Tottenham’s own Ti2bs has worked alongside some of the biggest and the best in the industry. He has already released 7 mixtapes and one album, as well as making an appearance on Wu Tang production legend, RZA’s, recent project, The World According To RZA. In the lead up to dropping his forthcoming mixtape, SuperTi2bs, the MC chatted to SB.TV’s Fiona Guest about his experiences, the soul in his music, and what hip-hop means to him…
Can you tell us where the name Ti2bs came from?
The name comes from the main character in the classic film, In The Heat Of The Night. Sidney Poitier played a character called Mr Tibbs. People used to say that I looked like him and it just stuck. I changed the spelling to Ti2bs to make the name my own and gave it a personal acronym, so now it means, Talented Intellect Beyond Britain’s System or Typical Ignorant Black Brother Stressed, depending on how I feel that day!
What does coming from Tottenham mean to you?
Supporting Arsenal! Naah seriously, it means living in a multi-cultural environment with a lot of vibes but also a lot of tension.
What is the main purpose of making hip hop for you?
Self expression. I find writing both therapeutic and fun. It helps me understand myself.
Which artists did you listen to growing up?
I listened to a lot of 2Pac and Nas and still do. Also Wu Tang Clan, I had all of their albums. My parents are Rastas so there was always some roots playing. The first song I remember liking was Bam Bam by Toots and the Maytals.
As a UK hip hop artist, where would you say you’ve drawn most of your inspiration from – the UK or the US?
I would say US artists, mainly Tupac Shakur, shaped how I approach writing. In terms of dealing with the industry and performance I would say UK man like Rodney P and Skinnyman taught me a lot.
What would you say makes your sound distinctive?
My motto is “from the soul” because I use my emotions to tell my story. It’s not about what I’m wearing or what I’ve got, it’s about how I feel and relating that to others, because we all got feelings.
How would you describe your relationships with the other artists in both The One Crew and Mud Family?
Cool! Former One Crew member, Sway, features on Black Dynamite, a new track which is taken from my forthcoming mixtape SuperTi2bs. And I have worked with Sincere and Super Novar on various projects over the years too.
What can you tell us about your latest mixtape?
It’s the return of Ti2bs … SUPERTI2BS! It narrates where I’ve been and the musical landscapes indicate where I’m going. It’s very different from my previous work. It features Sway, Stylah and D.Ablo, to name a few, and we’ve got beats on there from Show ‘N’ Prove, Yo Video and more…
You’ve toured extensively with the legend, Rodney P. How is working with him?
One of the first things Rodney taught me was “what happens on tour stays on tour,” hence we’ve had a lot of fun! On a serious note, he is one of the most versatile MCs I’ve ever heard because he just puts his stamp on anything he touches. He taught me about vibes and constancy.
How did your feature on The World According To RZA come about, and what did that mean to you?
I was working and living with Skinnyman at the time he got the call. Originally they asked for Chester P but I don’t think he was available so Skinny told them about me. That was a tipping point for me as it got on to MTV. Like I said I was a big Wu Tang fan and went to the session in my Wu Wear leather. Meeting and just chilling with the RZA is still one of my fondest memories.
What’s next in the pipeline after the mixtape?
Hopefully a lot of live work, a few collaborations, another mixtape and then the album. You can keep to date with me at ti2bs.com.
Words by Fiona Guest