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The best kept secret in music


"Pittsburgh Post Gazette"

It's also rare to find a rap act that's doesn't wallow in the same old themes of violence, misogyny and drugs.

Pittsburgh-born rapper Tee-Jay has the hip-hop lingo down pat, he's got the seemingly requisite criminal background.

But the difference between him and household names -- such as Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Eminem -- is that he wants to use his music to change lives.

- Monica Haynes

"Pittsburgh City Paper"

Comfortably flows and spits over hard-hitting sounds that will move the crowd, provides redemptive messages on how to turn one’s life around and give God the praise all along - Brentin Mock

"Pittsburgh Tribune Review"

The specific sounds of Atlanta, Memphis, Houston and the Bay Area have each managed to draw national attention to their city in the search for the next big thing.

Could Pittsburgh be next?

It's hard to nail down a specific Pittsburgh sound. Tee-Jay one of the local guys who might do it best.

How Pittsburgh is it? Lines like "My flow's tight like eight sumos in two jitneys" from the song "P.G.H. (Da Burgh)" are insanely catchy.
- Michael Machosky

"New Pittsburgh Courier"

Using edgy lyrics and beats that sound a lot like what's on the radio right today My Testimony is like a gangster rap record with a positive twist - Omar-Abdul R. Lawrence

"San Diego Union Tribune"

San Diego hip-hop artist TeeJay just released a new record,
“My Testimony.”

He answered our weekly questions:

Q: Why do you play music?

A: “For the response and respect. I see the effect music has on people, and hip-hop is the one form of music that bridges generations, races, cultures, creeds, even social status all under the same umbrella.
And that’s a beautiful thing.”

Q: What is your favorite album of all time? And could we tell by listening to your music?

A: “Jay-Z, ‘The Blueprint.’ It’s rare nowadays to find a hip-hop album that you can let play from beginning
to end. ‘The Blueprint’ and ‘My Testimony’ are both classical hip-hop albums — minimal on the song
features by other artists and laced with catchy lyrics and sonic production.”

Q: Describe your most memorable/scariest/funniest experience on stage.

A: “While on the stage at the Canvas Cafe in San Marcos, ha ha, the CD player wire came unplugged.
Thank goodness for stage presence. I kept doing my lyrics to the song and simultaneously plugged the CD player back in. When the sound came back on, I
was still on beat. The crowd
went bananas!”

Q: If you weren’t a musician, you would …

A: “I would be a youth outreach worker. My heart is for the youngstas and to help them make their dreams and goals come true.” - Nina Garin

"San Diego North County Times"

Positive hip-hop, as opposed to violent gangsta rap, you won’t notice he’s not cursing, it's so catchy, Tee-Jay proves that hip-hop can be popular without glorifying violence - Jim Trageser

"San Diego City Beat"

The Great Demo Review: Session of 2006

One of best unsigned artists in San Diego, Tee-Jay raps with a distinctively smooth delivery, This is rap that doesn't leave you feeling dirty - Caley Cook

"SDMusic Matters.com"

He’s put work in to present and create a positive album that retains a feel and connection with the streets with range and consistency throughout the album, a positive rap album that reaches young heads on the block, as well as the O.G.’s - Kevin Farr


PGH (Da Burgh) is the most badassest song about Picks-berrrrrrgh ever. EVERY neighborhood in Pittsburgh mentioned in the same breath with such respect and UNITY? - Natalie

"Hip-Hop Kings (Interview w/Tee-Jay)"

HHK: You can write Hip-Hop raps, poetry and you can also do production. Who or what influenced you to all of these fields?

Tee Jay: Just the love of music, and the response from the crowd I see how powerful music is, you can feel down and out and listen to a song and it change your demeanor, its not about money, money is not an issue, its about the response and the respect.

HHK: I understand you are from Pittsburgh, but you are now based in San Diego, whats the Hip-Hop scene like in those areas right now?

Tee Jay: I have two fanbases now cuddy, and I learned a lot being in Da Burgh and then Daygo, on the East Coast (Pittsburgh) they focus on lyrics, metaphors, and punch-lines but on the West Coast (San Diego) its about production, style and being unique so I merged both, the lyrics and production, also found out I had something special outside of my city, when others recognized my talent.

HHK: Hip-Hop is full of profanity, but you have strayed from this culture. Why have you chosen to do this? To prove a point?

Tee Jay: I do it to challenge myself to take a different direction with each song, flat out, when you curse all the time it just shows ignorance cuddy, I can make a song grimy as ghetto hallway piss, and still not curse, most of these dudes dont have the intellect, so all they can say is nigga and trigga, club and dubs, to each his own, do ya thing, but as for me, I'm gonna be different, also I gotta son, and he watching my moves, but still keep it street, cuddy the radio play is where its at, and all of my joints are radio friendly. Im a father before Im a rapper, my son comes first.

HHK: From reading about you, I can tell you are very conscious about what is going on, and you know exactly what you want to do. What do you plan to give Hip-Hop, or how do you want to be remembered in Hip-Hop history?

Tee Jay: My lil bro got life in prison for something he aint do and I want to get him out, thats real talk cuddy, I'm using music as a platform to speak, I plan to give Hip-Hop an option, these rappers glorify the hood, selling drugs, and the good from it, like nice whips and fast money. Yeah its the truth and its what goes on but they dont tell the other side, like spending 20 years of your life in jail, the REAL thugs behind them walls love what Im doing, because you only get one life, so make the most of it. I want to be remembered as a dude who built an empire, flat out.

