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Wednesday, 19 December 2012


The Chicago Crossover Connection.


"You love to hear the story again and again, about these young brothers from the city of wind"-Common.

Two men from the Windy City believed they could fly

Let's take it back. There's nothing like nostalgia. Back in time. Back across the pond from America to an 11 year old boy whose American dreams where oceans of time and opportunities away in the mid nineties of his childhood and the golden era. There he is with a cassette tape in the deck of his boombox waiting for his favorite song to come on the radio again. "I just don't know she's just got that vibe" the public announcement says as he hits record, hoping that the radio D.J. wont talk over the end of his perfectly captured song. Late that same night in a screwdriver panic the reels of the tape are turned frantically round after the overplayed tape gets chewed up in the deck. Not a creature is stirring, there is only the silence of this kid not trying to wake his parents and the glow of the television in our company. But boy does it glow. It may be the middle of the night in England, but in America it's primetime and All-Star weekend for this sport of basketball that seems as theatrical as it is exciting. With volume muted, emphatic player announcements, a dominating figure of assured, silent swagger and legendary legacy making greatness runs across the screen and court. A number 23 is blazed across his chest. Who is this guy? What is this game? In a mid-nineties, mid-February this kid fell in love with the sport of basketball.

Fast forward almost fifteen years and this mid-twenties man is back in the U.S.A. like he was Springsteen born there. Traveling and living the dream his childhood and adolescence promised. Finally after all this time he gets to visit Chicago, climb the Willis Tower, see the city and go back once more less than a year later. Even before his second visit to the second city, this place feels fondly familiar from the t-shirts with Bulls on to the radios and what they play all day. It reminds him of a childhood time. Destiny, where he was meant to be. A place that showed him just what life, the world and dreams are made of. What he always wanted. They say there's nothing like your first love. This kid fell in love with the game of basketball and the man that dominated it. This man fell in love with urban soul and the sounds ruled by the R in R&B. Two men that not only defined the good old decade days of the nineties but also represented the Windy City of Chicago and put this major American market that some see behind New York and Los Angeles on all sorts of maps.

Before Kanye West showed in the new millennium that Chicago, Common and Twista where a major force in music someone else carried the ghetto blasting torch. Before Chicago showed it was the true Gotham City for Christopher Nolan's Batman, and the late, great Heath Ledger's Joker and Christian Bale's Bat duked it out on the same road that 'The Untouchables' made iconic, someone in crisp, collectible sneakers ran the streets, like that jumpman commercial across the rising bridge over the legendary Lake Michigan. Before Derrick Rose and the changing of the guard gave the Bulls and this city it's new hope and charge, going West like Kanye in the middle of America there was a man who cemented his status across the whole world like he did outside the United Centre in the concrete immortality of a statue. Before 'The Chicago Fire' and 'The Chicago Code' hit the screens, two men dominated the tube, like Clooney's 'E.R.' or the noisy, clanging, sweeping of the overground L trains did the city. Just like Snoop and Dre, Magic and Kareem and Shaq and Kobe did for Los Angeles, or De Niro and everyone else did for New York, two men did for Chicago. Just like stars of 'Philadelphia' Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks did for movies that decade, these men did for music and sports in the 1990's.

One man followed in the footsteps of Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Al Green and Stevie Wonder. The other Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, David Thompson and Magic Johnson. One would pave the way for Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The other Usher, Ne-Yo and Tyrese to go along with many more inspired by both men. A legion of followers that would make Twitter look like bird seed. These two men of course being Michael Jordan and R. Kelly. One homegrown and one from Brooklyn, New York who put the air back into Chicago and illuminated the second city skies like the Chicago theatre at night, with towering talents taller then any skyscraper, dominating newspaper headlines, rave reviews and the word of mouth of everyone's lips. Two men that took their respective games and shared city across the whole world, not just America. Needless to say New York and the Knicks and Los Angeles and Hollywood where jealous. In the defining, golden era of music and basketball in the nineties, Michael and Robert where king on the same throne. From above the rim to down in the studio and the last shot to endless songs produced. Everyone was watching like Spike Lee, Scoop Jackson was writing. I was listening. The Grammy's and MVP's kept coming with the soaring record sales and scores. As did the gold championship trophies and platinum plaques.

Then one guy with a carrots and big ears would bring them together like the river that ran through their city. When Michael Jordan teamed up with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Bill Murray and more to take on some giant aliens in the blockbuster movie 'Space Jam', Michael truly proved he was out of this world, in a 'Roger Rabbit' classic that framed his talents on the big-screen. Fellow Chi-town hero R. Kelly provided the perfect number for Mr. 23 to rise to. 'I Believe I Can Fly' gave air to the films soundtrack and the films moving first late night, back-yard, father and son scene. It also touched the sky for the two men giving the R his biggest and most recognized epic, hit, as he spread his wings. It even drew some of the attention off Seal's fellow big blockbuster track 'Fly Like An Eagle' for the movie. Michael Jordan wasn't the first M.J. R. Kelly wrote for as the king of R&B wrote 'You Are Not Alone' (and recovered it for a 'Love Letter' tribute to the late, great) for the king of pop, Michael Jackson, who also got down and danced with Michael Jordan for the 'Jam' video. Together Chi-town's finest did it again in a crowning moment that showed that in the nineties the world of entertainment was Mike and Rob's...but that wasn't all folks.

If they could see it, these too could surely be it. Michael Jordan won a three-peat with the Chicago Bulls, while R. Kelly started his own trilogy of success with the classic '12 Play' albums (before adding an unrleased 'Fourth Quarter' edition that hit like Mike in the last period of play). Michael scooped up more championships and awards by the double, while with the classic 'R', Kelly released an epic double album that included so many records like 'Home Alone', 'If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time', 'When A Woman's Fed Up', his Space Jam big-score and his own record for Batman ('Gotham City'). There was even a duet with Celine Dion on there (the heaven sent 'I'm Your Angel'). One had Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc and Phil Jackson. The other the Trackmasters and more hits then an entire genres worth. One rebranded Jive and modern soul music. The other revolutionized Nike and sports marketing. From Kelly's self-titled collection, to Jordan's self-assured performances these two danced and shrugged their way to success. No matter if they had the flu or other problems not much could stop this dynamic duo.

The two men are Chicago like a deep dish pizza, the crust of the city. They reminded us of something but revolutionized their games. It must have been the shoes or the "oh, oh, ooohs". Even when they took different routes they showed they weren't playing. We saw nothing wrong with their bumps and grinds, even if some peoples minds where telling them no. Michael Jordan made his late father proud when he picked up sticks and played baseball for a year, while R. Kelly teamed up with fellow urban music king and the M.J. of rap Jay-Z and held his own on the collaborative 'Best Of Both Worlds' album. You can't trap these guys is closets or lockouts. Michael Jordan was the closest thing the sports world witnessed to Muhammad Ali, R. Kelly wrote 'The Worlds Greatest' song (that and the haunting 'Hold On') for the Will Smith 'Ali' movie, both men went to the Olympics. The nineties was their moment, beyond their respective professions or the city of Chicago. They where icons then. Legends now.

The nineties was truly Michael Jordan and R. Kelly's time it was like they where born in it, even though the sixties debuted them to the world. Still the new millennium still showed the former North Carolina and Public Announcement alumni where here to stay in legacy and legend. Michael Jordan came out of retirement again for the Washington Wizards, showing he could still play with the Kobe's and the T-Mac's all whilst incredibly donating his entire playing salary to the September 11th relief fund. Whilst R. Kelly stuck his key back in the 'Ignition' and spun in a new direction, remixing his career and giving us some of his best, new records harking back to the music of decades gone by with 'Chocolate Factory' and 'Happy People'. Stepping back on court and in the name of love these greats still showed the new school an entertainment education.

