New wave sensation Ty Fontaine continues to ascend to stardom stemming from his independent debut album, Ascension, last summer.
Following his rap-star level project and coinciding deluxe in Virtual World 2 — which bolstered Fontaine’s appeal as a newly-independent artist — the DC-based phenom has been hard at work putting together his upcoming album Beautiful Michi Girls for the past two years, “executing it slowly and really taking my time with it.”
Introducing his eccentric alter-ego “Michi” in grandiose fashion, it’s evident that the devilishly-dressed Fontaine is streaking for stratospheric success, “letting NOBODY breathe” once he shares BMG later this year. However, before Ty releases his second independent album, he’s giving fans a pure taste of what’s to come — dropping his ethereally triumphant 4-track EP, B4BMG (March 23). Describing his art as an “experience,” Fontaine is fully able to tap into his thoughts, fears and emotions to create the “classic shit” he’s gunning for.
Simply put, the project instantly captivates — glistening with hard-hitting, innovative production as Ty glides over every beat effortlessly. Showcasing his undeniable range throughout the EP, the intro “Keep IT Real” is a sonic wonder to behold, as its slow-moving synths quickly shift into a barrage of hi-hats and bars from Michi, displaying his iridescent wit, rapping: “quick ticket boy, looking like my grandpa penchant.” The visual is equally as divine, touting more black-and-white cinematography as Fontaine saunters through a rose-clad cityscape professing his importance on honesty atop high rises galore.
On emotive, piano-driven tracks like “LOVE4FREE,” which Ty teased countlessly over the winter, growling guitar melodies and wavy drum-and-bass percussion swell over Ty’s crooning vocals — placing him at the center of his heart and wearing it on his sleeve. To sum up the tape, B4BMG is beautiful — the perfect stepping stone towards his next full-length LP.
Visiting his favorite smoke spot on a trip back to his hometown, Fontaine spoke on his expectations for the mixtape and BMG with Our Generation Music, saying that his overall sound and upcoming projects are “heartfelt, lively and sensational.” Striving to be taken seriously as the budding mogul he’s set out to become, the DMV crooner detailed the origin of “Michi” that excites on each track he touches — also divulging on “Mixtape Ty” making a comeback with a “flood” of music on the way.
“Michi derives from the Japanese name, Michio. It means “high tide,” and high tide is the name of my collective. You’ll be seeing more of them later — but it’s really the brand and the lifestyle that we all live in. It’s a whole vibe. Like how Young Thug has “Jeffrey” and “SEX” and all that. After [BMG], y’all aren’t going to see Michi for a while. Mixtape Ty is coming back because I feel like I haven’t really flooded, flooded my fans with music. When I go back to my mixtape shit later this year, you will see the difference.”Ty Fontaine to Our Generation Music
His latest single “Lil Slime” is the second promotional cut off the BMG record. Officially releasing the track as a two-pack on March 2, Michi also shared a stunning and stark, black-and-white visual for the teaser pack — which gracefully combines elements of both his lead single “Numb” and “Lil Slime.”
The former Internet Money signee ended 2021 on a high with the woozy and wavy “Numb” (Dec. 17), reasserting the enigmatic persona found on earlier projects in 1800, We Ain’t The Same and Waiting On Ascension. Drawling in with slurred verbiage on the track’s first few seconds, Ty’s hit-making ability is always present, crooning a fleeting hook that instantly transports listeners to another world.
Channeling his inner Young Thug, the new wave star utilizes his voice once more as the track’s focal point. Backed by its groovy baseline, gliding synths, glistening chimes and hazy, floating melodies, “Numb” and “Lil Slime” are alluring B-side switch-ups for Michi — further wearing his inspirations on his sleeve while doubling down on that innate charisma found on Ascension: VW2.
