In a world full of pretenders, it’s not always easy to be yourself. Well, New Jersey hip-hop and battle rap artist, Tez Love, pushes the envelope by staying true to his roots and who he is while advocating for others to do the same.
Paterson Bred, Atlanta Fed
Tez Love grew up in the heart of Paterson, New Jersey in a family environment filled with love and the freedom to be a child. He describes the streets of Paterson as rough but filled with so much culture, “To live in Paterson is to KNOW Paterson,” Love said.
The multi-talented artist felt that he could expand outside of his comfort zone in New Jersey and took a leap of faith to move down South. Love initially moved to Atlanta, GA to pursue his interest in film, “[I came] initially to expand on my film aspirations. I just knew I’d be in someone’s writer’s room. Two and a half years later, I just picked up the pen and released my first musical project in over a decade. This city motivated me to do better as an artist and has inspired me.” Love encourages music artists, especially LGBTQIA+ artists, to take a leap of faith to make their dreams a reality.
East Coast Battle Rap Culture
Love was introduced to the battle rap culture in 2011 through Queen of The Ring, an-all female battle rap platform created by former Da Band member, Babs Bunny, Vague, and Debo. The first battle Love watched was Chayna Ashley vs Jaz The Rapper, and he instantly fell in love with the lady’s charisma and grit. His inspiration to become a battle rapper came from the powerhouse female battle rapper and hip-hop artist, Chayna Ashley. Love said, “Chayna Ashley has been my favorite battle rapper ever since [the beginning], so it's safe to say she inspired me to get into it.”
As a battle rapper, Love has a smooth intricate flow mixed in with powerful punchlines. Witty bars such as, “Doing research on a b*tch, I really had to study a broad (abroad),” and “Me & my dad hardly speak because of my preference, I’m used to breaking families up,” shows why he is not to be played with in the battlefield. Love grew into a seasoned battle rapper and began welcoming talent for the first LGBTQIA+ inclusive platform, Prism Battle League, created by the legendary, Sara Kana.
Love said, “I’ve helped pioneer a battle rap league geared to the LGBT community. Prism is an all-inclusive brand where everyone can come battle and get comfortable.” He believes Prism Battle League is significant because it brings unity and solidarity amongst the LGBTQIA+ community and other communities. Love said, “It's hard enough as gay men and women to become prominent in a society that shuns homosexuality, but I think with a solid team and great support, we have the opportunity to make space for us.”
Tez Love had a full circle moment in 2021 when he battled on Queen of The Ring versus a female battle rapper named Breezy. The battle was a great back-and-forth and showcased both their witty skills on a mainstream platform. Female rappers such as Rah Digga, Remy Ma, Da Brat, and more have supported Queen of The Ring and continue to show love.
Love is also the first openly gay battle rapper to battle outside of the United States of America, (twice in Canada,) and deserves his flowers.
If I Leave A Message, Will You Call Back?
Tez Love has been a recording music artist for almost a decade and does not shy away from reinventing himself. On his latest project, Please Leave A Message, Love tackles topics such as heartbreak, life reflections, flexing on his exes and next, and much more. Throughout the 13-track project, there are voicemail interludes from Love’s friends and family setting the tone.
When asked about Love’s inspiration for Please Leave A Message, he said, “Please Leave a Message was a re-introductory to my place in music. It also reflects on my introverted [nature] because it is very seldom I pick up the phone. I like to be alone, but as a loner, we still go through things. So, it is imperative that I share my situations with the world. I like to think of myself as an artist who makes relatable music.”
Atlanta is considered the “Black Mecca of the South” and “Black Hollywood,” due to the influx of creatives that live and succeed in Atlanta. Love believes Atlanta offers many opportunities for creatives, and he is stepping up to the plate while savoring the moments of life.
When asked about his future as an artist, Love said “[My future] is unwritten, but limitless. It definitely includes a bit more consistency on my end and much more confidence. I'm at a state of my life where I’m losing people left and right, and life is too short so I’m going to live it how I want to and put the emphasis of that into my music!”
Follow Tez Love on Instagram to keep up to date with his upcoming battles and latest music.