Today Jordan owns the Charlotte Bobcat franchise and is even prepared to lace them up to help this young team practice. These days Kelly is still making hits, taking his revolutionary sound back to the good old days of soul as his 'Love Letter' and latest 'Write Me Back' can reply. 'When A Woman Loves' is the mans best song in years, while Mike is still inspiring and influencing generations. That's what happens when your legends, the legacy just goes on and the city of Chicago will never forget it's leading men. This city was built on rhythm and basketball. It'll blow forever through the Windy Cities memory. Michael made the moments, while Robert provided the soundtrack. Music and Basketball was their forte. The 1990's their definition and the city...theirs.

Monday, 12 November 2012



'For Holly, Forever More'.

For those who don't know-or think it's just a 'Bon Jovi' typo-Bon Iver are one of the greatest bands in the world. This is just how good these folks are. Bon and his Iver's are becoming so big they deserve a stadium worthy of that sound. The amazing acoustics of the Manchester Arena (once voted the worlds best) provided just that last week on the latest leg of the bandsmen's tour, which won't stop running. A tour with more at stake with the support of the fantastic female trio 'The Staves' who echoed their harmonies throughout the arena and the attendees phone search engines. Save your search their album is out now.

This writer had a talk with a friend who has followed this group its whole career. From the first E.P and the small venues to 'For Emma, Forever Ago' and the theatre's he has seen them in the most intimate and inspiring musical ways. Reluctant to see them in such a big arena known for hard-rock Gods, he wondered how the sound would translate. Well the beautiful, atmospheric on their acoustics still reaches the sold out seats. While the epic sound of their latest self-titled set gets the electric, Dylan scaling treatment. Both styles of sound able to bring a tear to any eye and run like lightening through any vein.

From the perfect Bon Iver album opener 'Perth' (this may be the bands best number) Zepellin esque intro this group never goes under. They let their sensational, sublime sound reach the ceiling all night to the new album closer 'Beth/Rest'. Along with the enthusiastic encore of the cult, classic-full 'Skinny Love' and the equally sung along dedication 'For Emma' that will be devoted forever more, like the people spent in each others company on this 'remember for the rest of your life', amazing night.

The checked shirt, log cabin, 'Movember' every month favorites traversed much ground on their stop in England. From the aforementioned to 'Minnesota, WI' and 'Brackett, WI' to 'Hinnom, Tx', beautiful 'Lisbon' and timeless 'Calgary'. Bon also got lost in the 'Woods' for a vocal sample that Kanye West would struggle to match. Recording himself and playing out a stunning solo, looper harmony hotter than Joesph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing the same guy in a movie.

From the rising 'Towers' to the formidable 'Flume' and the epic E.P. of 'Blood Bank' and the haunting 'Holocene' the set was listed with greats. Still it was the creepings of 'Creature Fear' and the salvation of 'Wash' that gave this night it's most stunning and moving performances. Draped in straw scarecrow stage throws and lit by nothing but the simple but atmospheric stage candles and the audiences flashing phones this was a picture perfect night. The kind of night you should spend with the one you love the most, because when it comes to modern, mainstream music it doesn't get much deeper, more dedicated, beautiful or unforgettable than a Bon Iver show. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

HE MAJOR-In Memory Of Stephen 'Static Major' Garrett

Nothing but Static.


"I stay in the streets, that’s where I draw my inspiration. If it can’t be played in the hood, then it just doesn’t work for me. And nobody can hold me on harmony. My whole aura is not your typical R&B aura."-Static Major.

"If at first you don't succeed, you can dust it off and try again." Hear that? Sure you do, it's unmistakable. It's the words of R&B icon Queen Aaliyah, but can you hear that bit of Static on the record? A classic hit sung by the baby girl we have been mourning and missing for 11 years but penned and produced by Stephen Ellis Garrett, otherwise known as Static Major. Another late legend took way too short before his time tragically four years back. It's been a long time but the feelings are still raw. Neither of these incredible, inspiring, influential individuals should have left us. Static's tragic trip to the hospital in February 2008 took his life, still today his life is what we should celebrate. 01/01/12 marks remembrance day and what should have been Stephen 'Static Major' Garrett's 38th birthday. On this anniversary let us not forget this young man who was part of more classics in urban music than most care to remember or would desire to have.

'Are You That Somebody?', 'Come Back In One Piece', 'Try Again', 'More than a Woman,' 'We Need a Resolution', 'Rock the Boat', 'Loose Rap', 'Extra Smooth', 'I Refuse', 'What If', 'Those Were The Days', 'Never No More' and that was just for Aaliyah. Static Major changed the game with Jay-Z (on the song 'Change The Game'), rode Ginuwine's career success by writing the genre changing classic 'Pony' (as well as 'So Anxious', 'Same Ole G' and 'You Owe Me') and made Pretty Ricky stars amongst giving hits to others like Truth Hurts ('Addictive') and Jamie Foxx ('Can I Take You Home'). So many hits, so many credits, but outside of those he worked for and his fans Static Major barely gets or received the credit he justly deserves. 

It's simply another example of an injustice in music. The appreciation from some is long overdue like this article or the promised, posthumous album 'Suppertime'. A shelved release that should be a celebration of his life's work and legacy. If released in his lifetime this album would have finally made Static the major star he deserved to be. Maybe record labels need to listen to hungry fans, it's time for supper. Even the singles looked set to be food for platinum thought. The uplifting 'My Valentine' was sweet and sublime, like the upbeat, motivating 'Till The Wheels Fall Off', the unique and cool 'Bus Stop Breezy' and the undeniable, career song 'I Got My' featuring Lil' Wayne.

In fact 'I Got My' served as the incredible sequel to 'Lollipop'. This cult favorite was set to be a classic like it's predecessor. A predecessor that was written by and featured Static. That's Major living it up like Ja Rule in his day with Weezy F. Baby in a stretch-hummer limo with a bevy of beauties in Las Vegas. Wait to the end of this classic video to see Static get the credit he deserves. In his loving memory the clip serves as a beautiful but tragically poignant moment. The video shows Wayne and Major living it up like the 'Blues Brothers', rocking out in shades and suits. After all these years they finally made it and were deservedly exclaiming it. This video was released after Static's death, it's a shame he didn't get to see it or that of the success Wayne had and he could have...should have. 

Still even after his death he gifted Lil' Wayne with his biggest, world-wide, commercial hit. A hit that tuned his career and 'Tha Carter' album series into the most sought-after thing in hip-hop. What a touch of grace from the spirit of urban music. Wayne rightfully and respectfully so recognizes and is thankful and grateful for what Static has done for him. Even if they don't in the record books, 'Lollipop' and 'I Got My' stand next to each other as two legendary licks on a musical collaboration that was so much and set to be even more.

Forget the NBA's hottest stars in Miami for a moment. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh may be amongst basketball's best but the original 'superfriends' belonged in Blackground. Static was just as heroic as his fellow, superfriends and record company dream team. Just like the one in a million Aaliyah, original R&B male megastar Ginuwine, legendary lyrical female Missy Elliott and super-producer and father to it all Timbaland. Aaliyah, Missy and Gin were dominating the pop charts as well as the urban ones with that signature, unique and ahead of it's time, Timbaland sound, but those signature Static lines helped them all hit big in the major leagues. Own, incredible talent aside this big three owe as much of their careers to Static as they do Timbaland. More was going down in the name of fresh, futuristic beats for the streets however. 

