Over the past six months, the A$AP Mob has done nothing but continue to get stronger, building upon the recent success of each other's progress while continuing to make their own lanes. Although they do group themselves as a crew, each member is his own functioning branch, making a name for himself in his own ways.
Back in January, we introduced you to eight of the key players, and today, we're here to tell you about another, A$AP Ty Y. Ty Y, not to be confused with Ty Beats, has started a much more "Rides"-oriented youth movement called "Bike Life," grabbing our attention when we saw footage of him scraping the pavement on the highway, as he wheelied a risky dance with danger. Born Tyrone Walker, 22-year-old Ty has been involved in the motorcycle and four-wheeler culture since a youngin'. We sat down and got to know him a little better, discussing what the "Bike Life" entails, how he became involved in the A$AP Mob, and what his plans are for the future.
As told to Tony Markovich (@T_Marko)
Tell me a little bit of your background. What are you about?
I’m pretty much into bikes, fashion, music, and the whole culture of bringing the young talents back. I’m a cool dude, a very interesting person once you get to know me. I'm bringin' the new school back and letting the old people sit back.
How did you get into bikes?
Well, since before I could even ride a bike or even afford a bike, I was fascinated by it. I would watch it on TV ever since I was young. It started on pedal bikes since I was five or six, until I could finally put a motor on a bike. Then, it took off.
When did you first get a motorbike?
I bought my first motorbike when I was 14. Once I bought one, I just kept buying them and buying them and just got better. Repercussions come with broken ankles, cuts, and bruises, but that just comes with the territory.
Riding in the city is a lot different than in a more rural area. Do you strictly ride around in the streets or do you go upstate?
I definitely just ride in the streets. There is no upstate, unless you’re outside the five boroughs. You can’t ride in the boroughs, as we all know, but I guess I tend to break the law. Until they find a place for us to ride, the streets is my territory.
What is the “Bike Life?" What does that encompass?
Bike life is when you leave your issues at home, get on the road, and just ride and forget about things. I like to say I put on for my city and show the people what they wanna see. Anyone can get on a nice, expensive bike, but if you on one wheel and start doin' tricks it looks more interesting.
The bike life is trying to start something up and build an empire. It's somthing that we trying to bring more people to recognize and be more interested in and stop looking at it for the wrong reasons. Reasons besides not wearing a helmet or running lights. It's to show another side of the bike world, instead of just seeing it as people acting crazy in chaos, and running over people and running lights.
If you’re trying to show the other side of that, how do you think people are gonna see that when you’re doing things like riding into oncoming traffic or doing wheelies on the highway?
[Laughs] I mean, you gotta start somewhere.
What kind of looks do people give you when you’re on the highway?
Oh man, the looks? It’s crazy because some are like “yo this guy's crazy, he's a lunatic.” It’s just all different energies. Some people are fascinated by it, some people don’t like it, some people want us to get the hell off the road, some people sit by and watch it. Everyone has different energy for it. I think the viewers really like it, though. I feel that a lot of people are very interested in it. If we could do it on a more professional level, it’d be much better. It’s something I don’t think is gonna change. Whether it’s me or somebody else, people are gonna continue to do it and break the law.
Have you run into cops yet?
Of course, we run into the cops all the time
They say by New York City law that they’re not supposed to chase you, but they chase us anyway. If they catch us, they catch us. If they don’t, we get away. I don’t stop for no cops.
You’ve never been caught?
I don’t know about all that.
It sounds like you have.
Nah, but if we get caught, we gonna come back out and get on the bike again. What can you do? You’re just gonna give me a couple summons and sit me in there for a couple hours and tell me I’m free to go? Or give me some tickets I got to pay? I’m gonna come back out. It’s not a felony regardless of whatever the charge is. There are worse things than that. That’s not the topic we’re not trying to go with, because it's not about that.
How about they build a coliseum for us to ride in? If it's a problem, then let's get one of those or find a place where people in New York City can travel to. We’re building everything for everything else, why can’t we build a little spot for people to ride at? You could get registered bikes, too, but I just choose to ride the ones that aren’t registered.
Why don't you register them?
I could definitely get ‘em registered, that’s not a problem.
Then why don't you.
Mine are fours, they’re not street legal bikes that I ride. Some of them you could pull over and give information and it's not a problem, but nine times out of 10, they’re gonna give you anything. If I’m riding with a pack and they’re riding off doing whatever they’re doing, I’m gonna get all the tickets. I like to go about my business.
