Florida’s nickname as the “Sunshine State” has quickly become known as the “Gunshine” state, especially in the Hip Hop world. The tip of the Panhandle has become a haven for trigger happy rappers and Jacksonville’s Tyte gives us a hometown perspective of why. The “Superbad” wunderkind sat down with TheSource.com to chop it up about his humble beginnings in Jacksonville, the turning point in his short music career and why Florida rappers like Kodak Black and YMW Melly are celebrated in the 305/786.
TheSource.com: I read that you spent a lot of your life in the drug game, but give me a bit of your history in your own words.
Tyte: I come from Tallahassee, Florida. The Florida capital. Coming from where I come from is only slanging drugs or using drugs. That’s all that’s around. A lot of us don’t make it out. I know it’s common anywhere, but I feel like in Florida, it’s a different breed. Growing up, we lived in some of the toughest areas in Tallahassee, Florida. Me coming as an only child, a lot of people don’t look at it like that. I live with my mom and my pops and some places were better than others. We didn’t have the support a family of four or five would have like a grandmother. I t was just us three. I had to get with it or get gone. That’s how a lot of stuff started for me. The music was always like a getaway for me. My pops and my uncle used to do music, but I started gravitating towards it at about six years old. As any kid would have their fantasy world, the music was my fantasy world.
TheSource.com: How old were you when you were in the drug game?
Tyte: Around 15, 16. Pretty much, my older uncles were either robbing or trappin’. As or me, I had my little parts in it, but I seen it more than I did it. It was something that I couldn’t get away from. That was pretty much the environment I grew up in.
TheSource.com: What year did you meet DJ Sarge?
Tyte: 2011 I met DJ Sarge and he died in 2013. His auntie used to cut me hair and this was just around the time when I started high school and I was grinding big time. I was at every party, every “let out”…just anything involving bringing out new artists. I was underage and Sarge was like the number one DJ in my city. He was the go-to guy in my city. I gave him one of my CDs one day and we kicked it from there. That’s where me and him kicked off from.
TheSource.com: What was the circumstances surrounding his death?
Tyte: It was a suicide.
TheSource.com: As someone that was close to him, why di you feel that he took his own life?
Tyte: It was stuff going on in his life that people shouldn’t have to go through. He had a child at the time that was sickly and things that was going on in his family…he wasn’t right in the head hisself. He was one of those people that when the pressure gets on them, it really hits. You have some people that can shake it, but unfortunately he wasn’t strong minded like that. The main cause that I knew of was his child and family issues and stuff like that.
TheSource.com: How did the release and success of “Superbad” change your approach to the game?
Tyte: It changed it dramatically. I was now one of the kids who could actually rap. When you think of Florida, you think of Plies, Kodak, you know, Trick Daddy, but to me, you know it’s just something that you play in the club. And no disrespect to Trick Daddy, but you just don’t hear vocals anymore. Superbad was one of those records that actually showed them that this kid can really rap. This kid can really spit some bars and the same time that’s the environment that I’m talking about. It’s facts. That’s the environment that I’m coming from. Everything that I said in that freestyle, I know of it, I did it or someone around me is doing it right now.
TheSource.com: With the murder of XXXtentacion, the legal troubles of Kodak and the brutal murders by YNW Melly, why do you feel that violence has engulfed the Hip Hop community like that?
Tyte: People want to know about it. It’s one thing to hear about it and see it on your local news channel and stuff like that…Back in the days, when you would hear about things like that, it would be older adults. 25 plus or every now and then it’s a child involved, but to them it’s inspiring…fascinating.
TheSource.com: In what way is prison sentences for murder charges “inspiring”?
Tyte: Think about it. The era that I’m coming up in, that’s all we know. I was up in age the first time I left my city. Anything somebody tells you like, ‘you can go off somewhere and make millions, that’s supernatural to us. ‘I wanna be the biggest gangster. I wanna be the biggest shooter.’ That’s all we know. That’s al we hear. We’re not in an environment where you go off to school and you can become whatever and when you hear about stuff like that, we push that to the curb like, ‘we not tryna hear that.’ I don’t mean it in a good way that it’s inspiring but to some, it’s like, ‘Damn, I wanna be in that predicament.’