Tyla Yaweh is a rockstar – and he’s known it since the fourth grade.
The Florida-born artist initially shocked his mother and teachers when he started dressing in all-black and painting his nails. “They thought I was worshipping the devil, but I just loved the way they dressed—Marilyn Manson, My Chemical Romance, The Used,” the blue-haired rapper tells BeatRoute from his Toronto green room when he was in the city opening for his friend, the massively popular, Grammy-nominated Post Malone. For most that would sound like a daunting task – but this is just another day in Yaweh’s life.
He came up in the grimy Florida rap renaissance alongside the likes of Lil Pump, Ski Mask the Slump God, Smokepurpp, XXXTentacion and even performed at the very first Rolling Loud festival. “Tariq [Cherif] and Matt [Zingler] used to manage me, I used to sleep on their couch. I never signed with them but they’re my homies until the day I die. They’ve put me on a bunch of their shows. It’s actually crazy, it started off as a couple of small shows and evolved into the festivals you see around the world now.”
Yaweh credits a childhood of Fuse TV and Warped Tour videos as well as breakdancing functions and his sister’s band for pushing him into pursuing music. ”My sister was in a band, it was like Destiny’s Child mixed with 2Pac. It was cool, they had signed to a publishing company. She was doing hella shows and I saw that whole lifestyle.” His music and passion lead him to moving to Los Angeles and catching the attention of Post Malone and Dre London, eventually becoming the first signee to their London Entertainment company. “It really opened my eyes. Post has this video of Ozzy Osbourne he puts on the screen when he performs ‘Take What You Want.’ My manager was at Ozzy’s house when they were filming it. He was sending me videos of him and it was so powerful, like this is really the Prince himself.”
While his trip with Posty may have been his first time performing in Toronto, Yaweh has a deep connection with the city via his favourite television show, Degrassi: “I was just talking to Drake about this. I think that whole Degrassi wave was crazy. I loved Degrassi; that was my favourite show. I wanted to move to Canada because of that, it seemed lit. And it really is lit, I’m not gonna lie. It’s like one big Degrassi show out here.” In addition to being pals with Drake, he’s also good friends with 12AM, a rising Canadian artist (under the same management) of whom he speaks very highly. “12AM, that’s my dawg,” Yaweh says. “My managers, they been helping him out. That kid is next up. He’s got a new song with Lil Keed that’s not out yet that’s fire. Trust me, he’s about to blow up. I love that kid.”
A quick glance at Yaweh’s Instagram shows a life of high energy—goofy antics on a rockstar journey. He insists that he maintains a healthy balance but when asked about taking a vacation, he instantly proposed throwing a concert. “We just did a whole tour out there but I want to go back and do nothing,” he says. “I was thinking about throwing a small, private show and tell people to pull up for free. I want to be that type of person that has a presence. When I’m in the room you know I’m here.”
Opening for Post Malone on tour would be a dream-come-true for many and while Yaweh maintains that he has a long way to go, he acknowledges the absurdity of the moments that occur when you’re a rising rapper. “We were out in the middle of Nebraska in a cornfield, me and my road manager, making funny videos with some masks,” he says. “We didn’t even show where we were, just in the cornfield. An hour later, 50 kids are outside my bus in this random town. It’s really crazy what phones can do.”