Timbaland had his own underrated rap duo with the unique Magoo and Static had his own side-project at the forefront in the form of his own group Playa. Another underrated act who hit big with the R&B classic 'Cheers 2 You'. This group lie Static were played a bit by the masses. They should have been stars as Static even held his own next to Ginuwine on Timbaland's infectious, inspiring 'Joy'. They should have been played more like their biggest hit 'Cheers 2 You'. The album of the same name was timeless and cohesive featuring greats like 'I-65', 'I'll Be 2 C U', 'Ms Parker' with Missy or 'One Man Woman' with Aaliyah which just like Li-Li's own duet with Static ('Loose Rap') displayed their incredible charisma and chemistry.

From there the work, royalties, Grammy's and Mercedes came rolling in. Just like his incredible contributions that made the 'Romeo Must Die' soundtrack even as good as the Jet Li movie it was from. Static brought the best out of co-star Aaliyah producing some of her most defining songs, all whilst he gave Ginuwine a 'Simply Irresistible' track and got Playa played on the score with their top track 'Woozy'. It's no wonder for a man who has worked with everyone and has even had some posthumous promise with Twista ('Gotta Get Me One'). Static understood how to write hits not just for him, but for others too. This explains why he could write so many hits like 'More Than A Woman' from a females perspective for Aaliyah. He understood more than just lyrics, rhyme schemes, verses, bridges and hooks, he understood the perspectives of others, even the opposite sex. 

This is a testament to just how good a writer he is like the legacy of classics he left. Dig through the crates of his tribute mixtape classics and you can find more catchy classic solo songs like 'Speed Of Life', 'Private Number', 'For A Long Time' and 'Good Weather Music' 'featuring another late great in the form of Pimp C from UGK and some classic, upbeat, energetic lines like, "you never thought I would be more than a gangster" which if properly released would make him stand out loud and proud. 

Still regardless of celebrity status, which these days ranges from the overnight to 'over in 15 minutes' Static's body of work is bonafide famous and speaks for itself. Forget that he's underrated, his groundbreaking, pioneering music will never be outdated as it defined a time and change in modern sound. Like Drake on the sample of his new hit ('Look What You've Done') we need to keep Static's memory alive in his beautiful music. The man brought fun, energy, and the understanding of a culture to the mainstream music industry. He goes down in music history as one of the greatest writers and hit-makers of our generation and in urban music all-time. For the record his names there on the record. No more need be said except, Happy Birthday Stephen. We and music as a whole misses you but your work lives on in all its legendary legacy. Rest in peace.

Monday, 5 November 2012



Does The Noise From My Other Dimension Bother You?

Aerosmith have survived acid, 'Armageddon' (with the beautiful like Liv Tyler 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing' lead song), a tell all memoir (lead singer Steven Tyler's brilliant, classic 'Does The Noise In My Head Bother You'), 'American Idols' and themselves and still after 40 years they're the last great rock band standing at sixty. As they continue to break ground, walking this way it seems between busts and break-ups nothing can clip Aerosmith's wings. Now they are well and truly back this decade with something ten years in the making. This is their 'Music From Another Dimension'.

Following their classic covers 'Honkin' On Bobo' the blues are over for this group. After their legacy making 'Legendary Child' lead single and it's 'Love Alot' follow-up (you can tell how much "she loves a lot" by the number of times Tyler sings it) comes the bands latest, greatest classic. 'What Could Have Been Love' is a classic Aerosmith and nineties rock power ballad with it's catchy hook, lines ("So what's the meaning when our love has faded?/I should've known that you'd still be Jaded/My heart's awash in this ocean of foam/Now all this old dog wants is to be walked straight home") and whiskey sinker sound. This isn't it however for the 'Guitar Heroes' who 'Can't Stop Loving You' and country collaborator Carrie Underwood with another single set to be released from their 15th studio album that only just comes out this week.

As they 'Just Push Play' on their first studio set since 2001. 'Cocked, locked and ready to rock' Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer lay down their new material with the first kiss of 'LUV XXX'. A Beatles esque number with backing from John Lennon's son Julian. It' clear to hear that after all this time and history it's all coming together. Unleashing the Tyler howls on 'Oh Yeah' the band scream back onto the airwaves before giving us another classic ode with the stunning 'Beautiful' and it's dedicated harmonies "Beautiful/We are free again, we're out of here)/Beautiful/(You need a friend, let's disappear)."

Tom Hamilton reveals some new writing with his tell all 'Tell Me,' while Joey Kramer also adds his first songwriting credits since his 'Permanent Vacation'. The band get deeper and darker on the atmospheric 'Out Go The Lights' before they get even more introspective and inspired on 'Street Jesus', which has been praised as hardcore fans favorite over the last few months. As Tyler writes to the most high, "Wise man tell ya what they’re reading from a scroll/But things kinda change when the story gets told/They tell it like it is to everybody they meet/Just to sing it in the church what they’re preaching in the street", sweet Mother Mary we have another classic Tyler 'scribe. It's the end of this album that things get epic however. Rock epic. End of the world epic. Armaggedon epic.

With a ring full of roses on 'We All Fall Down' Tyler and Aerosmith collaborate once again with the great songwriter Diane Warren, who gave this band wings with their boldest and most beautiful hit 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing' and they in collaboration they craft another classic. With lyrics like "when your heart is breakin'/when your faith has been shaken/when the road you're takin'/takes you nowhere at all" and "when your dreams are shattered/when you feel broken and battered/when every step of the ladder/takes you nowhere but down" you can tell this is a match made in songwriting heaven. Stay awake because pulling no punches on 'Freedom Fighter', the Boston boys are backed by full-time movie superstar and part-time rocker Johnny Depp who helps star stud this sensational song.

More moments of magic are pulled out the bag for the closing trinity of this album. 'Closer' really pulls you in, while Joe Perry really shows us 'Something' before 'Another Last Goodbye' sends us off. You could also be tempted by the soulful special edition of this album which features the 'Shakey Ground' of a terrific Temptations cover (mark it next to 'Come Together' as another great tribute to the greats). With the latest noise from their heads these idols are back with a bang a scream and a welcome. From Perry's rip-roaring riffs to Tyler's tongue-lashing lyrics of vocal fury, the twins are back together and hotter than acid. No drug could take their substance away. Jaded? No way. Let's hope they don't spend too long in another dimension, because another ten years would be too long. We don't want to miss a thing. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


"What a joy it is to be loved by you" sings a Marvin Gaye channeling Tyrese to start the latest single to be released off his greatest 'Open Invitation' album. 'Best Of Me' marks the one year anniversary of this ground-breaking album perfectly, making both this and the full release climb the charts."I believe God sent you hear to slowe me down" harmonises the hardest working man in entertainment, who is currently writing two books ('Manology' with Rev Run of Run DMC and 'Black Rose'), two albums (the rap/R&B double set 'Black Rose' to go along with the book and the TGT debut with Ginuwine and Tank) and is finishing filming the sixth part of the 'Fast & The Furious' franchise away from home in London. Still fumes isn't the only thing he's been filming as the 'Best Of Me' video is making and breaking requests. Starring alongside the beautiful model Eva Marcille, Tyrese gives us a black and white video with splashes of color and beauty. He was right in our recent interview about his latest album artwork "taking (him) to another level". The chemistry between R&B's leading man and his leading lady is at a charismatic classic high, just like his previous videos with Taraji P. Helson ('Stay') and Chilli from TLC ('Nothing On You'). With this latest open invitation Tyrese gives us the best of him and the best the world has to offer will be his reply. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

You Can Watch The Video Here Now...