“I didn’t even start listening to rap at first. I was on a lot of R&B, gospel music, island music — that’s where I got my initial inspiration for melodies. Other than Young Thug and KEY!, Brent Faiyaz and Future are two artists that I really look up to — especially Future’s ‘HNDRXX’ tape. Brent has a way with melodies that are like simple, but just too wavy.”Ty Fontaine to OGM
Since “Numb’s” release, Fontaine shortly documented the creation of B4BMG live on his recently-created Twitch account. Streaming regularly over the course of January, Ty gave fans an unprecedented look at his creative process as well as a slew of unreleased ideas that formulated into fully-fleshed out hits in real-time. Revealing that he eventually wants to “get back into it” soon, those Twitch sessions found their way to being the four tracks Ty has slated for the EP.
With Beautiful Michi Girls on the horizon (May 18) — and B4BMG convincingly holding fans over — Ty Fontaine is here to stay, poised to “stand the test of time” for years to come.
Check out “Lil Slime / Numb” below!
A conversation with Michi…
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and cohesion.
JB: When you first teased ‘Beautiful Michi Girls,’ you tweeted out you were on the plane listening to it and it made you cry. How important is this album to you?
“Beautiful Michi Girls is definitely my baby. when I first signed with Taz [and Internet Money], he asked who my favorite artists were. I said KEY! from his ‘777‘ album and Young Thug — ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls‘ is still one of my favorite albums to this day. Always in rotation. I’ve had this concept in my head for a while, and I’ve just been executing it slowly and really taking my time with it. I definitely think it’s going to be a moment. [I started making it] around the time when I made ‘Ascension.’ Some of the songs on there are a couple years old, but didn’t fit the vibe to ‘Ascension,’ so I put them to the side. I just really took my time and sat on songs. If I can listen to [BMG] for two years straight, people are going to be able to listen to it for a while. It’ll stand the test of time.”
JB: How do you think this album will define you as an artist moving forward?
“I feel like I’m a forward-thinker by nature, but I just want to make classic shit — something that you can turn on 10 years from now and it still hits. All my music is experience based, and this is like love-type, relationship-type shit I’m getting into [on BMG]. It’s not those things in particular, but all the emotions that surround those two topics, you know? I really wanted to key in on all aspects of life that can just sit with people for a while.”
JB: You dropped “Numb” in December and re-released it as a two-pack with “Lil Slime” a few weeks back. Both of those tracks are going to be on ‘Beautiful Michi Girls,’ so why the decision to drop a mixtape before the album?
“I find myself thinking better and creating when I’m alone. I’m in the studio by myself like 80% of the time. With ‘Numb’ and ‘Lil Slime,’ those two together really just sum up the feeling of the album to give you a sense. But the video is where it comes together, all black-and-white- luxurious type vibes. I wanted to take people into that world, and [B4BMG] is really going to be a good taste of what’s to come. It only has four songs, so I’m not trying to do too much before the album.
JB: You went dark on social media in the last few weeks, care to explain why?
“I don’t even want to see any of that [social media]. Like, I just don’t care. The best artistry comes when you really tap in yourself and when you can exude that into the world. People pick up on when you’re being yourself. A lot of people are scared to be themselves, a lot people are doing things in this world that they have to but not necessarily want to. It’s just life, some people break out of that [cycle], and some people don’t. But, they look to the people that break out as inspiration — that’s the best currency in life. When I came home to DC, I just didn’t want to see any internet shit. Not even by accident, I just don’t want to see… I want to be home when I’m here.”
JB: The music always speaks for itself with you, but what would you say to those who are first-time listeners or unfamiliar with your tracks?
“Listen with an open mind. I’m not the type to push my shit on to people, but if you do listen, come in with your mind open.”
JB: What in your mind separates you from everyone else right now?
“I’m here to stay. I’m not trying to do no gimmicks. I’m not trying to be for nobody. I’m really just trying to make this music, inspire the kids and and create a long-lasting business out of it. I go to a label that’s at a studio here in DC, I’m just trying to be in my little bubble of be my people. As long as I got that, I don’t really care for nothing else.”