- Stuart Hallick


(2000) Scorchin Hot (mix-tape)
(2002) Da Burgh Strictly (mix-tape)
(2005) A.M.E.N. (mixtape)
(2006) My Testimony (debut CD)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Tee-Jay continues his move to the upper echelon of Hip Hops elite. In the past year he has shared the stage with Supernatural, The Visionaries, Pigeon John, Wiz Khalifa, LMNO, 4th Avenue Jones, NomiS, The Breax, and opened for DMC of Run-DMC to a crowd of thousands at PNC Park.

Some of Tee-Jay’s accolades include:
* Nominated for Best R&B, Southern California Music Awards
* Top-100 Semi-Finalist Disc Makers Independent Music World Series
* San Diego City Beat "Best unsigned artists in San Diego"

Tee-Jay’s buzz continues to grow stronger in Pittsburgh, PA & San Diego, CA. He's been featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, San Diego Union Tribune, and San Diego North County Times, continuing his march to the top of the Hip Hop scene. Tee-Jay’s massive presence on the Internet has attracted many new fans to his music. Tee-Jay profile on Myspace.com has exploded, being visited in excess of over 25,000+ times, tracks played over 30,000+ times, and accumulating 6,000+ "friends" from all over the world.

Prepping this new CD, "You Don’t Work You Don’t Eat” follows up Tee-Jay’s “Testimony” the CD that caught the attention of the world. National and International online publications such as Hip-HopKings.com, sdmusicmatters.com, iheartpgh.com have already co-signed for Tee-Jay’s music. Local publications have also given the music high praises. Tee-Jay’s built a cult following in the Pittsburgh and San Diego regions.

Pittsburgh-born rapper Tee-Jay has the hip-hop lingo down pat. But the difference between Tee-Jay and household names such as Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Eminem, he uses no profanity in his lyrics, has no tattoos, wears no jewelry, yet he still touches the heart of the ghetto.

Tee-Jay was influenced by streets at an early age, his Uncle Darrell "The Kernel" Nelson, was one of Western Pennsylvania largest drug dealers. Following in the footsteps of his uncle, fast money and street respect solidified his name in the "Mean Joe Greene" streets of Pittsburgh.

After witnessing his best friend Marcus "MD" Darden commit suicide, his brother Michael "Mizzy" Givens got life without parole, and his Uncle Darrell got 20 years in the Feds, Tee-Jay evaluated life and looked for other options outside of the streets.

His influences are Jay-Z for business savvy, Dr. Dre for his track record, and Will Smith for his positive character. Tee-Jay grew frustrated with the dead-end ways of street life. He began rapping after having a dream, in which he was told his music would touch the hearts of today’s youth.

Using music as an outlet to express himself, he recorded an ode to his hometown called "Da Burgh Strictly." 5,000 units later, the enormous street buzz of "Da Burgh Strictly" reached its climax when it caught the ear of major label producer and Pittsburgh native, Mel-Man, who's worked with Dr. Dre, heard it and invited Tee-Jay to come to Los Angeles to work with him.

Well-known bad blood between Pittsburgh neighborhoods reared its ugly head thousands of miles away. Mel-Man, who is from the Hill, decided he could not work with someone from Hazelwood.

Tee-Jay arrived in California with $4.00 dollars and dream, discouraged but not broken in spirit he quickly began building a fan base in San Diego via open mic nights, pressing and distributing his mix-tapes, and word of mouth. Tee-Jay noticed that outside of his hometown dwelling, he stood apart from other artists by his originality and charisma.

Fate intervened and Tee-Jay met a producer named Wild Bill. The two hit if off instantly, recording My Testimony, a concept album about life and being in darkness and finding the light. Tee-Jay wanted to share his vision of never giving up on your dreams and persistence and character. He has a strong emphasis on education, the value of good credit. He encourages children to stay in school and stay off drugs.

Preparing his new CD “You Don’t Work You Don’t Eat” is once again poised to show that Hip-Hop is not dead. Alongside Tee-Jay are Slim Kaity, Wiz Khalifa, Ruslan of theBREAX, Lil Slim, Babe Loc. With new production by: Wild Bill, Tee-Jay, Eye Am, Nesia Beatz, Hazmat, , Dub’s Attic, NEF, D-1. His buzz has created a global uproar, and Tee-Jay will continue to take music to a plateau it’s never seen before.

* Mandalay Bay - Las Vegas, NV
* Summer Jam Festival - Salt Lake City, UT
* Shadow Lounge - Pittsburgh, PA
* HKan Hookah Bar & Lounge - Pittsburgh, PA
* PNC Park - Pittsburgh, PA
* The Knitting Factory - Los Angeles, CA
* Zen Sushi - Los Angeles, CA
* The Blvd - San Marcos, CA
* Elevated - San Diego, CA

Radio / TV Features:
* WPTS 92.1 FM – Pittsburgh, PA
* WAMO 106.7 FM – Pittsburgh, PA
* XMOR 98.9 FM – San Diego, CA
* Pittsburgh Cable Television Channel 21