Following the awful recent news we pay tribute to one of the UK’s very finest
Ty aka Benedict Chijioke has been one of our very favourites since before Funkdub even started. He was in the vanguard of UK hip hop in the nineties and noughties and was part of the generation that paved the way for this country to have it’s own distinctive voice. He was truly multitalented – an incredible lyricist, with a singular turn of phrase that captured life in the UK with a scarcely matched wit. Alongside longtime collaborator Drew he was an accomplished producer, taking in all manner of styles, always fresh, always interesting. But anyone who saw him live will probably remember that most of all, Ty was a truly magnetic performer with the charisma to rock any crowd, his shows at the Big Chill festival hold particularly fond memories for us.
There have been many great tributes, Robert Luis’s Unfold Radio show this week is essential listening – dedicated in full to Ty, 2 hours of absolutely golden material. Gilles Peterson did a great tribute on his show last week, with excellent tunes and live performances, including his collaboration with the also recently sadly departed Tony Allen. We’d also recommend catching up with his episode of Hip Hop Saved My Life to hear him in full raconteur mode. In the meantime here are some of our favourite tracks.
Like You Never (2013)
A wonderful cut on the Tru Thoughts imprint, who he worked with on many occasions. This track encapsulates Ty’s mastery of soulful hip hop and memorable lyricism. The whole “Kick Snare and an Idea” EP is magnificent and “Knock Knock” is an equally great track.
Wait A Minute (2003)
A great track from early in the millennium. This one exemplifies Ty’s facility for different production styles – the track is pure broken beat, with trademark soulful rhymes and vocals, remarkable stuff.
I Can’t Hear You (2001)
Ty’s early work as part of the UK hip hop scene was huge for us. In particular the Word Lab compilations from 2000 & 2001 showcasing so many great artists & producers. The obvious choice was “Turn It Up a Little” his collaboration with the Nextmen and you can hear that on one of our vinyl mixes. But this one with Shortee Blitz from Word Lab 2 is just as good, proper head nodding business.
Baby Love (2017)
One of the great tragedies of Ty’s passing is that he was still so musically potent and prolific. In 2017 he had time to team up with Seanie T & Miles Bonny for this thumping track, (which also features on this block rocking Allergies mix).
Somehow Somewhere Someway (2018)
The last solo album “A Work Of Heart” from 2018 was packed with great material – the Moses Boyd remix of Eyes Open is particularly noteworthy. But we’ve gone for this startling cut featuring Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets – channelling jazz & broken beat with a potent message.
Room for at least two more…
Fire In The Booth (2019)
Last year Ty teamed up with two other legends of the UK scene Rodney P & Blak Twang for the KINGDEM Project. It’s a matter of huge regret that we didn’t manage to catch one of the shows, and of course the material they produced is just as great as you might expect. But we had to include this session on “Fire In The Booth” with the 3 masters showing exactly how it’s done (and if you want a full roll call of UK Hip Hop Royalty do check out the Veterans video).
Oh You Want More (2004)
There was a raft of great material in 2004, we could easily have gone for the soulful & bassy “Sophisticated & Coarse”. 3DJ has also rightfully pointed out the outstanding spoken word power of “The Scheme Of Things” from 2008 which could easily have been included. However any list wouldn’t be complete without this seminal collaboration with Roots Manuva (& the Refix version is just as good).
A huge loss to UK & Worldwide music – RIP Ty.