The beauty of Hip-Hop lies within its ability to promote diversity. The soundtrack of the youth and the voice of rebellion, Hip-Hop’s message comes from a variety of places and different faces. The very fundamentals of Hip-Hop as told to us by the Zulu Nation state that the culture is universal and those who share in it are urged to express their individuality. Enter 50 Tyson.
50 Tyson, born Antonio Henderson-Davis, was just like any other kid growing up in Minneapolis, MN and attending Edison High School. Nicknamed after his resembling a cross between 50 Cent and Mike Tyson, the high school student shared a special connection with Hip-Hop. Many will argue that their Hip-Hop connections are equally as strong, but there is one discerning factor; 50 Tyson is autistic. Growing up under the veil of autism, it’s difficult to find an outlet for the energies that refuse to be released. “50” found his through rapping.
Through the lyrics of Tupac, 3-6 Mafia, and G-Unit, among others, “50” began his love affair with Hip-Hop. “Music was always my thing,” 50 Tyson recalls. “Ever since I was in the 8th grade, I knew I wanted to be a rapper. I always wanted to get a record deal and do something that nobody like me had ever done before.” With autism providing positive strongholds on things such as memory, “50” would memorize his rhymes and later have others write the words down for him. From there he began shooting videos. His introductory video went viral on YouTube, inching toward the 3 million-viewer mark. “At first I thought people were making fun of me,” “50” admits, “but then I realized they were supporting me. It felt really good.”
50 Tyson reached the ears of former Minnesota Timberwolves point guard / entrepreneur Troy Hudson. Hudson, who also rapped under the name T-Hud and started his own label Hudson Records, saw possibilities in “50”. “It didn’t dawn on me how I could help “50” when I first saw his video,” Hudson explains. “Then I realized this kid could change the world. He could change the perception of kids with autism and other disabilities. He could also change the spirit of Hip-Hop. You hear all of these rappers talking about drugs and guns and calling themselves real, but when you look at 50 Tyson, that’s really real.”
Hudson began working with “50” on honing his skills and crafting his sound. His songs "I Ain't Gonna Lie" and “Don’t Know How to Dougie But I Know How to Diddi” became internet hits, which led to performances offline in the club circuits of major cities including Minneapolis, Indianapolis, DC, and New York City. “50” recently released his debut mixtape I Ain’t Gonna Lie Vol. 1 hosted by radio personality and G-Unit deejay, DJ Whoo Kid.
Now finishing high school, “50” plans to attend college while continuing music and he’s also interested in acting. He hopes to continue his work with organizations like Autism Speaks and donate some of his success to charity. 50 Tyson’s goal isn’t to win the lyricist of the year or move records by the millions. His message is clear: he wants to be the face of autism through doing what he loves. As he begins his career as the first publicly autistic rapper, he has a few words of inspiration for kids just like him.
“Keep your mind on your music,” “50” states. “If you think you can rap, keep on doing what you do and don’t let anybody tell you this or that. When people call you weak, that’s not really true. Work harder and keep your hope alive.”
50 Tyson Bio