"Who's Hot?" Interview
By: Omar Cook
This week's "Who's Hot?" Artist of the week is Georgia rapper, T. Mason! Tyler Anthony Mason, known professionally as T. Mason, is a rapper and songwriter out of Decatur, Georgia. T. Mason began making music as a teenager and since then, Mason has opened up for acts B.o.B, Future, EarthGang and J.I.D. In 2016, Mason gathered a following behind two of his hit singles “Faded” and “Money Come n’ Go”. After signing with independent record label, All Black Congress, Mason dropped his debut project, The T. Mason EP in 2017.
Not long after his EP release, Mason’s notoriety continued to grow securing over 100,000 streams online. Mason has been noted as an MC with a “prominent voice” by Creative Loafing Magazine and a “progressive artists with a not-so-hidden agenda”. With only one project in Mason’s discography, fans grow in anticipation for the release of his Sophomore LP, Got Home Late releasing summer 2019. Check this artist out as he is definitely up and coming!
We talked with T. Mason in an exclusive interview, check it out below!
QUESTION: How long have you been making music and how did you get started?
T. Mason: I’ve been making music since about 16. I got started by freestyling at the lunch table back in 10th grade with my label mate, Phonic. After a while, people all knew we did music. That is how I ended up meeting my engineers. They were in a grade higher than I was but still gave me a place to record and hone my craft.
QUESTION: Musically, who has been your biggest influence in helping you along your journey and who are your favorite musicians?
T. Mason: To be real R&B is one of my biggest influences. My Dad is from Detroit, so every time we took a road trip up there he would keep about 8 big cases of CD’s. Before then, the only rap I listened to was Biggie, Kanye, Common and Jay Z. Other than that, I just knew the mainstream songs that everyone else knew on the radio. I was a kid though so I didn’t understand all the lyrics. I didn’t become a fan of rap until I reached the end of middle school and early high school. That is when I got deep into Outkast, Good Mob and 90’s rap. I got more serious with music after hearing some of the underground artist that were out at the time like Wiz , Asap Rocky, Drake, Kendrick, J. Cole, Big Krit, Dom Kennedy, etc.
QUESTION: What artists would you like to collaborate with and why?
T. Mason: If I could collaborate with an artist it would be Cee-lo . Cee-lo is just crazy to me. Especially to see how much his artsy evolved throughout his career. I would also go for artists like The Internet, Jorga Smith, Daniel Caesar, SiR, etc. Really anyone who would complement my style of hip-hop. I wouldn’t mind collaborating with some rappers, but I am a big fan of our generations’ singers. If I could choose one overall though, I would have done a song with Marvin Gaye or someone like that.
QUESTION: What do you feel is your best song ever released and why?
T. Mason: I believe Money come N’ Go is my best-released song. I love how it incorporates two different vibes in one. The idea was to mesh two different beats together but deliver one cohesive message. The song itself hones in on the reality that we all face. There is more than enough times when money leaves our pockets in an instant. Most of the times from things we can’t control like bills and other setbacks. People always feel like they don’t have many options in life. That’s why I ended the last line of the first verse with “There ain’t no real reason why we shoot and steal. We all rob gotta pay the bills”
QUESTION: How do you generate new ideas for your music?
T. Mason: It usually involves me getting out to enjoy life once in a while. Many times, I grab lyrics from actual events or emotions that were important at one point in my life. Whether that’s a past relationship or a current event. I’m always thinking of ideas so when one pops up I just write it down in my phone.
QUESTION: What motivates you and how do you define success?
T. Mason: My family is my biggest motivation and forever will be. They encourage and support the music so much that it’s truly a blessing. Many people don’t have the full support from their parents. This journey is not practical, and it doesn’t support you consistently. For that reason, many look down on it. I define success as waking up every day doing what I love without having to struggle for my needs. Sure there’s plenty I want in life, but more than anything I want peace of mind.
QUESTION: How do you describe your music to people?
T. Mason: Smooth and conscious or consciously smooth idk lol. I describe it as a vibe. An experience. It’s like riding a wave. There is depth to it.
QUESTION: Do you believe there is a formula to being a successful artist?
T. Mason: Now there are many different ways to become a successful artist. Whether that’s being authentic or trolling. I don’t believe that there is a set formula but if there was it would be Faith, consistency and confidence.
QUESTION: Who is your greatest inspiration?
T. Mason: My greatest inspiration are the people who came before me. Not just artists, but African Americans who fought and paved the way for everything I can do today. Too many to name, but everyone who has contributed to pushing hip-hop or our culture is a major inspiration to me. People back then made the impossible happen. It all helped shift and evolve change. I want to use my voice to be a part of something like that.
QUESTION: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
T. Mason: I would put Kendrick, Drake, and J. Cole up there. What is different about them from many other artist is that these three individuals became the most successful artist off being conscious and personal. That’s not something anyone can do. Especially in an era where music is more watered down then its ever been.
QUESTION: Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc. , and why?
T. Mason: My music is very vibey. It’s also nostalgic in the sense that it can remind you of experiences that are heart-warming, or the exact opposite. I speak about my actual experiences so just like anyone’s life it’s a mixture between highs and lows. However, I would like to think my music is predominately driven by passion.
QUESTION: What sacrifices have you had to make, to make your dream a reality?
T. Mason: I have lost relationships with friends and significant others. I have gotten into disagreements with family and other people’s disapproval of my path. I have cut a lot of things off to protect my energy and remain undistracted. However, I feel that comes with chasing any “dream.”
QUESTION: What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
T. Mason: I’ll start with the bad haha. What’s discouraging is finding out that this journey will take longer than I initially intended.. As an independent artist, we all meet similar obstacles. Finances can become a problem because it’s essential when funding everything you need for a release. With financial issues comes less time because you need to find work. Not being paid well for my art is also something that can be disappointing. However.. It is the random listeners who reach out to me after listening to my music that motivates me. Or the times when someone stops me after a performance to give me words of encouragement. There’s nothing better than fighting for something you believe in. The tears and disappointment just make the good times and accomplishments that much better.
QUESTION: Where do you see yourself and your music in 10 years?
T. Mason: I see myself as a successful entrepreneur more than just an artist. I believe that I am here to make dope sounds, but to also help people through music. I’m real passionate about other things like fashion, film, and philanthropy. My idea of success is simply taking care of my family while having the resources to help others in needs.
QUESTION: What advice would you give to other up and coming artists or people looking to break into the music industry?
T. Mason: NEVER give up. Those who do music start doing it because they think its easy and lucrative. However, things start to look different when rapping as a hobby doesn’t pay the bills every month. Keeping the balance between your dreams and reality is the hardest thing about this. Not everybody makes it in the industry. Chasing a dream can become very dark in these times so if you do not have a passion or purpose you will quit 9 times out of 10. Stay persistent but do it all for the right reasons and you’ll be ok.
QUESTION: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or your music?
T. Mason: I’m grateful for those who resonated with my last body of work. This time around, my music has grown in many ways. The sophomore project dropping this summer will give listeners a much closer look inside T. Mason and the layers of his music. Can’t wait to share it with you guys.