Sunday, 21 October 2012


How fitting that the return of our monthly 'Song For The Moment' feature will be re-christened by the very rock God's that inspired it? It was Aerosmith-not Eminem (although Joe Perry hooked up for the sensational sample)-that originally 'sung for the moment' on their definitive, awakening classic 'Dream On' that is currently doing the rounds on the trailer for the hotly anticipated new Ben Affleck picture 'Argo'. Affleck himself appeared alongside Steven Tyler's daughter Liv in the mega-movie 'Armaggedon' that featured the last big and boldest Aerosmith hit 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing'. Can you believe it's been a decade gone since then? Well Steve and the boys have got their wings back, primed with a new album ('Music From Another Dimension') that they say is 40, career years in the making. The noise they're about to make in your heads will bother you again as these true American idol's are here to show that Rock-n-Roll is not in the in the hands of fate of a Lenny Kravitz classic. This is all spurred on by the boot-clicking, classic rock number 'What Could Have Been Love' which serves as their lead single. With a classic nineties nostalgic feel of true rock from the video to the classic, catchy chorus that is an instantly recital for hardcore fans. The last band standing are back and proud. The sweet devotion, good-time music you love returns with this song, in this moment this band will "stay here for the rest of time". TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012



The Ballads Of Ben Harper.

If Bruce Springsteen is the closest thing American singing/songwriting has to Bob Dylan then the closest thing to 'The Boss' this generation is Ben Harper. With a legendary legacy of lyrics and a genuine genre mix of everything from rock to blues, soul, funk and the spiritual this is one of today's artists that have everything. Still it's this versatility that leaves him vulnerable to the length of his talent being disregarded or underrated to some degree. Harper even reckons himself that in this iTunes age of cherry-picking tracks those looking for some hard rock and finding a slow burner or vice versa could be easily put off.

That's why with his first compilation, Ben Harper releases his greatest hits of ballads with 'By My Side'. With a great album to match a good idea (he should do a 'by my amp' rock hits record next, perhaps called 'Shimmer & Shine') Harper gives us a dozen dutiful, beautiful ballads spanning his classic career. It all begins with the lasting 'Forever' and ends with a wild, awesome new track 'Crazy Amazing'. The compilation title track 'By My Side' off the iconic album 'Fight For Your Mind' paints us an audio descriptive picture of this compilations tone. One of a loyal love of closeness and togetherness.

'Gold To Me' shines in all it's glory on this picture podium retrospective of Harper's deepest and best work. While there's more shimmer on shine on the iconic, fan favorite, cult classic 'Diamonds On The Inside'. The gleam doesn't stop there as the Innocent Criminals assisted 'Lifeline' album cut 'In The Colors' adds more art to this albums canvas. It's in the final half dozen of this perfect playlist that the music gets it most beautiful and poignant though.

'Beloved One' off 'Burn To Shine' ignites with sweet, slow soulful beauty on a glowing, laid out bare song for lovers. It's the ultimate dedication like the in good and bad, sickness and health 'Not Fire, Not Ice' which is given a new studio take for this release. The single off Harper's 'Give 'Till It's Gone' album release last year (which was the first solo and one of the best of his career in a long time), 'Feel Love' and the sensational spiritual 'Waiting On An Angel' round this release out nicely and sweetly. On this record the bands-men who is no stranger to hard rock shows like his friend Ringo that all you need is love.

The real highlight of this greatest hits package however belongs with two records of his finest, defining album 'Both Sides Of The Gun'. Sure a number of tracks like 'Waiting For You', 'Picture In A Frame' and 'Reason To Mourn' could have made it on to this set-list (as could greats like 'The Woman In You', 'When She Believes' and 'Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn') but Ben's best track 'Morning Yearning' really shows him between strings and violins at his deepest and most beautiful.

If you remember the vivid visual that matched the gorgeous tone of this track in the musics video then you may remember that the late, great actor and friend Of Harper, Heath Ledger (rest peacefully) directed this cinematic feeling classic. Well Harper returned the favor by writing a lovely lullaby ('Happy Everafter In Your Eyes') for Heath to sing to his daughter. That's here too and completes this classic collection. The 'Innocent Criminal', with a 'Fistful Of Mercy', whose rocked with the 'Blind Boys Of Alabama' and a 'Relentless 7' has more groups to his name than social networks. Still before embarking on a solitary tour, Ben go's it alone on this solo stroll through his discography. Harper shows us with 'By My Side' just why he'll keep more fans close to him throughout the rest of his legacy making career. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


It's The Remix.


In our bonus video interview me and Tyrese Gibson are in London discussing some hot topics.

Hey this is is Tim Harvey I'm with Tyrese he's in London filming 'Fast & The Furious 6'. I've got some hard questions for you Tyrese you ready?

Tyrese: I'm ready.

Q. So TGT, Tank, Ginuwine and Tyrese all together, why now?

Tyrese: R&B needs this. You know it's been a vision of ours for awhile now to do this group and visions and dreams are important but it's real now. Atlantic Records gave us the biggest deal ever. It's a three album deal and we're all very excited. It's about to be a problem. You know what I'm saying there's nothing like going to one concert and seeing three of your favorite artists on stage, bringing what we're all bringing to the stage musically, having fun and reminding me people why they fell in love with true R&B in the first place. You know R&B is very insecure right now. People feel like they can't do a full song by their self without a rapper featuring at the end of it. People feel like they need to do house or techno. There's nothing wrong with having your music to travel abroad with and have a new fanbases be created but ultimately the reason you stopped doing full R&B is because the sales in R&B are low and you jumped ship. But we're here and although we want to sell a bunch of records we're not doing it for record sales. We're doing it for true R&B.


Q. You've been in Miami, you've been in Brazil and now 'Fast & The Furious' is in London. What makes this film different from the rest?

Tyrese: Fast 6 is going to be big man. I'm on the set everyday. You know I'm really shocked there are so many stars in one movie yet Justin Lin-the director-who I think is a genius. We call him the Zen master because how can you have all these different personalities and ego's and energy on one set yet we feel like our characters have been individualized. You'll never catch Vin saying something that Roman Pierce would say. You'll never catch Dwayne Johnson saying something Paul Walker would say. Or doing anything anyone else should be saying or doing. So we all think we have big moments in the movie and it's a big deal. We're very grateful that 'Fast Five' is the biggest one to date and I think 'Fast Six' is going to be a problem when it comes out Memorial Day weekend.

Q. 'Fast & The Furious' isn't the only franchise you're a part of.  You're a part of 'Transformers', but 'Transformers 4' will you be in it?

Tyrese: Erm...I don't know. Me and Michael Bay have been exchanging text messages and I hope it works out. I mean things fell apart with Megan Fox and so we had to do what we had to do to pick up the pieces and keep moving and that’s when we started to rock with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and now things have fell apart with Shia. Business is business and I think Shia has expressed this openly but when you're associated with movies like 'Transformers' other than the box office receipts as an actor, like a full on actor a lot of people can arguably say that they don't treat you serious in this town called Hollywood as they can say "the only reason this movie did big is because of the robots, or the big action and special effects". In a certain capacity it could diminish your value as an actor and what you bring to the table even though it's huge for your brand and your image and your celebrity around the world, but Shia is one of them real actors. Full-on real actors and I think whether it's an independent role and he's just getting paid per diem, or if it's a role that he's just passionate about that he can do for free, as long as he's associated with these heavyweight actors that's the space he's in. But for me I started this shit with Shia, Josh, Michael Bay and the team and sometimes you lose a team member. For me not being a part of 'Transformers 4', if that's what’s happening, it would fuck me up if I'm honest. I love it you know it's a childhood movie favorite of mine I don't want to not be a part of that franchise period and sometimes when you lose a team member you just have to keep it going...period.

