REVIEW: Fooling with the Cerebral Cortex: Ty’s Special Kind of Fool

by Kim Gaines

Have you ever asked a preacher, why he is a preacher? The most common response is “I was called into the ministry.” Well, UK hip hop veteran, Ty says music is his “calling” and from the sounds of it I would tend to agree. Born Ben Chijioke, Ty, blesses us with his fourth LP, Special Kind of Fool released on BBE. This LP takes a seat right on the cerebral cortex, with its conscious lyrics and melodic collaborations from Erik Rico, Vula Malinga, Terri Walker and Shaun Escoffery.

If you are familiar with Ty’s previous LP’s Closer and Upwards you will note that Special Kind of Fool takes a different path from the party rockers, like Oh with Bahamadia and Wait a Minute, that you may be use to. This LP boasts of a more mature and introspective man with a lot to say. The beats, comedic wizardry and clever quips are definitely still intact but this is not a regular party album. Head nodding is a given, but thought is required.

Tracks like I’m Leaving, a lyrical lament to friends and family, who have passed on speaks on being grateful of loved ones every moment while they are here on earth. Because “…tomorrow is not promised to none of us”.

The current single “Emotions” is one track that may cause an up-rock on the dance floor but is still laced with thought provoking lyrics.

Somebody douse the flame

It’s like were screaming fire but the truck never came

This music use ta reflect the joy and the pain

But now we’re just some passive corporate toy in the game

Reminiscent of an era of hip hop that was more than just partying , Ty injects politics, passion and humor into his music.

Empty minded rhetoric is a bore.

The title track featuring Erik Rico (sultry, sessiness) takes us to chuch (please note, that is c-h-U-C-H without the r-rah). Equip with the tambourine and sway, we learn of Ty’s style and journey to loving H.E.R.. Referring back to oldskool hip – hop group, Main Source’s Looking at the Front Door and Common’s I Use to Love H.E.R., Ty discusses the “state” of Hip Hop today and poses the question

…who is brave enuf to cause a fuss?

I was fortunate to have been introduced to Ty from music connoisseurs the Soul Controllers with the track Wait A Minute off of the Upward LP. Ever since then he has been a staple in my collection. Special Kind of Fool is no different. Ty does not skimp on the quality of his music nor with the collaborations he has brought to this album; thought-provoking, head-nodding, “the intelligent strand of rap” .

Ty is that Special Kind of Fool who continues to raise the bar.

Tracks that stand out the most for me are:

* Heart Is Breaking feat. Sway & Roses Gabor
* Emotions feat. Sarina Leah & Shaun Escoffrey
* Wait feat. Leo Ihenacho & Soweto Kinch
* Get To The Sky feat. Vula Malinga & Terri Walker
* I’m Leaving feat. Anthony Mills
* Falling feat. Shaun Escofrey & Finn Peters
* Something Big feat. Carroll Thompson