T.Y.E Proved Himself A Star On Friday.

The Dallas Rapper Offered Up A Stunning Display During The Headlining Set At His Stacked Album Release Show At Club Dada On Friday Night.

All photos by Breanna Loose.

There’s a case to be made that Big Tuck’s “Southside Da Realist” is Dallas’ single-greatest rap song of all-time. It’s a vital, uniquely Dallas-sounding track, and the argument for its place atop the mountain gets made whenever a DJ in town drops it within a rap set; no other song from the region is as capable of igniting a crowd as immediately as is Tuck’s 2004 boast about the Dallas neighborhood from which he sprang.

But even those instances can’t compare to watching the iconic Dirty South Rydaz member perform the song live. Seeing that is an almost otherworldly experience. People straight lose their shit, shouting along to each word of the track like their lives depend on it, with their eyelids clenched shut and their arms thrust skyward. It’s a sight to behold.

It was on Friday night, certainly, as it kicked off the Dallas rap legend’s three-song set — he also performed “Not A Stain On Me” and “Tussle” — as he played main support at the up-and-coming Dallas rapper T.Y.E’s album release show at Club Dada in Deep Ellum on Friday night. It was, quite simply, an incredible moment.

And, poor T.Y.E., he had to follow it. What a burden that could’ve been.

No matter, though. T.Y.E, the notably bipolar Carter High School basketball player turned Abilene Christian University-trained opera singer turned versatile rapper, refused to wilt during his moment in the spotlight on this night that had been put together to celebrate the release of his debut album, 32, for which, it’s worth noting, he contributes his own singing and beats. (Full disclosure: Central Track organized and co-presented the show along with T.Y.E’s record label, POW Recordings.)

He had plenty of reason to be confident: Heading into Friday’s show, the young Oak Cliff-sprung rapper had already received cosigns from The Fader, Spin and the Dallas Observer, among others. Still, while his charisma had long been on display through his music video collaborations with Dallas videographer Dance Dailey, this was, for all intents and purposes, his first formal, full-set performance in his hometown.

Within seconds of starting his set while sitting on a chair position front-and-center on the Dada stage, though, T.Y.E proved himself a compelling live performer, too. His performance was alternately introspective and rowdy, dreamy and aggressive. And his crowd, with all of 24 hours to familiarize itself with his songs before T.Y.E took the stage, was lockstep with him throughout his almost 45-minute offering, bouncing along to his beats, following his dance leads and his vocal directions all set long.

It was, in no uncertain terms, a star-making turn. His years spent studying opera seem to have paid off: Most rappers take years to develop the kind of confidence that T.Y.E showed on stage during this night. It’s worth noting, though, that his was not a cocky assuredness, but an affable one; it helped that, at one point, he brought his mother out on stage with him as he performed the song “Mary Kay, Pontiac”, the song he released as an homage to her on Mother’s Day earlier this year.

That was a special moment within a special performance that came at the tail-end of a special night from start to finish — one that no one in the room was ready to see end.

Earlier in the evening, the stage for T.Y.E’s offering had been set by impressive offerings from a slew of other members of the latest crop of Dallas’ rappers to watch. Opening the night, the three-piece YTMBG immediately turned things up in the room with a raucous offering that turned heads throughout the Dada show space. Later, three of T.Y.E’s most talented contemporaries — G.U.N., Devy Stonez and Curtis Mayz — impressed with their own lyrical dexterity and versatile flows that demanded this audience’s attention and opened eyes in the process.

DJ Bemyfriend, meanwhile, kept the room rocking all night long with clever song selections and his sly prodding of various performers to play the songs that he knew would get the crowd moving. Then there was Mel from The Outfit, TX, who made a surprise appearance as the night’s master of ceremonies and playfully teased the crowd into properly honoring those who would appear alongside him onstage. And, of course, there was Tuck’s own offering, which seemed to justify to everyone in the room that this up-and-coming class of rappers indeed merits the attention it’s currently receiving.

More than just a celebration of T.Y.E’s arrival on the scene, the entire night felt like a proper celebration of Dallas hip-hop’s past and future alike.

And, following Friday’s display, it’s now clear: In the hands of T.Y.E and his contemporaries, Dallas’ hip-hop future is remarkably bright.

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