By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Forget Reality, Earn A Kingdom.
Those five words are the motivational mantra for underground hip-hop artist/producer Ty Knight. The F.R.E.A.K. Gang Movement began amongst a small collective four years ago, but thanks to Knight’s efforts, it continues to grow.
“The world’s gonna try to hold you back,” Knight said. “The world’s gonna try to stop you. You can come up against stuff you’ve never seen before, come up against stuff you don’t know how to deal with, but there’s always like-minded people in this world and if you keep pushing, there’s always somebody that’s gonna recognize what you’re doing. Decide what you want and go get it.”
Knight faced his biggest obstacle to date when he experienced a bad breakup.
“I just really felt weak in the moment and like I was going through something I’ve never experienced before as far as the love in general and just loving another person and losing that part of you, so I was trying my best to kind of personify that in the music and I honestly think, going back listening to my catalogue, I think it’s some of the most vulnerable music I’ve made to date,” Knight said.
It all can be heard on his most recent EP, ‘Letters From Avalon,’ which was released Apr. 17, 2019 from Freak Gang Studios in Las Vegas.
Also inspired by the tale of King Arthur, who had been known to visit an island west of Camelot to heal after battles, it was only fitting that Knight found his own “Camelot” to help him recover. For the release, Knight collaborated with Camelot, a United Kingdom producer. The end result delivered a musical flavor different from previous works.
“I think [Camelot] added that consistent piano factor to the project where he kind of gave it a consistent sound all across the three tracks,” explained Knight. “I also think he’s very creative because he’s more of a graphic designer. He doesn’t necessarily think inside of this ‘music producer box’ [where] certain notes or things ‘have to sound this way’ or ‘This progression has to go this way.'”
Knight aimed ‘Letters From Avalon’ towards those who’d identify with him most – southern rap fans, where subject matter typically doesn’t involve love and heartbreak.
“It’s just not a common topic in hip-hop and I feel like if I had to say if I wanted them to pull anything from this project right here, it would definitely be that you can lose love, you can recover and you can still be human,” Knight said.
Never one to settle in, Knight was born in Chicago and raised everywhere from Memphis, Tenn. to Reno, Nev. and the same could be said for his music career. He honed his craft for two years as a producer in Mississippi’s underground scene before he moved to the continental area of Las Vegas, where he now tries to gain exposure.
“I can have a song done in 24 hours or it can take me two years, but I never stop creating,” Knight said. “Every day, I’m creating something whether it’s a new beat, writing a new verse, writing hooks down, it’s always something. I’m just a creator who wants to create and I’m trying to get my heart out into the world so people can kind of see what I’m about. I feel like I haven’t really gotten to show people what I’m really about.”
Despite his West Coast upbringing where hardcore gangbang rap dominated, Chicago deep soul remains in his heart and he brings that out in his music. He also looks to fellow artists like Smino and Boogie, known for their emotional depth.
“It’s the real vulnerable type of music that I myself am trying to continue making and these guys are the type of guys that inspire me because I feel like they’re moving like I am and they’ve gotten to where they are because they haven’t turned back,” said Knight.
Knight has already laid the groundwork for another mixtape he hopes to put out before year’s end along with another EP by early 2020. His main goals for now are to make more music, expand his team and get people to recognize the F.R.E.A.K. Gang Movement to where his name becomes synonymous with it. He expressed the movement’s mentality was comparable to the way other artists like YG, 50 Cent, Eminem or the late Nipsey Hussle accomplished things for themselves without initial support. Eventually, their efforts paid off and the rest came full-circle.
“You don’t have to be scared about failing or being the outsider or anything like that because at the end of the day, there’s a million people just putting out dope art and hoping somebody’s gonna find it,” Knight said. “Some find it, some don’t, but as long as you’re doing stuff that you love and you approve of, I don’t see how you can lead a life that you’re not happy with.”