Bryson Tiller might be a star, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t learning from veterans who came before him, including JAY-Z.
Speaking to GQ about his influences, Pen Griffey opened up about his appreciation for the Roc Nation boss and why he admires him.
“JAY-Z would be, I feel like, an excellent mentor for me,” he said. “He’s not too much in the media. He’s a family man, has a girl, stuff like that. Even listening to his music, I’ve been listening to it and studying the way he says things. I love his deliveries on everything, his flows.”
The “Wild Thoughts” singer said that he “just really got into” Hov’s discography, thanks to RCA A&R Tunji Balogun, who put him onto JAY’s greatest works. “I’ve been going back and listening to all of them and they’ve been helping me out a lot,” he said. “I could go on and on about JAY-Z.”
One of the albums that Young Tiller has been studying is JAY’s latest, 4:44. “That album is amazing,” he said. “Listening to JAY-Z, like what he says on the album: ‘Y’all thought I was washed.’ But he’s far from it. Just hearing him be able to be married to a woman and being able to raise a family and still be cool as a rapper? That’s the thing that’s so amazing to me about him.”
Another icon Bryson looks up to is the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige. “Mary J. Blige always mixes hip-hop with R&B,” he said. “That’s exactly what I do with my music, just kind of in-between. Sometimes it feels more R&B than rap, sometimes it feels more rap than R&B, but most times I’m in between. I grew up listening to Mary J. Blige. ‘Real Love’ is amazing, but there’s another one–I forget the name of it, but it’s the sad one. It’s super sad. And the one where she’s like, ‘Not gonna cry no more.’ I love that one.”