In your videos you're always riding four wheelers. What do you like about fours more than bikes?
I been started messin' with the Banshee or the four wheeler, because it was just more interesting. It’s more of a challenge. I've only been riding Banshees for about a year. I just started, so it was more for the challenge. It's just another stage for me. It was somethin’ that I didn’t do yet, so when I got to it, it was more interesting and more challenging. After that, I'm gonna get bored and I’m gonna get more extreme than this.
What’s the challenge riding a four wheeler compared to a bike?
The most challenging part is getting away from police, because it’s four wheels and you can’t squeeze through everything. It’s harder to maneuver through traffic congestion. It’s hard to get away, so it’s an advantage for them. So when it’s 100 two wheelers and four four wheelers, in their mind, they think they gon’ catch the four wheelers, when in all reality, four wheelers are faster. If you got someone that's nice, which is me, it's not gonna be easy.
You gotta know how to maneuver it. As far as doing wheelies and trying to do stunts with it, it just has a lot more power. The power and the torque in the bike is just a lot different. Anybody who rides a bike can tell you that. It's just a little more dangerous. You could say it's easy because of the four wheels, but it's different.
Speaking of dangerous, what’s the worst accident that you’ve either seen or been involved in?
The worst accident was when I got hit by a car. I broke my ankle. I blacked out and that was the crazy thing about it. I never envisioned that situation. I got hit by a car and my reaction was to jump up and walk, but I went to walk, my leg just gave out started wobblin'. That's when i knew my leg was broken. But, I just healed up and got back on bikes. Besides a friend or somebody losin’ their life that was personally my worst situation I've experienced.
When was was that?
About two years ago.
It was your leg or ankle?
I broke my ankle.
That's not too bad for getting hit by a car.
Yeah, but it was very painful.
How long did it take to come back from that?
It took about three months. I had to have surgery.
When you got back on the bikes, did you have a different mind set?
Yeah, just to be way more careful. Before that, I was full fledged, and I didn’t give a fuck, but once I knew that there is repercussions and you can really hurt yourself, you gotta just take your time and be more relaxed and take it easy. It can make you crazy at the same time, because I’m pretty sure people got shot nine times and actin’ like they can’t ever be shot again. So, I know its not the same territory, but it just makes you be more careful.
On the last video I was watchin’ you guys dedicated it to Ray Ray? Can you tell me about who that was?
Ray Ray was a guy who was down with Harlem Legends, and Harlem Legends is a group we have in Harlem of people who paved the way for guys who was on bikes and things of the matter but he was one of the legends that hold a lot of weight in New York City, as far as Bike Life and bike history so every year we do a ceremony we light a little candle out front of his building every day of his birthday and that day was actually his ride where we ride the whole five boroughs it was about 600 to 700 bikes and we do that every year and we gon’ continue to do that every year but he was a good dude he was like the Michael Jordan of bikes he said he could wheelie a boat if he could, thats just how he was. He could wheelie anything I don’t care what it was, if it had wheels, it rode, he would try to wheelie it. He was a good dude but he passed his way you know what im sayin but thats pretty much it if you have any further questions about him...?
What happened to him?
He had a motorcycle accident on one of the highways and he didn’t make it.
I’m sorry, how long ago was that?
I’d say no more than about two years ago.
You guys have a big showing for that already.
Oh yeah, this is gonna happen every year. It’s gonna continue and get bigger and bigger. Next year I bet it’s gonna be 1,000.
You were personal friends with him?
Yes, I was friends with him.
What does that mean for you to see such a big out pour of support?
To see that a person can make a change like that is great. There are a lot of viewers out there, and you’re not alone. There are a lot more people interested in this Bike Life just as much as we are. It's not just about you and your bike and doin’ whatever you doin'. You’re motivating a whole bunch of other people, and they show support. Out of the whole pack, half of them probably didn’t even know him. They were just there to show support for what he had done after seeing his videos. It shows what type of impact he had on bikes. He was a real cool dude.
On a lighter note, everybody’s watching those videos with you on the bike pretty much vertical doing the wheelies. What are a couple secrets to keeping the bike stable like that and not flipping back?
I would say bike control and you gotta have a form of balance . Thats the key thing, balance; sense of weight shifting and all sorts of that matter. Its pretty much balance and techniques you gotta know certain techniques, you know what I’m sayin? To be one of the greatest out there you gotta do things for your advantage that can help you. I could tell somebody the same thing I’m doin’ but it might not work for them. Its certain things I could do that just work for me to make me perfect what I do. I mean I can teach people, I can definitely teach somebody but thats pretty much it...
