Fly Tye Represents Cleveland’s New School of Rappers

On the day after Halloween, the weather outside is quite rainy and drab. The rush hour traffic in Cleveland Heights’ Coventry neighborhood is almost at a standstill. Inside the B-Side Liquor Lounge, the spider webs and skeletons are being taken down and prepared for storage until next year. In contrast to the conditions outside, rapper Fly Tye sits at the bar with a sunnier outlook as he prepares to headline this year’s Cruel Winter Fest that takes place on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Grog Shop.

“I’d say Fly Tye is definitely a unique type of artist,” he says as he declines a bartender’s offer of some leftover candy. “I’m coming from more of a Trap era of music. That’s the swing we took, but it also has a message. I’m just an inner-city guy trying to figure it out. I’m from the Superior-St. Clair area, one of the rougher parts of the city.”

Fly Tye isn’t completely new to the Cleveland hip-hop scene, but he also isn’t in line to start collecting a pension any time soon either.

“I’m in my fifth year now,” Tye says. “I had a year or two when I took a serious run at it and then I got myself into some trouble and that sat me down for a little while. I came back and have been running ever since then.”

While Tye certainly considers himself to be in the new school of artists in the city, he takes the bulk of his inspiration from artists that came before him and has elements of both within his music.

“I came up listening to more music right before this era,” Tye says. “It was moreso Jay and Nas. Those were the guys that I was influenced by. I do catch some influences from some of the new wave guys as far as the sound, but as far as the message and influencing me to want to make music, I would say the Jay-Z, Nas and Biggie era did that. My music is like a blend of the two. It’s best to find a way to merge them. I have that new age sound with an old age message.”