Tyrese is currently riding high off of the massive success of his latest — and final — studio album, Black Rose. With the R&B LP shooting to the No. 1 spot on iTunes and the Billboard 200, Black Ty is grateful for the support of his fans, but still believes that the genre of R&B is in the trenches.
"Right now, the state of R&B is dead," he told Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy and Angela Yee at The Breakfast Club. "Most R&B singers are not conscious of it, but a lot of us are insecure and we feel like our songs don't get attention, don't get no love on the radio, don't have any fans buying it anymore unless we've got 15 rappers on it. The state of R&B is insecure... For this Black Rose album to be No. 1 in 15 countries and it's straight R&B, period, it's sending the right message."
This "message" being that R&B music should not be limited to certain audiences or certain types of artists. Specifically, the Furious 7 actor singled out Sam Smith as an example in proving that the music industry, in terms of promotion, gives preferential treatment to Caucasian R&B artists as opposed to those of color.
"I had a song called 'Stay.' 'Stay' was No. 1 for 11 weeks on Billboard," he said. "Sam Smith had a song called 'Stay.' Sam Smith's song had a full choir on it. [His] record was played on all formats of radio. Top 40, rhythmic, crossover and urban. Now, Sam Smith ain't stepped foot into any of these urban radio stations but yet, urban radio is going all out supporting it."
While making his point, Black Ty wanted to clarify that he is actually a fan of the British sensation but sees no need in sugarcoating the truth. "I'm not attacking Sam Smith," he continued. "I'm not competitive, this is not ego, no nothing. I'm talking about facts. I ain't got to be politically correct... If we're showing love on urban radio to Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake and Sam Smith, who are singing R&B songs — and I'm a fan — then it needs to work on both sides."
He even joked about the double standard that would happen if he sang Smith's No. 1 smash. "If I sung that version of 'Stay,' my joint would be locked into urban radio and I'd probably be with Yolanda Adams on the gospel channel."
Though the success of his purely R&B focused LP is rare in the current music landscape, Tyrese says that he never once was tempted to conform and change his musical style to fit the crowd. "This is what I have to say to pop radio. I'm not going to convert," he said. "There's no house and techno version of 'Shame' coming. I'm not gon' switch it up. I'm not singing 'Shame' with Auto-Tune in my voice just for a radio spin."
Elsewhere in the interview, he talked about collaborating with Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington in his latest short film, working with Brandy on their duet "The Rest of Our Lives" and being inspired by Tupac's poetry when putting his album together.
Check out the full clip below.
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(Photo: The Breakfast Club via Youtube)