Tyson Sybateli tapped into a new creative gear with the release of Home. The album saw his style of storytelling become more exploratory in arguably his most thematically-driven body of work thus far. Less autobiographically personal in text, the record carries some of the artist’s most daring, accessible and personality driven records. My personal highlights being the soaring Growth that kept me going through the thick of things and our official pick, Heaven’s Gate, which provides concept storytelling that has enthralled me in any mood.
IllRose’s production intros with these ominous synths that flare with curious danger as a confused Francis Jay asks “With everything in my power, what is you talking about?” It’s a rather pertinent question to ask as we find Sybateli in a lover’s escapade that threatens to ultimatily take his life. Referencing the infamous religious cult, Heaven’s Gate finds Sybateli reimagining himself as a character whose girl is trying to get both of them to participate in the cult’s eventual mass-suicide. One wouldn’t initially guess that the context of this song is that dark purely by how humorously engaging Sybateli’s approach to the song is. Sybateli positions himself as a man sexually pursuing a woman who he finds out to be a church girl. Infatuated by their sexual relations, Sybateli is ready to do what it takes to keep things going with this girl until he finds himself at the church and is faced with the reality of what’s being asked of him. Even without full context of the lyric, Heaven’s Gate is a boisterous production that sweeps you into its alluring orbit. Francis Jay’s chorus is one of the most engaging hooks of Tyson S.T’s entire discography with the insistent “I’m ready” refrains that sear into your subconscious whilst propelling you to unknown danger. The propulsive energy of the production has kept me going at the gym whilst the song’s overall spectacle and storytelling has kept it on high rotation everywhere else.
Heaven’s Gate is thoroughly entertaining and smartly written with how it introduces interesting stakes to test Sybateli’s persona. Tyson Sybateli has had an undisputed run as my favorite rapper of this young decade. He’s a poignant storyteller with an entertaining charisma that keeps trying to push the limits of what it can do. Heaven’s Gate is my favourite hip-hop song from one of the most enduring albums of the year. It’s a sonic ride that I’m ready to ride again and again and again.
Read more Tyson Sybateli related content here and Francis Jay here. Read the full Top 22 of 2022 here.
Listen to Tyson’s Yazz Sessions of Home here and Francis Jay’s All That Yazz feature here.
Fun Facts: 1) Tyson Sybateli is one of only 2 artists to gain top honors in all three years we’ve done this list, the other artist is Thato Saul. 2) As it currently stands, Tyson Sybateli has the most songs with top honors in Next Gen Greats history, appearing in 4 songs that have received our top honors in the last 3 years.