More than meets the eye

More than meets the eye

2007 is looking really good for Tyrese. His new album Alter Ego is his first double album and his first rap album. The album appeared on the Billboard top 200, the R&B charts and the Rap charts. The first week sales of Alter Ego were the highest of his career. Now in 2007 Tyrese is in potentially the biggest film of his career; MichaelBay’s, Transformers. CraveOnline recently had a chance to talk to the Watts, California native about his music, film work and even about a certain Marvel Comics character.

CraveOnline: When did you start rapping?

Tyrese: I used to be in a rap group long before I started singing, called “Triple Impact”. I love singing. I love music in general. My dedication and passion from Hip-Hop has always been there, it just came out of me full force. It’s crazy, crazier than you could even imagine.

CraveOnline: What motivated you to make a Hip-Hop album?

Tyrese: Most people are motivated by money or materialistic things or reactions that they can get from the girls. I have been doing this for a while and all of those things I have. So you ask yourself, what reason is [there] to do it. It’s out of pure passion. There are things that I have never been able to sing about

CraveOnline: Was rapping liberating for you?

Tyrese: I’m so free right now man. I don’t care what the first week [Soundscan] numbers are, I’ve already won. I’ve made so many nonbelievers [in to] believers.

CraveOnline: A lot of people, myself included were skeptical about your rapping skills. But once I gave your mixtape a listen I realized that you were not playing around.

Tyrese: Even you, to be as honest as you just were. Before you pressed play you were already so negative about the transition of going from R&B and then when you heard it you were like; God damn, this [guy] is really coming with some shit.

CraveOnline:  I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard on the Best of Both Hoodz mixtape. Plus there is always room for more MC’s from Watts.

Tyrese: I just did a record with Kam, G. Malone and my other dude named Sticks out of Watts. All four of us was on one record, the record is called “The Watts Towers”.

After talking some more about the R&B to Rap transition, Tyrese takes himself off of speakerphone to tell me “this album is so f***** ridiculous. I’ve never said that about any movie or any album I’ve done”. Tyrese tells me that retailers like Wall-Mart, Target, Best Buy and CircuitCity are telling J-Records that they do not have enough copies of the album for consumers. For Clive Davis to be in a meeting right now chewing on people about this; this is the greatest complement ever. He could be in there cursing them out because the album ain’t selling.

Tyrese: To all my fans reading this interview. I love you. I love you for supporting me and it means the world to me.

CraveOnline: How do you feel about your progression as an actor since your first film, Baby Boy came out?

Tyrese: I’ve learned so much about the craft of acting. See there [are] actors and then there the people that really study [acting]. Now that I act, I actually go back and watch [my favorite movies] them and try to tap in to why I was so affected by what they did in the movie. I watch it and I study it and I stand in the shadows of great movies and I keep that in mind to create my own shadow.

CraveOnline:  Who’s your favorite actor?

Tyrese: Denzil Washington. He’s the reason that I started acting, when I saw him in [The] Hurricane. He went all the way, he was vulnerable. Then you have the more surfacy actors and actresses where you can tell that they are so caught up in being pretty that they don’t want to get raw. Did you ever see Waist Deep?

CraveOnline: No, I missed it.

Tyrese: See you f***ing up. You ain’t got the album and you ain’t seen the movie. This is a premature interview.

In my defense, the album came out the night before I did the interview. Tyrese then asked me to make sure I got the album and to contact him once I had heard the album and had seen his film Waist Deep. The CD came in the mail the very next day. Tyrese wanted me to let him know what I thought about the film because he “really tapped in to some Denzil shit in that movie”. Gibson added, “I don’t want to be like Denzil, I am just going to try to interpret some of what he does in his movies that affects me”.

CraveOnline: Were you apprehensive about doing your first film?

Tyrese: I didn’t want to do Baby Boy. [Director] John Singleton punked me. He forced me to do it; he came to my house with the script. Tupac had just passed on about two months [prior] and he came to me because he had Tupac in mind. So when he approached me I was like, those shoes are way to big fill. But I did it, I put my head to it and I pulled through it.

CraveOnline:  So let’s talk about Transformers. How was that experience?

Tyrese: It was incredible. There was not one day that I showed up on that movie set and what I was exposed to didn’t blow my mind.

CraveOnline: Tell me about your role in the movie.

Tyrese: My character’s name is Epps. I am what you would call a combat controller. My [job] is to communicate with all of the aircraft; any Blackhawk’s or any B2 Stealth Bombers or anything that has to do with aircraft.

Tyrese quickly jumps in to his Sgt. Epps character and begins to give me flight information. We are Alpha 2-7, 3 Degrees. Nine minutes north latitude…

Tyrese: I had to do that real fast cadence and it takes so long to learn that shit [that] it never leaves your mind.

CraveOnline: When did you finish shooting the film?

Tyrese: We wrapped about two months ago.

CraveOnline: This being your first “effects” movie, was it difficult or strange acting in that environment?

Tyrese: Actually, as difficult as it appeared to be it was pretty regular within all of that difficult shit. It’s not like they said put this green suit on and stand there like Tickle Me Elmo. It was the surroundings. It was about 40-50 foot Transformers in front of us that they built.

CraveOnline: So they are not just using CGI.

Tyrese: No, they had about five real Transformers. Bumblebee, Optimus Prime was real. It was a gang of [them], they had Megatron.

CraveOnline: Let me ask you about a movie that you have been rumored to be involved with. Are you going to do the Luke Cage movie for Marvel?

Tyrese: If they get the script right. Right now me and John Singleton are on standby waiting on them to get the screenplay right so we can do what we do.

CraveOnline: Last question. What is next after the album drops and the movie is out, what are you going to be doing?

Tyrese: I’m just going to go on tour with Fantasia (from American Idol) and I might be going [on tour] with Jamie Foxx after that. Then we [are] trying to go out [on tour], me Game, Akon and Bone Thugs and Harmony. I’m just going to be on the road, forever.

CraveOnline: Well Mr. Gibson, thank you for your time and I will be checking out that album.

Tyrese: Hey man listen, you’re gonna remember I said, I gave you my best. This is my best R&B album. This Hip-Hop album is a lot better than a lot of the shit floating around on these shelves. I dug deep on there, trust me.