Early on, T-Wayne realized that the key to unlocking his dreams was simple. He just had to grind harder than literally everybody else. Watch the video
“I put in crazy work,” he declares. “I can be funny sometimes with my lyrics, but I’ll throw something real in there too. It’s usually about the hard times I faced trying to get here. These songs all came from somewhere. There were times I didn’t feel like I was going to make it, but God blessed me and I never stopped or threw in the towel. I never will either.
”Before “Nasty Freestyle” became one of the biggest hits of 2015 and he scored a major label deal with WeRunIt/Unauthorized/300, the Dallas-born and Houston-based rapper first picked up a mic at just 15-years-old. Inspired by listening to everybody from Eminem and Cam’Ron to Slim Thug and Mike Jones as well as watching 8 Mile with his dad, T-Wayne cut mixtape CDs that he’d sell to his classmates. He was hustling even in high school!
Graduating, he split his time between three jobs and rapping all night at home. His “South Dallas Swag” hit Texas airwaves during 2011 and even got Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, and Bow Wow dancing on BET’s 106 & Park. Simultaneously, T-Wayne started a tradition of releasing one video per week on his YouTube page, organically amassing a faithful fan base with hundreds of clips along the way.
Instead of waiting around, he created his own turning point with “Nasty Freestyle.” Over a simmering piano and stark production, he delivers an infectious and irresistible verse, flaunting highly quotable lines like, “got a tiger for a pet, I just took him to the vet” and the booming opener, “First let me hop out the motherfucking Porsche.”
T-Wayne posted a clip of the track’s video on Instagram, and it immediately went viral. Soon, over 33 million Vine loops popped up with the opening quote, garnering millions of views off the bat. Its official music video clocked over 34 million in three months, while the single vaulted to #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #8 on the iTunes Top 100 in May, fast-approaching a Gold certification.
“It’s the first time I ever made a song about how I really feel and what I want to say,” he admits. “Back in the day, I held back. In this freestyle, I was like, ‘I don’t care anymore,’ and I went off. I said everything that was on my mind. I talked all the shit I wanted to talk. It was all about how I felt at the time. Now, I’m excited to be able to help my family and others out and build my career.”
As “Nasty Freestyle” exploded, he inked a deal with 300 Entertainment, one of the game’s hottest labels and home to Fetty Wap and Young Thug. Always constantly working, he unleashed his fiery Who Is Rickey Wayne? Mixtape to fan adoration. It firmly establishes his signature sound, a booming nod to futuristic auto-tuned Atlanta hooks, woozy Houston flavor, and impressive bars evocative of New York spitting.
“I got my own style,” he says. “It’s lyrical with realness, and I really spit. Other times, I’ll sing a bit more. I don’t try to rap like anybody else though. I do it like me.”In the end, the intensity of T-Wayne’s grind only heightens every time he hits the studio.
The success is an inspiration in and of itself as he readies more videos for his growing fan base, a second 2015 mixtape, and his next musical statement.
“I want everybody to feel like they can make it when they hear my music,” he states. “No matter what anybody tells you, you can do whatever you want to do. If you hear me, recognize that.”