Originally due Dec. 5, Tyrese’s double-disc R&B/rap effort “Alter Ego” will now arrive Dec. 19 via J. The hip-hop side finds the singer/actor rhyming under the rap persona Black Ty and features guest appearances by the Game, Snoop Dogg, David Banner, Method Man and Lil Scrappy, among others. Producers include R. Kelly, Bryan Michael-Cox, Mannie Fresh and Scott Storch.
The Underdogs produced the R&B-leaning lead single “One.” “I didn’t write any of the lyrics but they were speaking my language,” Tyrese tells Billboard.com. “You get to a point where you’re just tired of sleeping around and being on the phone with 12 different girls a day. I’m saying I’m just cool with one.”
Other album cuts include “Better To Know,” “Gotta Get It,” produced by Bryan Michael-Cox, the Lil Jon-produced “Turn You Out” and “Lights On,” one of Tyrese’s personal favorites. “The concept [of that song] is about this girl who I was about to go there with and she wanted to leave the lights on,” he says. “Everybody’s always singing about ‘Baby, turn the lights off’ but she wanted the lights on. That record excites me.”
As for Tyrese the rapper, the Watts, Calif., native actually got his first taste of rhyming as a member of the local rap group Triple Impact. “This rap thing has always been in me and I’m never gonna disrespect my creativity by not bringing it to light,” he says. “For me, Black Ty can rhyme about things that Tyrese would never be able to sing about. When I was young it was all about gangsta rap — NWA, Eazy E, Ice Cube, Snoop, Dr. Dre — that was our sh*t.”
The singer also feels he’s at a point in his career where he can take risks, and rapping grants him that outlet. “This album is definitely a little more edgy,” says Tyrese. “I feel like my R&B career is in a box. There’s only so many songs that I can sing about. I choose to not want to sing about the streets, I don’t want to sing about what I went through with my friends, jealousy and envy and hating. I don’t want to sing about none of that stuff. I want to sing about love. I want to sing about relationships, sex — the things that I know. I would never sing a song like [R. Kelly’s ‘I Wish’] so for me, that’s where Black Ty comes in.”
Tyrese will embark on a national tour later this month, with his group Rehab in tow. The singer is also wrapping production on the action film “Transformers,” which is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Michael Bay. The movie will arrive in theaters July 4, 2007.
In addition, Tyrese is developing film scripts through his multimedia company HeadQuarters Entertainment and co-writing the book “Fly on the Wall” with author/inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant.