for it to be used.

I appreciate my fans becauseWithout them I’m nothing. There is no way that I can go anywhere in the music industry without them, and I am always so appreciative of them and their support for me and my music.

Music is my calling … And I know without a doubt this is what I was put on this earth to do. It’s my job to cultivate a fan base, so I can spread my brand around the world.

My method of studying music is Listening to old music, no matter what genre, and see in what ways I can incorporate it within my music. I love paying homage to the people that have done this before me.

When you find my music I want you to … Feel like you just listened to a human. Not a robot. A human being, who has various emotions just like you do. You might hear one song where I’m extremely happy so we about to go and turn up, but then you might hear one where I’m telling you about my fight with racism, or then you might hear me talk about being motivated because of all of the doubters…I’m a human, and my emotions are not one way, so I speak to that. But I think that’s what the beautiful thing about people, we are all different and composed of various emotions and that’s what my music reflects.

Name your favorite two books.

Anything with coach John Wooden. His Pyramid to Success is dope and lately I’ve been reading the Strength Finder. Always looking to become better and identifying my strengths and weaknesses is key.