After Post Malone has risen to the center of the musical zeitgeist over the past couple years, everyone knows to take his endorsements seriously. Artists he supports seem certain to receive the Midas touch of relatable rockstar vibes. So when the introspective hip-hop star helped get Tyla Yaweh signed to Epic Records, the world took notice.
Yaweh is a 23-year-old rapper who aims to use his humble Florida upbringing and appreciation for ‘70s music icons (and himself) to bring a fresh energy to music. Like Malone, he’s got face tattoos and an experimental yet accessible approach, but the rising artist has a style all his own that has connected him to a whole list of major names ever since he started his life over in Los Angeles four years ago. He counts French Montana among his friends, and also has worked with A$AP Rocky and rap-battled with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.
Yaweh’s recent project, Heart Full of Rage, mixes guitar riffs with trap beats and thoughtful lyrics in an effort to bring together his eclectic music taste, which ranges from bands like Aerosmith and Metallica to the contemporary hip-hop artists that have often become his close collaborators. In the opening track, “High Right Now,” he raps reflective verses of altered consciousness over mellow electric guitar chords, and “Salute,” the following track and a collaboration with Montana, switches to going-out vibes with its trap sound and party lyrics. These two tracks immediately work for Yaweh’s desire not to stick to one sound, correlating with his motto, “Fuck the rules.”
“It's whatever you want to get from it,” Yaweh says of what he hopes listeners understand upon playing his album. “Take away my face, take away my image, and always think of it as being for yourself. I'm talking for the people; I'm not just talking for myself.”
Fresh off a European tour alongside Malone, the rapper has more travels ahead as well as a new full-length album in development. While he’s still building his career and public image, it’s clear from his aesthetic and ideas that he has his style and goals figured out. Yaweh talked with L’Officiel USA about how Florida and LA have influenced his music, his dream collaborations, and what he loves most about touring.
PHOTO VIA INSTAGRAM
Tell us about your upbringing.
I've been on my own since I was 15. My parents were in my life, but it was on my choice and my decisions that I made, that were kind of bad decisions like I was selling drugs, got caught, and got kicked out of the house. I started from nothing. I was making music every day, didn't graduate high school, and I’m from the hood outside of Orlando, Florida, called Altamonte Springs. I made music, moved to LA when I was 19, was homeless, and did a lot of sacrificing to get where I am today.
What sparked your interest in music?
My sister was in a girl band, and that inspired me to want to really make music. Also, seeing the lives of artists like Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix. All the dope, iconic rock stars. My Chemical Romance, The Used. That showed me that I could be whatever I want. Fuck what anybody says to do. Follow your dreams. That's why my motto is "Fuck the rules."
How did you start out in music?
My first song was called "Alone." Actually, I made a project before that called Dreams, Money, and Fairytales. I had a professional studio, but I recorded some of it in the closet. When I made "Alone," my marketing strategy was to put the local radio station’s number at the end of the music video. Everybody called it, and it went viral in my city.
How did you come up with the name that you use?
I was doing a lot of reading, and Yaweh means the fresh breath of air that created life. I'm not saying, "I am a god," but I'm saying I am what I'm representing myself to be, which is a rock star. I'm representing myself as a fresh breath of air, a new creation.
Can you talk a bit about Heart Full of Rage? Were there any particular concepts or styles that you were exploring?
It's a cool body of work that I worked on for a year and some change. Almost two years. I had made a bunch of records and then when the time was right, we were like, "It's time to drop a project." I just mixed everything that I listen to today into one pot and tried to create my own genre. If you think about it, you can hear it has a lot of influences. Some songs sound like Aerosmith, and I have Metallica vibes at the beginning. It's just worldly.
Post Malone helped get you signed, and now you've been touring with him. What's the biggest thing you've learned from him?
To keep being myself, be happy, keep working hard, and stay focused.
What was it like working with French Montana on your song "Salute"?
He’s my homie, so it’s like when friends come together and make a song. I met him a few years ago, right when I moved to LA. We connected right away. It was just organic. Before “Salute,” the two of us had done a song together with A$AP Rocky, and it was just us in the studio playing beats. We started freestyling. They're like, "Go hop on it right now."
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
Jim Morrison. James Brown. Me. These people taught me how to be myself, have confidence, and just explore and utilize my imagination and my talents.
How would you describe your sound?
I'm giving you all types of emotions. It's not just one sound. It's so many different things put into one. And I just want to give [my listeners] everything, just not being inside the box.
Photo via Instagram
Do you have any dream collaborations?
Young Thug. He just expresses himself in all different types of ways. It doesn't matter what it is, like a high pitched voice. It might not sound right, but he makes it sound good. And he has a lot to give.
You moved to LA a few years ago after starting your career in your home state of Florida. How has each place influenced your work?
First, there were the trials and tribulations of Florida. All my friends are locked up or dead or in jail. Seeing my parents go through certain things. Just being out in the streets. And then moving straight to LA and dropping everything and saying this is the dream that I wanted to chase. That influences me and gives me a story to tell.
What do you want to bring to music?
I want to bring icon vibes back. I want to bring old Hollywood back. That real, classic, timeless music.
What's your favorite thing about the music industry?
It's always evolving. There's always a new artist; there's always new music dropping. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me excited, too, because I love seeing people become successful off something that they love.
What have you been enjoying most about going on tour?
Just being with my team. Being with Post was amazing. That's one of my best friends right there. Just seeing the people's reactions. Seeing them sing along to your music. Watching people rage with you, crowd surf, mosh pit. Seeing the lights go up on the whole arena of 30,000 people. It's just enjoyment of the people, to be honest.
What's next for you?
I'm working on a full album. Heart Full of Rage was a discovery project. We're in album mode right now. I'm going to probably still be working on tour, too. I like working in different states and countries. You get different vibes and the energy that's in that place. Maybe I'll do some television and movies. I also definitely want to work with more fashion.
Do you have any dream brand collaborations?
Definitely Saint Laurent. Balenciaga. And I'm already good friends with Joyrich. I wear a lot of Joyrich.
How would you describe your own personal style?
It's like putting Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger together with a bit of hip-hop. It's super ‘70s rock star, though, if you ever look back. I give that '70s, '80s rock star vibe sometimes. Then I come back to modern day urban vibes, but I still make it feel like a rock star.
What are your favorite memories so far?
I beat Post in beer pong a lot, so that's a good memory. Shoutout to my brother. I love you, bro. But so many things happen all the time it's hard to catch on to the memories because it's going so fast and I'm enjoying it so much. But in 15 years, I'm going to look back and be like, "Oh, do you remember this? Do you remember that?" Everything's just starting up with me, so I'm just enjoying my life at all times.
Is there anything you want to say to people who will be reading this story?
Stay positive, good vibes at all times, and fuck the rules.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.