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Mild-mannered British rapper Ty lacks the ragga flow and quick patois of most rappers from the Big Dada label; he's more the big brother, with clever, mature themes that commonly go far beyond the usual shot-callers involved in rap music. Born Ben Chijioke in London to Nigerian immigrants, Ty began recording during the mid-'90s, and appeared on tracks produced by IG Culture's New Sector Movement, MC Mell 'O', DJ Shortee Blitz, and DJ Pogo. He also hosted a hip-hop night called Lyrical Lounge, and worked with the Ghetto Grammar poetry workshop. His Ty debut came on Big Dada in late 2000 with the single "Break the Lock." His first full-length, Awkward, appeared early the following year and earned kudos from dozens of musical sources. His sophomore album, Upwards, dropped on Big Dada in late 2003 and received numerous end-of-year honors. An American release came the following spring. Closer, released in 2006, featured collaborations with heroes De La Soul and Arrested Development's Speech, while 2010's Special Kind of Fool -- his first release for BBE -- involved input from over a dozen guest vocalists. ~ John Bush