Below any tree, you’ll find roots that stretch deep and wide. It’s these roots that keep the tree nourished, upright, and strong, and help it weather the fiercest storms. Without strong roots connecting it to the earth which spawned it, a tree would soon wither and die. The same goes for human beings. Strong roots give life and they also sustain it, and this is something which rapper Tatted Swerve has made it his business to never forget.
“You, me, everyone, we’re all products of our environment,” says Tatted Swerve. “Where we’re from, our families, our friends, the culture we grew up all play a part to help shape who we are and what we value. That’s your roots, and you need to stay true to your roots or you’ll end up like driftwood on the ocean, tossed and turned by the tides with no direction and autonomy.”
Direction and autonomy are traits multi-talented artist Tatted Swerve has valued from a young age. Growing up in the Bronx, New York, he was exposed to a lot of strong influences particularly from his nearest and dearest. The 31-year-old revealed, “My family was an artistic family, and that had a huge impact on me for as long as I can remember. My grandmother was a professional painter, my mother was a huge jazz aficionado, and my father was a massive hip-hop fan. All those influences conspired to help shape the man I would become.”
As a child from a broken home, Tatted Swerve would use both painting and music to articulate his emotions as he grew. By the time he had turned 16, Swerve had been invited by a friend to lay down some tracks at a home music studio and it’s here where he refined his art as a rapper. Aware of how tough it would be financially to make a name for himself in the world of hip-hop, Swerve pursued his other passions of painting and tattooing to make ends meet. Years later when he was financially secure, Swerve was once again able to refocus on his first love – music. Since dropping his debut single “Come Home” in 2018, Tatted Swerve has been on something of a rollercoaster ride.
Swerve explains, “The rapping side of things has finally taken off and that’s because people know I’m authentic and the real deal. I‘m not pretending to be someone I’m not. I know where I come from and I know where I’m going and I won’t sell myself out to get there. The place I call home, the streets I grew up in, the friends I made, the family I love, the experiences that shaped me, and the traits which define me all have roots that go deep. It’s those roots that keep me strong and give me a solid foundation. I’m building a house made out of oak, not a house made of sand. After the strong wind blows and the bitter rains fall, I’m still standing because I’ve got roots and roots are everything.”
Tatted Swerve added, “I think it was Marcus Garvey who once said: A people without the knowledge of their history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots. That to me says it all, and clarifies in a nutshell why roots, and staying true to them, are so important.”