Ben T. Y. Chijioke

It started, with the living legend – Gyedu Blay Ambolley, stringing words together. Rhythmically, cleverly to high life and Afrobeat.

Suns to moons, moons to suns, and then boarding school time. 2 hours from home in Accra Town to Somanya for 5 years. A likkle yute, for staycation to acquire discipline, burning the midnight oil and “akorla boni nsem” (naughtiness).

My rite of passage in shaping me, becoming an “abrantie borga” (dapper gentleman).

Saturday nights, entertainment night, u mo fix up n look sharp. Dressed to the nines to impress. The ladies go dey dere. So u mo look good.

Pressed, light blue shirt and khaki trousers. No creases please. Matching black socks with the big buckle shoes. Kama paa (very nice).

This night, a new form of music, pass my ears, small! Wreckx n Effect, Kris Kross, Missy Elliot. The House Party films, the groove, the dance. Hip hop landed on my lap, braap!

A local feel was needed to this African American, Latino invasion. Cue the blend of high life and boombap hippydihop. And then, I heard hip life – “Nightlife in Accra” by Reggie Rockstone.

I had always been on the jazzy, mellow, soul side of hip hop, music  – ‘Because I Got It Like That’ by the Jungle Brothers, comes to mind.

I cameback to London Town. Do you know what I mean bruv?

My ears egging, for some London, UK accents. Difference, expanding musical horizons, you get me!

One time on MTV Base, I think, before YouTube! One, was drawn to this brother.

In this video, his body buried in the sand and headnodding on the surface, at the beach! Telling me to ‘Wait a Minute’!

I am like, u wot mate! I didn’t say that really! And then – ‘Groovement’ on another channel.

Another day, whilst up and about on Oxford Street, the days of Tower Records. I popped into the bookstore, Borders or HMV, I think.

Browsing through the stacks of CDs. I saw the art work of this CD. And said, that’s it. Had to cop my first album – Upwards by the artist, TY.

The brothers music, resonated and I have been sold ever since. Positive, lyrical, uplifting and insightful. Checked his discography over the years and the rest is now history.

There was a time, me and a friend discussed at length, in his new black Fiat Stilo whip, the starting of a blog. Due to our mutual admiration for sound quality music and entertainment. This was, post our work stint that evening, at AuctionAssist.

Who, would have thought that one day, by way of blogging on Onthebuzz, with another gifted brother Wale, my comrade. I’d connect with TY via “Bookface”.

I respected and respect this Don, his works, catalogue and movements.

I worked with him once. On the music video for, “Eye’s Open”. With brothers – Bunny, Haroon, Solly, Steve (rap6), OG Rootz. Generally, good peoples on set. A vibe, it was!

Big Boss TY.

He, who said my words have a really poetic jankiness.
He, who saluted me, on Leather Lane when I was distributing flyers.
He, who encouraged me.
He, who nudged me, to hold the mic properly, at Unit31’s Salt Peanuts.

May your soul rest in peace and power, Sir! Condolences to the family and loved ones. The Jazz Refreshed movement. His music appreciators, locally and internationally. The many artists, that worked with T.Y., creating beautiful works.

He taught us expression with integrity. Express peoples, be it privately or publicly. Inside this time and outside this time.

Where it takes, you never know, just try! Keep your eyes open!

Blessings to all!