Q. The new question is. How do you follow 'How To Get Out Of Your Own Way' with Rev Run on 'Manology'?

Tyrese: 'Manology' is the new book I did with Rev Run and that's coming around February. You guys can pre-order that book around the world right now. You know I'm excited man. There's nothing like sharing and giving people inside information about life live, love, relationships, challenges, things that people are struggling with. We should assume that until we speak on it, no one is listening because we have fans that hold on to the things that we speak on in our minds and our views and our perspectives. So you know 'Manology' is definitely coming, it's going to be some shit. It's going to shake up the world, I believe.

Q. Even with all this it looks like your triple-threat 'Black Rose' is looking to be your biggest project. Is this true?

Tyrese: Well 'Black Rose' is going to be very different. I think it's going to mean something very controversial you know. It's going to be a double album. It's going to be one side Tyrese, me singing and the other side Black-Ty, me rhyming, rhyming again like I did with 'Alter-Ego' and I'm also releasing a book called 'Black Rose'. So you know it's going to be some shit man I'm excited.

Q. I think the most important question is what is your biggest fear?

Tyrese: My biggest fear I think is...erm death. I fear death and I don’t fear death for a reason most people fear death. I'm not afraid to die because when its time to go it's time to go. I'm afraid of dying because I've got a lot of shit to do and I've I'm not here then it can't be done. I'm a giant. I'm a game changer. I'm fearless. The size of this building can't handle my thoughts, my visions, my dreams. I dream beyond what I can afford. I dream beyond my finances. I have visions beyond my circumstances. I've never claimed to be the biggest star in the world but I'm unstoppable in my mind and none of this stuff could be lived out if you're dead. So I got shit to do.

You can catch the full video interview on Tyrese's Mobli site.

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Friday, 28 September 2012

GETTING OUT HIS OWN WAY-An Interview With Tyrese Gibson

An Open Invitation.


What more can we say? To be on top of your game in the entertainment industry is one thing, but to be at the top of four games is just incredible. When someone has versatile and diverse talent in two fields like say a Frank Sinatra, or a Dean Martin did, or a Harry Belafonte everybody credits the singer/actors as being a double threat. Still, recently triple-threat territory has been traversed by the likes of the multi-talented actor, singer and comedian Jamie Foxx who really is everything entertainment...but then there's someone else. Someone who dominates the industry across the board. That someone is Tyrese Gibson.

Ever since this 'Baby Boy' got film credits and record deals after catching a bus for a commercial and singing about Coca Cola, this model talent has kept on top of his game all whilst keeping it real and never selling out. Right now Tyrese is in England's capital London following the Olympics keeping a Heptathlon of events on the go. You can currently find him with multi-talented likes of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, The Rock, Ludacris, Sung Kang and more revving up 'Fast Six', the latest in the full throttle 'The Fast and The Furious' franchise. Still, even though he's hard at work you can best believe he doesn't stop motoring on when he heads back to his trailer.

It's almost like he's trying to best his career year of 2011. A year which saw 'Fast Five', the latest in the 'Transformers' series (his 'other' big franchise pictures) and just a few more things. Those things being an inspiring, New York Times best selling book ('How To Get Out Of Your Own Way') which has made it into the hands of everyone from Will Smith to Michelle Obama and a new album. Did we forget to mention this Grammy nominated, platinum certified star was a force in music too? After all it's his singing on a bus which has ensured he will never have to ride on a bus again. Reference his critically acclaimed book to see just how far the man who now "just pulls up in a McClaren" has come.

He's making it all look too easy. Last year-after his self-titled debut and more classics like the '2000 Watts' juggernaut and the breakthrough 'I Wanna Go There'-Tyrese released his fifth and arguably best R&B album 'Open Invitation'. A classic which ignited his independent imprint 'Voltron Records' to rave reviews and hit singles like 'Too Easy' (with 'Fast' co-star Ludacris in tow), the sublime 'Stay' and the hands down 'Nothing On You' to join an all killer no filler record. This was the 'Sweet Lady' singers first release since his ground-breaking double disc set 'Alter-Ego'. An album which showed both sides of his musical personality.

To follow his classic R&B side, Gibson gave us his rap alter-ego, Black-Ty with the singers most diverse and bold work to date. Last month we we're reintroduced to Black-Ty via the free 'Invisible Bully-The Lost Tapes' mixtape. A more than generous offering of 53 tracks, that already broke download records just days after its release. The inspired Tyrese and Black-Ty look to double up again on the forthcoming 'Black Rose' album (oh and that's coming with another book too). That will come in between all the other movie deals and projects this multi-skilled man looks to offer up in-between tweeting and video and audio-tuning inspiration to his two million plus Twitter followers.

Tyrese looks to get even more numbers out of his collaborative projects too. We haven't even begun to mention his next book 'Manology' with Run-DMC legend Rev Run or the legendary legacy he looks to make with fellow kings of R&B, Tank and Ginuwine with the supergroup TGT and their album due next year. Did we forget anything? Movies, books, R&B and rap, that's four. That's a quadruple talent. It looks like Tyrese Gibson is working this year to make next year even better than his last. What more can we say? Maybe it's time to hear from the man himself?

We caught up with Tyrese in London.

"Every single day I just try my best to be the best version of me I can be. That's pretty much it. I think we're all a gift and some people don't recognize their own gifts and that's why they don't use them and some people want to give up on their gifts and the timing, the energy and like these random kind of stars line up. Then you start paying attention to you gift and work hard to elevate it to another level. So you know its kind of the gift that keeps on giving. You have a gift and you're not afraid to use your gift."

Q. So Tyrese it's safe to say you've been a busy man of late, your looking to make next year even better than your last. Where do we start? How you doing?

Everything is alright man. You know just taking it all in. You know what I've up to you've seen it on Twitter.

Q. Paris!


Q. Getting into a bit of trouble?

Just a little bit,

Q. Nothing you can't handle?

I got it all covered.

Q. You've been in London for awhile now filming how are you enjoying this city and country?

Its cool man you know I don't go out as much as I should. There's a lot of history and architecture out here. You know I'm still trying to get adjusted to the time zone 'cause we're 8 hours ahead of L.A. but you know it’s been good man. We getting a very, very big movie shot and everyone's enjoying themselves, the cast, the energy is right we just having a good time. It's beautiful.

Q. Your return to the 'Fast & Furious' franchise really has helped re-energise the series. What's it like to be properly back in the driving seat?

Well you know I think its very powerful to be part of such a huge cast, but yet Justin Lin and the writers as well as us-I don't want to discredit the work we've put in-we've all figured out a way to coexist and we've all figured out what we individually bring to this franchise. Nothing that I'm doing will remind you of Vin, nothing that Dwayne is doing will remind you of Paul, nothing that Ludacris is doing will remind you of Sung or Gal. I mean everybody is playing their role and it’s very incredible to be part of this process you know. If it was horrible I'd tell you but it’s been very powerful to be a part of this franchise.

Q. What can you tell us about 'Fast Six' and the location of London? A lot of people have wanted me to ask you about a tank on the motorway. I was thinking TGT, like what's Tank doing on the motorway.

