Hip-hop star HighTyde is making the most of his independence. Formally signed to Warner Bros./Word, the award-winning Battle Creek, MI native is taking every step to genuinely expand the reach of his brand by his means. He’s also doing so while remaining humble yet hungry, evidenced by Project Cypher – his charitable live performance series.
The first Midwest MusicChallenge winner is fully driven by love and desire to further the growth of hip-hop culture through community. With acclaim and attention continuing to find him, HighTyde realizes he is but a piece of a much larger picture.
HighTyde: An extremely independent, unique, focused, free-spirited, business-minded, driven, and passionate individual, although most people see him as just a loner. HighTyde is a Graphic Designer by trade. HighTyde’s career outside of the music world is in Finance. HighTyde, above all else, is charitable, humble, and gracious for all the opportunities he has been given. My motto growing up and still to this day is, “You laugh because I’m different; I laugh because you’re all the same”.
Liquid: What weight are you constantly carrying in your personal and professional life?
HighTyde: I think whether it’s work-related or personal life, I just feel like it’s my destiny to inspire a younger generation. Sure, they don’t have to be hip-hop artists, but what we lack in our society today are the leaders and the motivators. I constantly find myself being that guy who pushes people to be better than they are. It’s not an ego thing, call it whatever you may. But a huge motivator for me is being the inspiration for someone, and then have it go full circle; seeing them succeed, which in turn inspires me to motivate someone else.
Liquid: When was the last time you felt super dope, like the freshest MC in the world?
HighTyde: The last two times I felt super dope was February of 2014 after winning the first ever Midwest Music Challenge. After the surrealism wore off, it was less about being “dope” and more of “finally feeling respected by my peers” – which is all I ever wanted to be from the beginning. I don’t look at hip-hop artists as doper than each other because we’re all fighting for the same cause. But to look to my left, and to my right, and see artists like Ski Streetz and Smartmouf, and Nemoniq, and all these artists who have built followings and paid their dues, and for them to say, “I respect you”, to me, that is the essence of dope.
The last time was the feeling I had coming off the heels of the first Project Cypher. This was the first event I had ever thrown. It was an idea that I had kicked around in my head for several years, but it wasn’t until the recognition and the connections I made from the Midwest Music Challenge that I felt I was truly able to pull off such an event. After putting in so much blood, sweat, and tears, I think finally seeing the end product go off without a hitch was just another example of pure “dopeness”.
Liquid: It sounds like winning an event like Midwest Music Challenge boosted your confidence.
HighTyde: I think winning an event like the Midwest Music Challenge was a huge boost to my confidence. It was more like a gift, I guess. I’m sort of reminded of the Spiderman lore: “With great power comes great responsibility”. I think being crowned a winner of anything in general sort of puts a level of responsibility on your shoulders because you become a role model at that point. I think once I accepted that I am in that position of being a role model, I have to carry that with me like a badge of honor, because it truly is.”
Liquid: Where do you look for inspiration when you need to find it?
HighTyde: When I look for inspiration, I look no farther than the leaders of any movement, whether it be on a local or national level. From music, to charities, to just beliefs in general, I’m inspired by individuals who take a stand, who create, the ones who don’t tend to follow the pack, but rather guide it.
Liquid: Give us a person who is a good example.
HighTyde: I look at someone like Tye Ramos of La Famil as an example. He had a dream, he had a vision, and he acted upon it. His success wasn’t determined by following anyone but his own heart. He created events, he developed a following, he made connections. But Tye also spent time developing other artists. He could have been greedy, but he wasn’t, and still isn’t to this day. Tye is the type of person that wouldn’t hesitate to share what he has learned with someone because he knows a team of people with knowledge is stronger than any one lone individual working towards the same goal. I tend to model myself after people like that. |
For more on HighTyde, his music, and Project Cypher, visit his official website HighTyde.com. And don’t miss Project Cypher 2 at 7PM EST live from The Warehouse in Battle Creek, MI, May 16, 2015. Proceeds from Cypher to benefit Carter Buffum, a 6-year-old suffering from Mitochondrial Disease.
Follow Mr. Joe Walker on Twitter @mrjoewalker, connect with him on Facebook.com/ByMrJoeWalker, and also visit his blog ByMrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.