The first time he ever cut a record, 20-year-old rapper TyFontaine came up with a track that landed rotation on a major local radio station. Originally from the D.C. area, Ty had stepped into the studio mostly as an experiment, then ended up kicking off the rapid rise of his music career.“
The sneaker store I was working at had a studio in the back, and a lot of rappers would come through there,” says Ty, who was a senior in high school at the time. “I got a free session because my friend was the head engineer, and I wrote this song called ‘Precision’ that won a contest and got played on the radio for two weeks. After that, it was just about changing things up and progressing to the highest point I could get to.”
Now based in L.A. and signed to Internet Money Records/10KProjects, Ty is making his label debut with 1800—a mixtape that shows off his sharper bars, tighter flows, and more complex hooks. Made with producers like Jetson made (DaBaby, Roddy Ricch), the project offers everything from the ’80s-inspired groove of “Moments” to the massively catchy melodies of “Fetish” to the mosh-pit energy of “Huh.” “There’s a whole spectrum, because I’m always trying to go into different sounds,” says Ty. “After I make one type of song, I don’t ever want to make the same thing again.”
In the making of 1800—whose title references the concept of infinity—Ty expanded on the lyrical prowess he first brought to “Precision.” “When I started out I was mostly rapping about surface-level shit, but then I realized I had a lot more to talk about,” he says.
“I started tapping into all these different experiences I’ve gone through in life, and I started going into the studio almost every day.”Once he’d finished high school, Ty headed to New York City to study at St. John’s University and immediately linked up with a fellow rapper from his hometown. The two began working together in a Brooklyn studio, with Ty often recording until dawn and then heading back to the studio the very next night. “I knew that if I wanted to do music, then going into the studio was going to teach me a lot more than going to classes,” he says. Dropping out after his first year at St. John’s, Ty returned home and kept making music, soon connecting with Internet Money producer SidePCE(Juice WRLD, Young Thug)through an Instagram livestream. After Side PCE sent him a pack of beats, Ty made a song called “Imagine” and posted an excerpt to Instagram, quickly catching the attention of InternetMoney founder Taz Taylor and inking his record deal by the start of 2020.
Already at work on his next mixtape, Ty continues to push for total honesty in his lyrics. “I feel like the best music comes from being vulnerable and tapping into things from your past that you’re maybe not proud of because that’s what people can learn from,” says Ty. “The feeling of making a good song is better than anything, and I want to make songs that people can hear and relate to or vibe to, something that people really cherish so that it becomes a part of their life forever.”