Well a lot of the tank stuff has been happening in Austria I think or Oslo, I believe, don't quote me but they've been doing a lot of second unit stuff out there with a whole other crew. Doing a lot of big action, so a lot of the tank stuff has been going on over there. I haven't done anything with a tank. Shit the car that Dwayne drives looks like a tank but he hasn't done anything with a tank. I got a big action sequence coming up with a tank but I haven't got to that yet.

Q. Can you share with us some of your favourite memories and experiences being a part of the 'Fast Five' and '2 Fast, 2 Furious' movies?

You know I feel very honoured to be a part of this franchise you know if it was a guest appearance or a leading role I'm just very grateful man. I mean there are so many actors, so many actresses out there and the fact that we've been chosen to be a part of this is an honour man. It's beyond amazing. I didn't look at it as replacing Vin or out-doing him or out-shining him. I just look at it as sometimes you lose a team member and you got to pick up the pieces and keep on moving and the movies have got to be made regardless of who's in them and whatever happens behind the scenes you have to keep it moving. Keep it going and that's what happened with '2 Fast'.

Q. It's hard to believe it's been ten years since '2 Fast 2 Furious'.

Shiii...10 years?

Q. Yeah I was 16/17.

You where 16? How old are you now?

Q. 27


Q. Ludacris had the 'fro, you where wearing the Allen Iverson armband.

You know I had Allen Iverson say to me; "yo I love you man, as soon as the movie came out my kids went to see it and they saw you rocking the wristband man and I became their favourite dad for like a year" because I wore that 'The Answer' wristband. You know things that you think nobody would notice. I'm also the biggest Allen Iverson fan whether he's in the NBA or not. He's a legend. He's on fire man. He reminds me of Derrick Rose, just that fire just so aggressive going to the basket and always smooth at the end. Like (mimics a lay-up) 'heeeey'.

QKeeping it basketball, you're from L.A. does that make you a Lakers fan?

Oh absolutely.

Q. Me too (we shake hands) we got a good team this year.

Dwight Howard and who else did we just get Steve Naaaash from Arizona, Phoenix Suns right? Yeah.

Q. Still, that's another blog. Keeping it on screen, in 2011 you had a big year with 'Fast Five' and 'Transformers-DarkOf The Moon'. Any plans for more 'Transformers' or other pictures in the pipeline?

You know I don't really know how this 'Transformers' thing is going to work out man. You know the idea of not being a part of something I helped build really hurts man. I just hope Michael Bay decides to figure out a way to make it work. You know Shia has gone public and clearly said he's not interested, in a different space as an actor and doesn't want to come back and do 'Transformers'. I just hope Michael specifically figures out bring some of the other parts back. They're in the middle of production and tweaking the script and doing everything else they're doing. I hope they call and say 'hey we figured something out' I don't know. But Michael Bay created my character out the clear blue sky. My character didn't really exist at all. As a matter of fact a lot of people don't know this but Michael actually wanted me to play the role Bernie Mac had in 'Transformers 1' but then when we hung out more he just created Robert Epps out the blue and put me in this crew with Josh Duhmel, you know Lennox. I just hope he figures something out and we can move from here.

Q. Speaking of Shia thanks for the 'Lawless' recommendation that could be the film of the year?

(Nodding) Shia is a motherfucker (in a good way) man.

Q. This is the burning question I've been meaning to ask you; who would really win arm-wrestling out of you and The Rock?

I don't know. I think I would definitely give it my best shot you know what I'm saying. I'd go all out. I don't know if I could take him out but I'd try.

Q. Is he brave enough?

I don't know if he'd actually do it. But I'd challenge him to it.

Q. You could take Paul Walker  (in an arm wrestle)though right?

Yeah, I could prob...yeah.

Q. You could definitely take me.

More than likely, yeah.

Q. From 'Baby Boy' to now could you share with us your favourite movies that you've been a part of? A personal favourite of mine is 'Four Brothers' you all really brought it with that one.

You know I’m going to be honest man. At this point my favourite movies tend to be the experience you know what I’m saying. The ones that I have fun while we're making them. 'Baby Boy', 'Four Brothers' man we laughed all day everyday, all four of our personalities man. Mark, Andre, Garrett we laughed so freaking hard. I wonder if we actually had a gag reel, we cracked so many jokes it was unbelievable. You know for me nothing compares to the outcome of Transformers, the special effects and the way Michael Bay moves that camera. There's no comparison. I just hope you know it works out.

Q. Speaking of 'Transformers' I love that scene when that building in Chicago snaps in half and you're all sliding down it, how much of that was C.G and how much was real?

That was all the combination of reality and C.G. we where sliding down the side of something. It wasn't quite that building but it was something. If you get the Blue Ray, you'll see the making of how it happened. It's pretty elaborate.

Q. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker aren't the only guys your teaming up with in music you've just made your group with Ginuwine and Tank official with Atlantic Records. What can you tell us about that and the forthcoming album?

You know it's a passion project and I don't really know if anybody see's how big this will really can be the way I do. Ginuwine and Tank can see it but I don't even think they see what I see as far as how big this can go. Right now when it comes to fans because of social media fans are spoilt and they have access to their favourite stars in a way like never before in the history of fans and stars. Also iTunes has single-handedly outside of Napster contributed to creating a shift in a major way in what we call the music business. As we all know iTunes created the lazy feeling of 'I don't feel like going to four or five different record stores to buy an album now I can just click a button and have it'. So therefore all of the traffic that was physically moving into the record stores like Virgin and Tower Records is gone. All these music companies aren't where they used to be. We're talking about full on music stores that have been shut down. A few of them still exist but for the most part their wiped out because the convenience of itunes, great for them, bad for the music business. Then you have chains like Walmart or Target, where if they where just in the music business they'd be wiped out but because they have 75 to 1000 options of things beyond C.D's and DVD's that you can buy then it becomes a one stop shot. So as crazy as an analogy that is that's why TGT makes all the sense in the world, because you got me, you got Ginuwine, you got Tank. We're all young legends in the music business so to speak individually but the idea that it becomes a one stop shop where you can get all these different flavours and colours and energy musically. It's going to contribute to the game in a major way. Where you can get everything you want to experience musically in one concert and one album. I'm not saying that me, Ginuwine and Tank are Walmart or Target but you get everything in one store and that's what makes us the R&B Avengers.

Q. I’m loving the logo, it’s like something out of ‘Tron’.

My man.

Q. You guys work very well together and have a great chemistry especially on tracks like the 'Please Don't Go' and the Let Me Grind' remixes, as well as 'One Night Stand' and 'Can't Blame You'. What do each of you bring to TGT and what influences and inspiration can you bring from both Ginuwine and Tank

Basically what I'm getting out the fans right now they want more. They want more. If you think about Young Money, if you think about people with clicks of talented artists and they're all touring together everyone realizes the power of combining the energy and effort. If you look at the success of 'The Avengers' it just goes to show you. All of the stars and the comic book characters have had huge success on their own and it's the ultimate fan experience to get Superman's biggest fan and Iron Man's biggest fan in the same row. They would probably decide they don't want to coexist in one theatre but because all of their favourites are in one movie that's why they're here. That's what we are. I've tweeted a picture of the three of us and said 'ladies just pick one' and they'll say 'Tyrese is my number one hands down, I like Ginuwine or Tank but they can't touch him', or 'Tank all day or every day, end of story. I got love for y'all but Tank is my baby' and it's the same for Ginuwine. You know it's arrogant to assume that fans of Ginuwine and Tank will love me too, but you know what? They will love me because now we're all in the same movie. You can come to the concert to see Ginuwine but they got to see me. I'm not sharing any of these screams, I'm not sharing any of these photo-ops. I'm stingy. They getting screams over me I ‘aint having it.

