Competing against six other artists for the So So Def chain on Season 5 of The Rap Game was lite work for 16-year-old Tyeler Reign. From the way she speaks, to the style of clothing, down to the cadences in her raps – the West Coast is represented.
After 10 weeks, the creator of the show, Jermaine Dupri, knew who’s neck he would be putting the iconic So So Def chain on – Tyeler Reign. She proved herself week-after-week with critical challenges consisting of freestyle battles, studio sessions, press runs, and even a music video featuring season 3’s winner Nova.
“When I got the call it was surreal,” Tyeler Reign admits to HipHopDX. “First thing I did was scream and cry then I thanked God himself. I worked so hard to get to this type of opportunity in my life and this was another stepping stone in my testimony.” Tyler was the pick of the litter all along. “I had to be myself and not conform. I had to showcase my different flow, stage presence, work ethic and always make sure I stayed ready so I didn’t have to get ready.”
Tyeler Reign’s “momager,” London, who also played a pivotal part in the Lifetime show, worked with her each week (showing tough love), with no tolerance for mediocrity.
“The experience with my mom was amazing actually!” Tyeler exuded. “Going through that for 10 weeks with her honestly just brought us closer and made the experience easier because she was there every step of the way and kept encouraging me no matter what the circumstances were.”
Although one episode took a turn for the worse, revealing London’s health scare right before our eyes, Tyeler Reign found the strength to continue fighting for the So So Def membership. “It was very hard…the world can be cruel so I didn’t know how everyone else was going to respond to the episode actually. It was nice to see and feel the love from everyone.”
Tyeler Reign had some tough competition to beat out, especially crowd-pleaser, Sire, who could have walked away with the So So Def chain and plaque. Sire continued to wow us each week with his undeniable lyrics and spontaneous backflips. However, the house wasn’t always fond of each other and there were challenging times.
“The hardest thing or the most challenging part was ignoring the comments in the house and just keeping my head in the game and worrying about me and my mom,” Tyeler tells DX. “I am still friends with some of the cast actually … Sire, Richye, and Nya are my gang for sure.”
For the final performance, which included other contestants Nya and Sire, Tyeler came out energetic with an undeniable stage presence. Shooting off her golden money gun, the crowd went crazy. A convinced Jermaine Dupri chained Tyeler Reign and welcomed her to the So So Def family with a plaque later that night.
Since then life has moved fast for Tyeler. “Life after the show has been amazing,” Tyeler expressed to DX. “I didn’t let the fact that the show was over make me stop working. I kept working and kept grinding as an artist should.” Tyeler then revealed, “I’m working on my EP and working on my second line of shoes – it’s a lot in the works and I honestly can’t wait to show the world my ReignGang of course.”
It’s no surprise that she aspires to work with Hip Hop pioneer, Missy Elliott, in the future. “Her creativity and how different she is and how amazing her vibe is… think we would create some innovative music,” Tyler shared with DX. Speaking of inpirations, Tyeler revealed how she finds her’s when writing: “I pull from personal experiences and from what’s going on in my audience today and I make sure that I stay current with topics that everyone can relate to.”
Also, first-hand knowledge and advice from Hip Hop industry vets like Jermaine Dupri and Will.i.am during those intense weeks helped shape her into the winner of The Rap Game season 5. “One thing that made me excited was the chance to get advice from them and learn and grow from the whole experience, and also being able to gain new ways to go about being an artist,” Tyler says.
With her newfound So So Def home, Tyeler Reign just dropped her latest single, “Yeahhh,” and is also working on her second line of sneakers, (after gaining an initial endorsement deal with Vlado Sneakers). “One thing I can say is that you haven’t seen the rest of me and I’m happy that this platform gave you guys a chance to take a peek into who I really am, and I welcome everyone to the life of Tyeler Reign.”
Stream Tyler Reign’s new Indian Trap-featured single “YEAHHH” below and follow her on Instagram @reigntyeler for more consistent updates.