STRUGGLES, MOTIVATION... I WILL NEVER FAIL
Detroit native Ty Cage is serious about her city, her pen and most of all, her love for Jesus. Taking us from her humble perspectives on life to her ideas about Christian hip-hop, we get to understand how this Jesus driven musician approaches a dark world as a vessel of Light. Check it out!
Is Ty short for something else?
Ty is short for Tyeshia. My real name is Tyeshia Howard, and that is exactly where Ty came from.
Where did Cage come from?
Cage, it's a long story. When I first began to rap, I was about eighteen years old, and there was this rap that I made up for church. It was one of the first ones. We had a song called, Just Rock With It. Basically, I came in, and the first thing I said was, "A caged monster/ rip 'em up/ split 'em." So, those were lyrics in my song. Then, after a while, my pastor just started calling me Caged Monster, because I said it. Even though I wasn't referring to myself, they took it as me doing so. I was called Caged Monster for a good three or four years, and then I said I want to drop the Monster, because I'm a little too old. So, that's where Ty Cage came from.
Were you raised in the church?
I actually did grow up in the church. I got saved when I was eleven.
Where are you from?
My roots are definitely in Detroit, born and raised.
Who do you look like most in your family?
My mom, I'm her twin. I look just like my mom. Sometimes, my aunt gets us mixed up. If we have a hat on, she can't tell the difference between us.
Was your mom raised in the church?
No, actually she wasn't raised in the church. Her mom went to church, but she didn't really join the church. I'm not really sure what age she was when we joined our current church, maybe twenty seven or twenty eight.. and we've been there ever since.
What was it like being raised in the church?
Being raised in the church is the struggle of being perfect. Then, when you're raised in the church, you don't really have access to the other things that other people have access to. So sometimes, when those things are presented or you might see some things like going out with your friends to get a drink or something like that.. Those aren't things that you necessarily have access to. Then, when you get out there, you're like aww man. And then, when you go to church, unfortunately, you get judged a little bit in the church before you get judged by outsiders. It's a struggle to be perfect because you know everybody feels like you should know better, and you do.. So, it's really hard. Then, you have the conviction thing when it comes to God. It's almost like, you're afraid to mess up, and if you do mess up, you're in a place where you don't even know what to do, because you were suppose to be perfect. You weren't suppose to mess up. There's no such thing as being human. There's more leniency on people that may have not been necessarily raised in the church.
How do you stay close to God?
My favorite scripture is Luke 1:37. Nothing is impossible with God. I always believed that I could do anything no matter what I'm going through, no matter what's going on, the issues that i might face in my life.. I know that I can do anything with God. Nothing is impossible for me. Whatever I wanna do, whatever dreams I have, whatever goals..nothing can stop me. I just stay going to that scripture, and that has helped me, a lot. There should be no time in life when you feel like you have it all together. You need Jesus, because you're not perfect. I'm not ashamed that I'm not the perfect person. I don't necessarily have everything in my life all together, because His strength is made perfect in my weakness. If I felt like I was perfect. I would start feeling like I deserve things. I don't feel that way. God is taking His time. I'm ok with His process.
How did your style of rapping develop?
I played basketball. That was my number one priority in life. I used to eat, sleep, dream basketball. That was my thing. So, I felt that was my gift. I never really wrote or had a desire to rap..I played ball in high school. Then, I walked onto a college team at Jackson State University. I played for a year. The second year, a new coach came, and the coach that actually brought me on to the team was fired. So, she (the new coach) told me there was going to be a re-tryout process. I went through so much to make the team. I felt like, why should I have to tryout again? I earned my stripes to be there. At that point, I was down. I was depressed about it. I didn't want to have to go through that same process that I already went through a year ago, but I went to the tryout again. I wasn't confident. So, I had a bad tryout. It was over from there. After that, I was so hurt. I started writing, putting the pain in my pen. Next thing you know, yeah, Ty Cage.
How long ago was that?
It's been about four years. If it wasn't for that, I don't think that I'd be able to rap the way that I do. I wouldn't have the desire to even be a rapper if I wouldn't have let basketball go. I would still be trying to play ball. It was seasonal, making me understand faith. I had to believe and understand His process.
Who inspires your flow?
Well, I love Eve. I can't even lie. My mom used to have a cd with her on there, and I used to listen to it. I learned every word. We had a karaoke machine, and my mom would let me go up there and rap it when her friends were around. So, that's when I first heard a female rap, and it was kinda like man, she's dope. Now, I listen to Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and of course I love Lecrae, Andy Mineo. I listen to all of them so that I can bridge gaps. It's because a lot of people feel that Christian hip hop is kind of lame and they can't relate to it. There are a lot of scripture rappers, that I don't have anything against, but you have to be able to break the Word down to people that don't know it. The hospital is not for people that are well. It's for the sick. So, why would I make a cd saying a bunch of scriptures for people that don't necessarily know scripture? I still listen to a little secular rap just so that I can relate it to what they're talking about. I'm not gonna change my flow or conform it to the world, but I can keep up and compete with those people. That's the way that I do it.
Have you discussed rap with your church elders?
I haven't. It hasn't been controversial for me. I really do believe that I bridge the gap, because I have the elders in the church listening to my music. There's a bishop named, Bishop Eric Lloyd, he says, "everybody's not gonna get saved on, Swing Low Sweet Chariot." Some people are traditional and stuck in their ways. That's why you have to live for God and not man, because if we live for man we'll miss out on what God wants for us to do. He's not telling us to be like the people that were before us. Our generation is different. So, we have to be different.
How do you want your music to change the landscape of Christian hip hop?
I just want it to be relatable. I just want to bridge gaps. I want the young and the old to be able to put my music in, in the car and they all can jam to it, and they all like it, and they all can relate to the words. I want it to change hearts. I want it to change minds. I want some of the things I say to be applied to their lives.
Hurricane or Blizzard
Panera or Chipotle
iPhone or Android
Snapchat or Instagram
Trump or Bush (?)
Old Testament or New Testament
Do you freestyle battle?
I've never freestyle battled. I actually can freestyle. That's crazy huh? Like if I freestyle, it's really goofy and it doesn't rhyme, and it's terrible lol. I just don't do it. If I'm in the booth and I hear a beat, I'll freestyle it in my head. I can go word for word in my head and write it, but the words coming out my mouth.. yeah, no. I'll be thinking about something different and then the words won't come out. I suck at freestyling. I'll stick to writing.
"Birthdays was the worst days/ now I celebrate with Christ, I'm in first place"