Q. Ginuwine say's he's Wolverine and Tank's the hawk so which Avenger are you?

I'm Iron Man. I'm Iron Man. Only because-damn this just hit me right now thank you-because I'm a very shrewd businessman. I think compared to Ginuwine and Tank's personality I'm the one that has the strongest bottom line. I'm very aggressive about everything and anything I do. That's just it man, that's where I'm at with it.

Q. Is it safe to assume that Tank will be manning some of the production? With the three of you already you have enough people but who are you looking to work with on the album? Maybe Tank's protégé Kris Stephens?

Yeah, I like her as a songwriter a lot but more importantly as a person. She's very very sweet, she's been to the house with Tank a few times while we where doing R&B boot camp. I told Tank she should be writing on the album.

Q. Can we expect to hear that friend of yours Black-Ty guest featuring on the album?

We'll see what happens. Right now Black-Ty is chilling waiting to be unleashed on this 'Black Rose' album. You know I'm full throttle right now.

Q. With that in mind congratulations on the huge success of your 'Invisible Bully' rapping mixtape how does it feel?

It feels great man. We're well over a million downloads right now. You know it's been about three or four weeks since it dropped. I think we're well over 2 million downloads if you really think about it, because outside of the DUBCNN download, people have created their own sites and tweeted the shit out. So the downloads are pretty endless. It was just my way of reintroducing Black-Ty. It's like Chris Rock said it best "you don't want to be the first black man to do anything". Of course I wasn't the first R&B singer to rap its happened plenty of times before. I think when I did it, itwas so full on, it wasn't a gimmick, I wasn't like me fucking around it caught a lot of people off guard. It messed a lot of people up. Now all of sudden you got Chris Brown, Trey Songz, you got Beyonce, Mary J. Blige and a bunch of different R&B stars rapping and they got alter-ego names. So for me I'm not looking at it like them trying to be like me but I will say I was the first one to jump into that world and make people think it's possible to fall all the way in love with an R&B singer and then listen to them rap at the same time. I will also say a lot of rappers have cleaned up their looks and image. If you where at home watching 106 & Park on mute you wouldn't know who's singing or rapping, because everybody looks the same. Everyone’s got the sexy girls in the video. R&B singers are wearing the big chains, the big earrings with the fancy cars and all the girls.

Q. I think what sets you apart is the concept rap songs. Like 'Lost With Guns' over Jay-Z's 'Lost One' or the 'Alter-Ego' one where you go back and forth with yourself. Where do you draw that creativity from? The acting maybe?

That's some other shit man.

Q. 'Alter-Ego' started it off with a great mix of tracks like 'One', 'Roses', 'Come Back To Me Shawty' and 'Fly Away' and now another double rap and R&B album 'Black Rose' will come next fall. It's early days yet but what can you tell us about the new album?

Well you know this word just dropped on me right now. I am on a mission to takeover emotions. That's what I'm on. So there is a lot of emotional outlets. You weren’t feeling that way till you heard that song. Or you weren’t feeling that way to you went to see that movie. Or you weren’t feeling that way, or considering those things until you read that book. So I'm on a mission to takeover emotions and you can't just do it through music you have to do it through as many areas as possible and so I'm very grateful that people have given me emotional access to them and ama ride this shit all the way out. Ama keep going.

Q. We can't not talk about 'Open Invitation' and the tracks 'Stay' and 'Too Easy'. We thought your previous work was classic but you really knocked it out the park with this one. First off congratulations, how does your return to music feel? I guess that so called expert that said you couldn't sell independently is on his own now

You know its so good man. I think more than anything I came into it very confident but equally as insecure because a lot of people are very consumed in other people’s opinions. What they should do, how they should do it, when they should do it and if they should even do it at all. I've decided all of a couple of years ago ama live my damn life. I'm not going to base what is successful in the eyes of the world to what it is successful to me. What's successful to me is I had a vision, a concept and idea and I got it out of my heart, out of my mind and I put it out there. When you release it to the world then people will decide whether to show up or not. You can't give power to the numbers. What is successful is getting it out. For you to have an article or a vision or a story in your mind Tim and it stays in mind because you're allowing people not showing up, paying for your hotel room or committing to interviews with the Lakers or whatever the fuck it is. You can't give them power because they're diminishing the gift and they don't even know they're wiping you out. They're just doing what they do. "Oh we where going to send you but now we're going to go with someone else", then you decide to shut your whole fucking career down and they don't even know they wiped you out, "oh shit I took him out". They don't know, but you know. I didn't know my album was going to sell the way it did 400,000 plus thousand. I didn't fucking know, but it happened, I went all out. So this TGT album....we're going to do our best album...period and when we hit the road motherfuckers better get ready. That should be the headline (taps table) motherfuckers.better.get.ready.

Q. What's it like working with someone like Ludacris both in movies and music?

I love Ludacris man. Ludacris is a good man. That's what I have to say about him. He is a good dude man for real. I hope to be friends with Ludacris for a very long time. We may never do another movie or record together...I hope we do, but that's my friend hopefully for a long time. He's a gift.

Q. You say your latest video is your greatest. You had a great time it looks filming 'Too Easy' and have acted alongside some leading ladies recently too but what remains your favourite video you have done?

I love the 'Stay' video because of my girl Taraji and you know this 'Best Of Me' video is going to take me to another level.

Q. How about your own favourite guest features your spot on the posthumous 2Pac album was truly inspired?

Yeah you know what scary man is. I don't know what's about to happen bro. This dude knows me (points to his friend G. Flowers) no two days are ever the same when you're around me. It's always some other shit. This is what's scary-in a sarcastic way-about my life is that this is normal for me. When other people come around and respond to me like "oooh shit" I realise it's not normal and the thing is it's not that I'm taking any of my blessings or access for granted. In the midst of everything I'm forever grateful for what's happening but this is my world and you come into my world there's a likelihood that you're going to be exposed to some life changing shit. And where not just talking about hanging out with stars, but where talking about one person who is literally involved in at least 12 or 15 different world simultaneously on an extreme level. I'm liable to be hanging out with Michael Bay and get a text from Vin Diesel. I'm in my back yard with Martin Luther King's son and daughter and Will Smith, Vin and Paul Walker are sitting to my right, the King kids to my left. I'm hanging out with a fucking holiday. Ooh shit, what the fuck? Like this is normal. It's some other shit man and they don't come to my house for like an hour, motherfuckers come to my house like 14, 15 hours straight. Me and Vin Diesel are in our house playing basketball in my backyard for like 6 hours, drink in hand. Vin comes to my house and buys me Starbucks (mock voice) "Hey Ty, (holds up cup that I brought him) I brought you some Starbucks". Like what the fuck is going on right now, I'm telling you man. It's some other shit I never take it for granted. Here I am man. The only Olympic game I go to I get on the phone I have a conversation with Elaine Wynn, the first lady of Las Vegas from the Wynn Hotel. She invites me to the Olympics. We have dinner, I bring her to the set the next day. She invites me to the Olympic Games. I have the best seats in the house. I get Vin to come down, Ludacris was there, he ended up blessing my whole friends with tickets to the game, that's why I love Luda man he's just a giver and I'm here to witness the American basketball team win the gold medal and whup some ass. With Elaine, Vin, Ludacris and everyone and their momma. Like, what is going on right now. I could of paid to go to the game but the way I went was on some other shit and that's my world man. That's my world bro and that's my shit.

Q. Even Jamie Foxx should be jealous of you.

Jamie ‘aint jealous of me. There are definitely some worlds that Jamie needs to jump into. Jamie's got so many stories to tell.