What’s it like when you’re on the highway inches from the ground going that fast next to all those cars that don’t know what hell you’re doin’ or where you’re goin?
[Laughs] Its exciting, an adrenaline rush. It’s very exciting. It’s thrill seeking, it’s no fear. I’m not scared, I guess Im in the motion I got my own song playin’ in my head, im just rollin’ just in my own little mode.
So nothing scares you on the road?
Nah, maybe a couple trucks or somethin’ but other than that...
Have you ever gone under trucks?
Nahh, never tried that shit unless we set it up. (He laughs) I’m not doin’ that in no street, I’d have to sign some papers!
I was waiting for you to ramp of some cars or something like that...
Oh man, I’ll definitely save that for somethin’ like that [the Fast and the Furious]
Did you dub yourself the “black Travis Pastrana?"
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m runnin with that...
Is that someone that you look up to?
Yeah, that’s someone I looked up to. That's someone I looked up to since, like I said I was ridin’ for so long back then when i was younger he was one of the names that I was hearin’ a lot and was doin’ whatever he was doin’ and I was just fascinated by that before i could actually by one that was one of the people I was seein’ on T.V. that was just always doin’ somethin’ crazy you know what im sayin, he was just makin it happen.
Have you ever thought about you know guys are bike life but have you ever thought about doing rallying or cars?
Of course, I’m a thrill seeker, I already thought about half the things you probly got on your mind right now, if I could jump out this building and be okay I’d do it...seriously, I’m just like that, won’t even think, you ain’t gotta tell me what floor we on...
Do you have a relationship with Meek Mill at all?
What kind of a relationship?
I mean, he’s really into bikes as well...
I never met him personally but we be around some of the same people somewhat as far as this Bike Life thing is big but I never personally met him.
Is that something you’re maybe hoping to do sometime just because you guys have the same interests?
I’m not necessarily hoping to like meet him, but if we come across each other that’ll definitely be somethin’ we can make positive, make somethin happen, we can line somethin up we got the same interests you know that could work...
Anything to add or anything you would like people to know about you and your movement?
I guess they’ll just wait and see I’m so spontaneous. There’s nothin’ specific I can tell you or tell anybody; you’ll never know could be the next day, week, a couple months...Just always expect somethin’ it’s gon’ always be somethin’ I will always be givin’ you somethin’ to see...
How did you get involved with the A$AP group?
I got involved with them, because I’m Harlem, and I just I knew everybody. Everybody was all from around the block. We all grew up around the area and things just migrated and made it to the place it made it to. We runnin' the streets, and we got a group that’s finna take over the game.
You also rap, correct?
Yeah, I rap.
What kind of direction do you usually take with your rap?
I go very street with it, I’m versatile. I just make sure I try to get a message across on every track I ever get on or every record I do.
What kind of messages?
Good question. Basically, whatever message you get from it. It depends on what track it is. Whatever feelin’ it gives somebody and whatever mode they get to and however they take the energy. It’s positive music to make you think and wonder a little bit. I'm tryin' to be different, not just the same sound you’re used to hearin’. I’m just trying to be very versatile.
How does it work within the whole crew as far as music goes?
We help each other out and everybody just is doin’ their own individual things, but we’re all headed to the same goals. We work on different projects, but somehow still come to the same place. It's still the mob, the mob is still considered a group. There's no one man in this army.
Is the Bike Life more of your focus as opposed to your music? Is the music a side project?
I’m not more or less focused on it, but I’m tryin’ to stir somethin’ up with this Bike Life. My man [A$AP Rocky] is already tearin’ the rap game up, so I’m not interested in trying to push that. Like I said, we’re doin’ pretty good with this rap thing. If i could be the power that could be the outlet to something different, then I’ll run with that. That’s the creative part about me. I’ll balance both things out.
Whats that been like being involved with this crew as they’ve started to rise to the top recently?
It’s been crazy, it feels like it was overnight. Now we there, the next minute we there. It’s happening so fast. It's like you feel like you still gotta wake up from a dream. I ain’t even wash my face, and here I am doin’ an interview now. I’m still thinkin’ about yesterday. That's how quick everything is movin’. We're doin' so good. It feels like we’re movin too fast. I'm just lovin’ the success and am proud of what we have accomplished. I'm happy with the progress we’ve made since we were looked at and I'm happy to be aboard the ship.