interview BLACK TY (AKA TYRESE) - Alter Ego | Review By: Eddie Gurolla

Release Date : December 12 2006
Label : J-Records
Rating: 3.5/5


Dub Quotable: With a solid but sometimes lagging R&B disc, and a promising first attempt from Black Ty, “Alter Ego” delivers if you’re an open-minded fan of R&B and hip-hop.
Tyrese Gibson has many talents. He’s an R&B singer, actor, model, television host, and rapper. ‘Wait - a rapper?’ That’s what plenty of fans exclaimed when Tyrese announced his plans for a new double album after leaving the music scene for 4 years.

The idea was novel - Tyrese would remain R&B rooted on one disc, while on the other he would embody his latest persona, rapper Black Ty. Now that the aptly titled “Alter Ego” is in stores, listeners get a chance to hear what the menacing Black Ty has to say, while being treated to some new material from the familiar R&B nice guy Tyrese.

For fans concerned about the shift from R&B to hardcore rap, Tyrese starts the album in safer territory; with the slow jam “One.” On the pleasant ballad, Mr. Gibson makes a pledge to “be good with just one girl.” This coo is sure to please the ladies. However, if one is expecting the album’s pace to heighten from there, they will be disappointed. The R&B element of “Alter Ego” is slow and bedroom-oriented. Curiously absent are the up-tempo party jams that made Tyrese’s other albums so enjoyable, such as “Nobody Else,” and “Just A Baby Boy.” Nonetheless there is plenty of quality music offered here. Lil Jon’s “Turn Ya Out” delivers a delicate instrumental concealing a hefty baseline and funky guitar licks. The result is a soft R&B track worthy of car rotation. Later, the emotional piano chords of super producer Bryan-Michael Cox compliment Tyrese’s smoky vocals on “Gotta Get You.” While this disc suffers from repetitiveness on filler like “Better Than Sex,” rhythm and blues fans will be satisfied.

Switching over to Black Ty’s rap disc will shock some. Gone are the sensitive lyrics and melodic tones, replaced by rambunctious party anthems. The disc kicks off with the war-cry of “I Salute.” This is the first time we hear Black Ty rap, and the song is a worthy display of his talent. The artist dominates with his aggressive, nonchalant flow, spouting off witty lines such as “rap niggas was singing, I figured I’d give it a try.” Simply put, Black Ty is all about brags like these – a perfect foil for the clean cut R&B icon we have known for so long. This flamboyant persona shines on tracks like “Get It In,” a club-destined jam starring production by Scott Storch and a great verse from Method Man. On the track, Ty drops the female baiting line “If you ugly, I ain’t fuckin’ with you.” Pimpin’ prevails on “Get Low,” featuring the daunting line up of Too $hort, Snoop Dogg, and Kurupt. Ty manages to hold his own against these veterans, and everyone delivers sharp verses. On the relatively mellow “Ghetto Dayz,” Black Ty and ‘Young Gotti’ trade recollections about their childhoods over a typical West Coast instrumental. With The Game jumping in for an appearance and Jelly Roll on the boards, this track will surely please West Coast heads.

However, Ty doesn’t stick to the West blueprint throughout the album. When he does tamper the results sound somewhat uninspired. “U Scared,” featuring David Banner and Lil Scrappy, exemplifies this. The song is enjoyable, but it sounds like every other crunk single from the last 3 to 4 years. The same could be said of the redundant Mannie Fresh collaboration, “What It Is.”

With a solid but sometimes lagging R&B disc, and a promising first attempt from Black Ty, “Alter Ego” delivers if you’re an open-minded fan of R&B and hip-hop. If you’re not a fan of both genres, you’re definitely going to be missing out on the full experience of this unique double album. The project is ultimately good enough to warrant your purchase, even if the discs aren’t sold separately.


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