Q. More importantly from your self-titled debut to now what remains your personal favorite album and song?

My favourites are the ones I love listening to as well as performing. When you experience the reactions of the fans to the songs. The feeling you get when you're on stage, when I do 'Stay' it's bar non. 'Stay', 'Sweet Lady', 'How You Gonna Act Like That' these are records that are going to be around for a long time. When they come on in concert it's like some shit you'll never see, it's like the Holy Ghost. When the intro for 'Sweet Lady' comes on (mock sings and cheers) I don't even know if they're in church yelling like that. If it looks like when these songs come on it takes these peoples problems away.

Q. Is it safe to say in five or ten years that 'Stay' could be as big as 'Sweet Lady'?

It's already there. It is and I'll tell you why. First of all 'Sweet Lady' technically is not as big a song as 'Stay'. 'Stay' was number one for eleven weeks'. 'Sweet Lady' got to number 3 but it still did a lot for women’s confidence and is a classic record that everyone loves. 'Stay' is a record that's going to be around for a long time. It's pretty scary.

Q. Although you're all different. The thing you Tank and Ginuwine share is that you represent that more mature side of R&B, singing about themes like settling down instead of the throw away stuff that won't be around in years. Can you tell us more about what sets you apart? 

You get in the vocal booth you put your heart on the mic and you just hope people can relate and identify to what it is. Whenever you do anything and it comes from your heart it's going to find hearts and connect with hearts. This is why Autotune-even though I've used it a couple of times- with Autotune there's a disconnect because you can't feel peoples soul sounding like a robot. People can't connect to that. So you know that's it on that.

Q. Is TGT going to follow in the footsteps of the classic nighties R&B acts like 112 or Jagged Edge and even going further back then that Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, etc.?

I don't really know if we can be compared to anybody. Naturally because Gearld Levertt, Johnny Gill and Keith Sweat did LSG before. We don't even compare to them. Now the concept of three solo artists doing a three can be compared, but they where a much more mature and older demographic. We're young gunners. We about to get that...

Q. Maybe you represent that mid-point-because you're all in your thirties-bridgin the gap between the younger and more mature generations?

The thing is we just don't compare. If you heard our songs there's some other shit going on right now dawg. It's not fair that this TGT album sounds this good. It's not fair. Because this isn't coming from an arrogant place I'm just speaking facts. Like if you look at all three of us that's going to get women to show up but it's not FAIR that our music sounds this good. It's almost expected that the three of us getting together with all this much hype, we'll end up getting together and doing an album that is trash and horrible. But this shit sounds SO good it's scary.

Q. You guys on Slim Thug's 'Let Me Grind' remix and 'Please Don't Go' and you're duet with Ginuwine on 'One Night Stand' have already shown great chemistry and am sure we can expect more.

Yeah it's definitely way different then that.

Q. All this hard work has really paid off congratulations on the success of Voltron Records and your recent award nominations? How does all this feel? I guess it motivates you to just keep going? 

You know what it's one of them things where you put your best foot forward and the rest is on God and the fans. You know I worked my ass off on that 'Open Invitation' album and I had to remove the spirit of doubt. You can't go into anything having any type of doubt in yourself. You have to just say 'fuck it, if nobody is checking for this, that's what it is'. People said, there where comments like 'this is not todays R&B', 'this is like R&B of the nighties' 'R&B is very different these days'. Well R&B today ‘aint selling. So what's missing is the R&B you used to love, the albums you used to love where you could press play and listen to top to bottom. Albums these days sound like mixtapes because they have 12 different producers and I wanted to get back to the formula. Like when Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis did Janet Jackson's whole album, like when Jermaine Dupri did Usher's whole album. This is the formula. All the Wyclef and Lauryn Hill albums.

Q. Like Timbaland producing Brandy's 'Afrodisiac' which was easily one of the best R&B albums of the last ten years.

I don't know if that was her best. When she got with Rodney Jerkins for the 'Full Moon' album that was way better in its entirety. They where classic fucking albums. One producer, one batch of songwriters and just take flight. For me that's the formula.

Q. Which artists past and present influence and inspire you?

People compare me to other artists and I listen to a lot of other artists. I don't get into the vocal booth to purposely sound like anyone else. I'm just me you know. Just me man at all times and I'm a self confessed weirdo. It always has such a negative connotation but I think weirdoes are the most forward thinking individuals. You know I've tweeted this before. There is no such thing as thinking outside the box in my mind there isn't a box. I'm on some other shit. I've left earth a long time ago. I'm on Google maps. Motherfuckers looking up at me, everybody down there doing the same shit, I'm on some other shit.

Q. Of course music and movies aren't your only fortes. You recently penned a very inspiring book 'How To Get Out Of Your Own Way' which congratulations was a New York Times bestseller. Can you describe what its like to inspire your fans in a different way and reach an even wider audience?

You know it's the most amazing thing man. First of all the timing of releasing that book was very important. Because there's a lot of people with the gift of the gab who just know how to talk a good game. You know people in the world respond to success. Statistics, numbers, results. I've never claimed to be the biggest star in the world. Nor do I think I'm interested. I don't like the pressure that comes with being a fucking megastar. Barely can move anywhere, can't go anywhere without being recognized, everyday, all day. It becomes this non stop feeding frenzy that becomes too much. I don't know if I want that always, always. So you know I just want to do me and be me and however far that goes and takes me, I'll take it.

Q. And now the 'Black Rose' book is coming with the double album what can you tell us about that?

'Black Rose' is in the embryo stage and where going to get that book in motion I'm very excited about that. I'm going to fly the woman who I wrote 'How To Get Out Your Own Way' to London so we can just try and get into it. It's going to be one of those real game changers. I'm excited. 'Black Rose' is going to be scary, that's going to be one of those books that have a flow and an energy to it like 'woo'. It's going to fuck people up.

Q. Is that what some of the video blogs you've posted on Twitter have been for?

We used a lot of that content for the 'Manology' book. Whenever I did a video these two girls that are beautiful would transcribe that and we'd use it for the book.

Q. You inspire a lot of people and we thank you but in and outside your industries who inspires you we know your close with R. Kelly, Will Smith, Michael Jordan and the Obama's?

You know I'm inspired by a lot of different people man in a lot of different areas. I'm inspired by people who think outside of the box. People who are unapologetically, boldly, doing their motherfucking thing period. Like, just do your thing. I'm a force I believe that, like the size of this building can't handle my thoughts. That's how I rock. I'm a giant in my mind that's how big my spirit is. If you don't have this type of mind state you're just average and I'm not average. So Denzel, Oprah, Will Smith, Steve Jobs, R. Kelly, Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg, I mean I just saw that trailer for that movie 'Lincoln'. Are you fucking kidding me son!? I'm ready for that Dr. King role because of that trailer. I got a lot to do. Let me tell you something man my biggest fear is dying. I don't fear anything but death and they say you don’t fear death and I'm not afraid of dying because of death. I'm afraid of dying because I got a lot to do man. I can't do shit if I'm gone. I don't want to die. That's why I'm kind of like a hypochondriac, as soon as I find myself under the weather man I go straight to the doctor. Fuck that. I'm feeling something in my chest (taps veins in his arm) man hook me up. Something ‘aint right. C'mon man.

Tyrese thank you it's been an absolute pleasure and really appreciated. I remember Ginuwine wrote in the thank you's of his 'Senior' album that "the game owes you". Things really are paying off now, I guess good things really do happen to those who work hard and patiently. I guess you won't have to sing 'Taking Forever' that much anymore hey!