Passion is so much deeper than the surface for Tyrese, who is currently attempting to exploit every possible talent he has. His new album, Alter Ego, is a two disc set—one contains his familiar yet brand new butter smooth R&B jams, while the other introduces his grittier half a.k.a. Black-Ty. With A-list guest stars and confident rhymes, Alter Ego aims to conquer new realms as well as prove that this classy crooner isn’t just about kisses and romance.
If you were not a musician, what would you be?
I would probably just be the CEO of some type of corporate company. I think I’m creative and smart and I know how to keep things brand new. I think one business opportunity would lead to another.
You’re a Capricorn and they’re supposed to be very practical and ambitious. You’re creative too. How do you balance both sides?
It just kind of happens. I’m definitely more creative. I’m very impulsive, very spontaneous and very last minute. If I feel it, or if I see it, I want it and I have to get it.
What’s a moment that inspired you musically?
I had sex with this girl one time and I got up and wrote a song about it. It was a song on my last album called “On Top Of Me.”Â
What’s your dream role when it comes to acting?
My dream role would be to play somebody else’s life. Somebody that’s either dead or alive like Ray where you have to totally remove your own instincts, the way you feel, and actually become somebody else. People feel good about me as an actor, but I still put my own touch on what a character is and make it my own. But if you play somebody’s life, you can’t make it your own. You gotta be that person and that is kind of what I’m looking forward to.
Being raised in California, how did 2Pac and Snoop influence you as far as rap?
For the real MCs that I respect out there who aren’t just rapping about jewelry and cars and women, I feel like hip-hop for the real MCs is like a biography. You really feel like you know who they are from what they’re rapping about. Unfortunately, singers that are out there aren’t really singing about who they are. They just sing great records. A lot of times, singers don’t even write their own songs. They’ll sing it and the female fans will say, “Awww, he is so this…”Â or “He is so that…”Â He ain’t that! He’s nowhere near what he’s singing about. Hip-hop is raw. I’ve never really been able to tell my story. I do have those feelings or I would never sing the record. I do love songs like “Lately”Â where I’m saying, “Have I told you I love you lately?”Â It’s the way I feel but I still feel like the direction of my R&B career has put me in a box. That’s why Black-Ty was created. Black-Ty can say things that Tyrese would never get away with.
What are you bringing to the rap game?
I’m bringing me—raw. I’m like an orange peeled. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable on the mic. I’m not afraid to tell people who I am and have a head nodding at the same time. I’ve been rhyming longer than I’ve been singing. And I’m spiritual so I’ve never been one to question the order of God’s blessings. I’ve seen a lot of actors, rappers, producers come and go. For me, I thank God for who I am and the position I’m in right now. If I could change anything about my life, I wouldn’t change anything. Also, I’m not defined by the piece of jewelry on my neck. You’re not going to like me more because of a piece of jewelry. It’s not that deep.
How are you different from your peers?
I know people that are arrogant and cocky over a single they put out four years ago; they think they can go to a club and still get in. To me, my mentality is very simple. I’m not doing this for the money or any extra girls. I’m not bling’ed out. I got more money than a lot of people, but I don’t wear my bank account on my personality.
A lot of your songs are based around this concept of “ghetto love.”Â Describe that term.
Ghetto love is when you’re just raw and rough. Ghetto love is when you’re not really thinking about a table you might break—you just go. It’s passion. It’s just about needing what you need. I’m passionate… I’m known for doing full court pressure on anything I believe in. I don’t live for tomorrow. I live for today.