TI.JEAN tour dates


Not unlike the story of Hip-Hop itself, Ti’Jean’s journey began in Jamaica. Born in Brooklyn, NY, about a decade after Kingston native Kool Herc threw his fateful back-to-school party in the Bronx, Ti’Jean’s own Jamaican-American identity would be formative in both his upbringing and musical influences. “I’m a dual citizen. I was born in Brooklyn, but I’m very Jamaican culturally, and my whole family’s Jamaican. Me, my brother, and my cousin were the first generation born in America.” 

Despite his Jamaican ancestry and his Brooklyn birthplace, Ti’Jean was raised in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, a suburban enclave where poverty and affluence exist side by side in the shadow of the Nation’s Capital. “It was amazing to grow up there, and I’m very appreciative of it now,” says Ti’Jean. “It was a place where I had choices. I saw someone who was getting money illegally driving a Benz that looked like me. But then my dentist looked like me and drove a Benz too.”

This confluence of cultures gave Ti’Jean a unique perspective on the world evident in his music. “I knew the greatness of Africa from the beginning,” he says. “Jamaicans are very connected to Ethiopia and West Africa, so it’s always been a part of me. And on the street in Brooklyn, a few of my cousins were dabbling in the 5% Nation [of Gods and Earths]. I grew up with a dynamic where I love everybody, but I still have knowledge of myself.”

Ti’Jean’s musical influences are just as varied as his cultural background. “Any given day in my house growing up you could hear classical, you could hear jazz, you could hear Sade, you could hear the Beatles, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson,” he recalls. Playing the trumpet and drums in school gave him insight into how music was made, and like many hip-hop artists before him, he was introduced to his chosen genre by an older sibling. “My brother put me onto a lot of amazing hip hop when I was younger. That’s when I got obsessed and realized that I had a voice and people who thought like me and said things that I was going through.”

One groundbreaking album, in particular, inspired a young Ti’Jean to pursue creating his own art. “My brother was playing me Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the 36 Chambers, and I heard the beats, I heard the rhymes, I heard everything. That was the real moment when I said I want to do that and I’m not gonna stop till I’m good at that.” As he began to find his own voice as an artist, he sought out opportunities to learn about all aspects of the music industry. 

He spent a year working at WPGC 95.5, DC’s longtime radio home for hip-hop and R&B. He also headed back to NY to work at the legendary Bad Boy Entertainment, clocking hours with their street team, in their marketing department, and in Daddy’s House studio where he witnessed the hit-making process firsthand. He also completed a stint at the Institute of Audio Research for recording engineering & production, giving him a well-rounded perspective on technical and artistic aspects of the creative process. 

Channeling these experiences into his own art resulted in national recognition for his first mixtape, done in collaboration with DJ Vlad. In 2011, he collaborated with G-Unit and Shade 45’s DJ Whoo Kid on his second project Love & Rebellion: The Mixtape. Ti’Jean’s hard work culminated in 2013 when he released his first independent album, Hall of Mirrors. In addition to being his most well-rounded project to date, he also got features from hip-hop legends like Pusha T and Scarface. 

But as great as it was to be validated by some of the biggest names in hip-hop, Ti’Jean felt like there was more to do. “It’s an amazing experience. That’s when I really felt like this was the beginning of something, but I also felt like it was the end of it as well,” he explains. “When I did those songs with them a few years ago, at that moment, it didn’t do what I thought it should have done for me.”

Disappointed, but not broken, Ti’Jean took some time off from music to focus on himself and experience what life had to offer “I never stopped creating. I took that time to live my life and rebuild myself and get better so I can come back stronger. That’s what I was doing that whole time,” he says. After stepping away for a short time, Ti’Jean is ready to show the world what he’s been working on after his time away. And what did he learn in his absence? “Don’t put a time limit on yourself. Everybody has to run their own race. Time is an illusion. Age is an illusion. Be defiant. Break rules. Don’t give a f#%k about what anybody’s telling you.”