“I don’t naturally jump into all the political stuff or speak too much on it because I feel like I have to educate myself more, but as a rapper, I know that I have this voice and I felt like I was obligated to speak out because of my fans,” he tells Billboard of his decision to side with Uber competitor Lyft. "I woke up that morning to see the hashtag #DeleteUber, and to this day [“Uber Everywhere] is a record everyone still wants to hear from me, so I had to speak on Uber. I didn’t realize how much of a voice I had until I spoke on it.”
He continued, "I know that a lot of people were hurt [by the ban]. I’m at a blessed point in my life, so I just wanted to message my fans and say, ‘Look, you’re not the only one out here,’ or “If nobody else cares, MadeinTYO cares,” he continues. "It was the perfect time for me to let these kids know that, yeah, I got this song, but I’m not rocking with [Uber]."
He went on to suggest that artists should use their voices, given the massive influence most artists carry, before joking that he's thinking about performing a speech before performing "Uber Everywhere" at his shows.
A day after joining the #DeleteUber movement with his anti-Uber tweet, TYO and his longtime girlfriend, visual artist Anhia Santana (also known as Distortedd), welcomed their first child into the world. "My main goal right now – aside from my music -- is to be a great father,” says MadeinTYO, who adds that becoming a father also encouraged him to denounce Uber. "My child is coming into this world with all this mess going on right now and one day when it comes back to this, I want my child to look back like, ‘This is my dad, I have so much respect for him.'"
TYO made his Hot 100 debut with "Uber Everywhere," and released an official remix with Travis Scott, which later spawned a slew of remixes from Tory Lanez, Trill Sammy and Young M.A. After releasing multiple mixtapes and a collaborative EP with his brother, 24Hrs, called 24hrs in Tokyo, MadeinTYO capped off 2016 by receiving his first-ever platinum plaque for his breakout hit.
In a little over a month, MadeinTYO will also head on the road for Big Sean’s I Decided tour, which kicks off March 17 in Houston, Texas. As for upcoming releases, TYO lent his bars to a DJ Carnage-produced track – which he recorded in G-Eazy’s home – and will also feature Mac Miller and "another big feature”. The Atlanta MC says he’s also working on a full-length project that will see production from Metro Boomin, K Swisha and Sonny Digital.
“There’s a lot of good things going on right now. Last year was amazing year for me -- from getting a platinum record to [new single] 'Skateboard P' climbing on the radio -- so I can only imagine what God is going to bless me with this year,” he reflected. “2017 is already popping, I can only imagine how much sleep I’m going to get!”