Tyrese has been acclaimed as one of the most prolific, powerful, also confounding artists of the day with a range that identifies him as the consummate Renaissance man. Moving from movies to Hip-Hop to R&B, the Watts representative has managed to thrive, all the while, keeping deep roots with the people. Musically, he has not been as vocal, but all of that stopped with the release of “Legendary,” a song that pairs him up with Cee-Lo Green. Together they tackle the rampant scourge of police brutality that plagues America. Visually, “Legendary” is stunning as it re-examines Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin and others that have been murdered in brutish abuses of authority.
AllHipHop’s Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur talked to Tyrese and got his take on Social Justice as well as himself as an outspoken artist with much to lose for fighting racism. Check out Tyrese, live and direct.
AllHipHop: I gotta salute you. I want to ask you, first of all, you’ve come back to music with “Legendary.” It’s a thought-provoking and a deep, deep song. Talk to us about what made you do this now. Talk about the song a little bit and why it was so heavy on your heart.
Tyrese: Well, the thing is, us as recording artists, we got this huge gaping hole inside of us. We’re competitive. We’re insecure. We’re always chasing relevancy. We want to be on the charts. We don’t want to disappear. If we’re going through some s###, we don’t even want to go through some s### without releasing a song about it.
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You know And which is contributed to a whole lot of trash out here. Rather you saying a rap and people just in the studio not really diving into…focusing on the culture or the craft. And that’s no disrespect and I’m not calling out names even though I am known for doing that because I’m too real to fake it. The truth is I have felt no need to do music. I have felt no need to make any statements or do anything on any level. George Floyd’s death gave me life.
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I don’t care about where we land on the charts. I don’t care how many single sales are sold. I don’t care about people but And talking about Tyrese. I did this on behalf of the victims’ families.
ALSO READ: Cop Who Killed George Floyd Released From Prison.
And I jumped out there to do this song and create this uncomfortable visual experience where we’ve heard all the stories about Brianna Taylor. But supposedly there was no bodycam footage. No apartments had cameras, no cars venue to police squads who pulled up and murder this innocent woman in her apartment. Everything we’ve heard about stories of what actually happened to Breonna Taylor is now featured, a little small peek in this “Legendary” song and video. And I said to myself something which is very uncomfortable and there is no media training them prepare you for how to say what I’m about to say.
I’m not a part of the LBGT community, but I do care. And I am in tune with the sensitivities of what they deal with and have to live with every day. I’m not Asian, but there’s a spike in domestic violence and the aggressive abuse and blatant racism that’s happening towards Asian people, because this coronavirus supposedly came from Wu Han and Asia. I’m not Jewish, but I am worried and concerned about the spike in anti-Semitism where people are in the synagogue innocently praying and I Donald Trump has motivated racist white bigots and evil people to start killing and abusing and doing bad things to innocent Jewish people.
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The problem with living in this Black skin every single day is there is a general of people are here who have decided I don’t care about Black topics, Black issues or any of the sensitivities of what it is to live in the life of being a Black and Brown person in this country. And so as I did this song and this video, specifically on behalf of the victim, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin, I did something that was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done ever in my life. Because I’d like to be the voice for the voiceless. I’d like to create a stage and the platform and use my God-given stage of influence to shed light on these and justices. And so rather you’re a pastor giving a speech at a podium. Rather you’re an on-air personality or like you a man of significant in Hip-Hop culture. It is our job duty and responsibility to use by any means necessary, as I brother Malcolm X, would have said, to shed light on the falls and shortcomings of what’s going on in this world, that Black and Brown people continue to be on the receiving end.