“Focus like the finals and it’s game one/ we don’t wait for opportunities, we make them”
Tyrone Briggs lives and breathes sports and his rhymes prove it. The 26-year-old rapper from Staten Island can’t go one track without dropping a sports reference. Growing up playing basketball and football, Briggs’ rhymes reflect his knowledge and love for both games, and his new single “WORK!” is no exception.
“Watching sports while you’re growing up, you come to realize how much music, especially hip-hop music, and sports have in common,” Briggs told us. “It’s always been like that even down to artists calling themselves the Michael Jordan of rap and stuff like that. I just make certain things that I went through and my experiences parallel with sports so that people can relate to it more.”
Over time, his untouchable love for sports fused with his passion for rapping once his dad put him on to hip-hop with the music of legends like Dr. Dre, Jay Z and Snoop Dogg. Young Briggs was being coached by his father when he wrote his first bars. Over time, Briggs became heavily influenced by Snoop Dogg’s dynamic career as well as the work of Jay Z, Nas, 50 Cent and Eminem. At the tender age of 15, Briggs began recording in a professional studio, but that didn’t stop his father from offering advice about his music.
“My dad is the reason why I listen to hip-hop,” Briggs said. “He’s the one who played all the music and got the albums. I was just a young kid listening to all of these albums. He played the records in the house. He made his own mixtapes and stuff. So I picked up off of that. Now he’ll call me and be like ‘I see what you’re doing. That’s good. You need to move like this and like that.’ So we’ll have our debates back and forth.”
Soon enough, Briggs’ remaining aspirations of playing professional sports were replaced with dreams of dominating the stage with his music. Although he’s still inspired by players like Demarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant, it’s been eight years since Briggs became serious about pursuing music and he has yet to look back. In 2013, he dropped off his first EP Scattered Thoughts with singles like “Cold,” produced by Sean Nathaniel, and “Spartacus,” which caught the attention of DJ’s like Kay Slay the Drama King.
2015 will prove to be a pivotal year for the SI native. Not only is he working on his upcoming release #FreeSamples, but he’s also in the running for Sprite’s Thirst of the Boroughs contest. Along with his partner Rose Dreams, Briggs is in the running against other rappers from across the five boroughs including Timeless Truth of Queens and Big Pun’s son Chris Rivers of The Bronx.
“It’s an awesome opportunity,” said Briggs. “But it was so coincidental. Out of everybody, I’m the one who they picked because of the sports references I have in my records. It was just meant to happen.”
Be sure to cast your vote for Tyrone Briggs before Friday. As far as Briggs’ upcoming release, #FreeSamples is set to drop by this Spring. Watch Tyrone talk about the contest and what he’s anticipating for All Star Weekend below.