By Demented Toddler

Live hip hop is notoriously hard to pull off – rapping over DAT instrumentals of album tracks doesn't convey much of an artist's musical skill, whilst leaving all the pressure to entertain squarely on their shoulders. On the other hand, attempts to incorporate bands have often produced half-baked results, with live versions falling far short of the quality of the album tracks. Be grateful then that for his four date residency at the Jazz Cafe, Ty appears with a superb band (who, incidentally, all appear to be wearing his glasses), delivering arrangements which not only do justice to the original tracks, but often rework material in ways which will no doubt please existing fans, and send initiates running to the nearest record shop.

Ty arrived onstage with an endearing mix of swagger and awkwardness, opening with Look 4 Me, his confidence growing and delivery improving through Walk With Your Ego and Kill It (some good quality audience participation here), and by the time Ha Ha began, everyone was far too excited. So, Ty called a halt to proceedings, delaying our pleasure, and tried a cheesy "soul" version with a little help from his backing singers. Little interludes like this gentle parody of Where Is the Love? hip hop (and another skit later, the sorry tale of his first colour television) gave everyone time to breathe, and served as a reminder that Ty isn't just a great musician, but a great personality.

It was nice to hear some of the best material from the first album – Break The Lock, and a version of The Tale. Between the awkward shows and now he's added a chorus to his Ms-Fat-Booty-a-like story of seduction: Ty moans "I hate this song", between verses, while Eska Mtungwuzi and Sewuese Abwa sing back "I love this song!" – and he reluctantly continues. Fingers crossed for a performance of Jealousy later in the month…

Having got off to a fairly auspicious start by anyone's standards, Ty just kept getting better and better. He pulled off some impressive verbal gymnastics on Groovement, made the crowd rub their pot bellies along with him and guitarist Dave Okomo, and demonstrated the Aberdeen booty dance (don't ask). The band more than delivered on Do You Want More, and the recent single Wait A Minute, before exceeding all expectations in a brilliant finale, a funky-as-hell rendering of We Don't Care. According to admittedly scant information from Big Dada, some recordings have been made of Ty's live performances – these shows should prove that they are worthy of release in their own right.

The shows should vary from week to week with guest appearances and support scheduled from DJ Barry King, Alison Evelyn, Shoutman and Carl McIntosh of Loose Ends, so there's no excuse for not going religiously every Friday, like an Avid Merrion of hip hop.
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