New Jersey’s own Tsu Surf is preparing to drop his next body of work before his upcoming battle with Aye Verb. The lyricist celebrated the release of his fourth mixtape at his official listening session at the Born Fly Clothing showroom in New York City at the top of the month (Oct. 2). After performing a mix of his throwback tracks and new songs, Surf spoke about his new project named after his hometown Newark.
“For the fans that do know me, I try to keep my growth consistent,” Tsu Surf exclusively told VIBE. “If you listen to the music, I’m just talking about what’s happening in my life. People are getting to know me. So if someone were to meet me tomorrow, they can just open that book and read it from front to back. I feel like that’s what my music does.”
With tracks like “Long Way From Home” circulating around the digital airwaves, the 14-track project will set new standards for the future of his career outside the battle rap ring. Newark is stacked features from Jadakiss, Styles P, Joe Budden, Louie V Gutta and more with beats from his in-house production team Trunk Knockkas, Mike Zombie, J Oliver and Montage.
The follow-up to his previous mixtape Garden Grillz is set to drop before his highly anticipated battle against Chi-town MC Aye Verb Nov. 21. The former “Road To Total Slaughter” contestant is considered “that guy” in Chicago, which is why Surf accepted the challenge. We got to catch up with Surf to talk about the mixtape (dropping on Oct. 30) and what he has in store for his upcoming battle.
VIBE: Explain your shift in focus from battle rap to your budding music career.
Tsu Surf: I mean there was never really a curve. I just feel like I was respected more in one craft than the other, which is understandable. Battle rap is on a huge level right now, like its on TV with millions of followers. So my plan really was to use the battle rap platform to get here.
Why did you decide to call the mixtape Newark?
It’s just home, through my eyes. It’s what represents my city. It’s everything. It’s what made me into what you see on stage. That’s what it means to me.
What’s the most outstanding aspect about the project?
One of the most outstanding things about this project is building relationships during the project. Jadakiss practically raised me and I never met him until I was 24. My pops wasn’t around like that, but Kiss’ mixtapes were. I grew up on Jadakiss and Styles P. Now I can call Jadakiss and he’ll pick up. I call Styles P and he answers every time. So building relationships during the process of making the mixtape and seeing it all come together was worth it.
What can we expect from your upcoming battle with Aye Verb?
With me, as far as battling, I think everybody knows what to expect from me. I’m just going to perform. Battle rap at this point to me, some may take this as a shot but, it’s just another thing on the schedule. Will I win? Yes. Is it going to be ugly? Yes. Right now, with everything else I got going on, it’s just another thing on the schedule. But I’m preparing, I will be ready and it’s going to be a good one.
What advantages do you feel you have over him?
Everything. I’m more lyrical, more aggressive, everything. I’ve never been to Chicago and I wanted to battle away, and it’s a great check.
Watch the recap of the celebration below.