Tyesha Wilson rocketed into internet stardom in November thanks to her flawless, impromptu recitation of Philly rapper Freeway's timeless hit "What We Do."
Video of Wilson at a 2018 Sixers-Heat game went viral after Election Day when Complex Editor-in-chief Maurice Peebles tweeted it out in response to reports that the high vote count in Philadelphia tilted the pivotal state of Pennsylvania in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.
BIG MOOD pic.twitter.com/RElWkjKyvR
— maurice (@tallmaurice) November 6, 2020
The clip is from a longer fancam video that took place at the game after the announcers introduced Freeway, who was in the building that night.
The Philadelphia Inquirer tracked down Wilson and spoke to her about her new internet stardom, her love of Philly sports and her deep respect for the legendary Freeway.
Wilson explained that the arena began playing the Freeway hit and asked fans to rap along, which many did without hesitation.
“Freeway was at the game, so it was a lot more for everybody to just show out. We know the guy from in the neighborhood, so I got up and I pledged my allegiance, ‘cause, you know, that’s our anthem,” the 36-year-old North Philly native told the newspaper.
“It’s like a tattoo that I don’t have. To be honest? I’m still in shock. I can’t believe it. The video is two years old. I had no idea and then I see it and it’s — I don’t know! My soul came out of my body," she added.
I keep thinking about that woman rapping "What We Do" at the Sixers game.
I'd wish her well, but I already know she's somewhere holding it down.
— brandon / jinx / big jinx (@brandonjinx) November 25, 2020
In her interview, she explained why Freeway meant so much to her and why the song was important for her everyone from her neighborhood.
"I love it. Because in my opinion, I kind of represent people that I know that came from where I came from — my struggle. You can be from the hood and not be hood. Because that was me, but you know, I went to school, started doing my thing," she said.
"It gives me a sense of pride. I feel like a patriot for Philadelphia because we have our own little clique, our little thing," she added.
Wilson was born in North Philadelphia but has moved a lot over the years. She now lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her partner.
She's already well aware of her newfound fame and has made t-shirts of her viral moment that you can buy off of Instagram.
She told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she is a massive Sixers fan and has gone to every home game for the last six years with her partner.
Her love of Philadelphia sports teams comes from her family.
"I was born into this. When you wake up, after you eat and you hear your mom screaming, 'Go boy, go!! Go boy go!!' for the Eagles, and then my sister — she used to play ball in junior high school. Now, you know, my beau, we have season tickets [for the Sixers]. So we always at the games. And it’s just a passion," she said, before pointing to her chest. "It’s in here.You gotta cut me open — it’s green. I’ll show you; I promise."
Doing her best Jackée Harry impression, Wilson joked that she's "married, but we ain't married," to her partner and has spent years as a student.
But no matter where she goes, she will always hold North Philadelphia, and Freeway, in her heart.
"When you see somebody that came up from where you came from and make it and still be positive. I mean, it’s OK, to say things but these rappers [today] say stuff and talk about these lives that they don’t live. And Freeway never was that guy…He wasn’t only rapping; he was selling bean pies. He was doing anything he could do," she said.
"Even to this day, he’s successful, and he ain’t gotta be no killer. I like that. And people want to aspire to be that because you either dead or you in jail. And nobody wants to stay there. Nobody wants to perpetuate that. So yes, it’s inspiring, and it gives you hope you can make it. And I want to pass that to other people, too. Because I feel like I’m making it, too," she added.