Definitely among the stand-out moments for Tyrese was his teaming up with the Emirati musician and singer Mehad Hamad. Instagram investigations reveal that Hamad presented Tyrese with an oud and that the two were given a cake wishing them luck in their musical endeavours. Tyrese also performed a quick dance (the classic regional one hand up, one hand down, turn around routine), while Hamad strummed beside him. “Were [sic] gonna do a song together it’s gonna be the first … Traditional Arabic music with American R&B,” he posted.
Much like most normal human beings, Tyrese has to eat, sometimes several times a day. And like a growing number of normal human beings, Tyrese has to tell people about these regular eating rituals via social media. During his time in the UAE, we’ve seen him enjoy a meal served by a private butler (he double claps for attention, at which point the butler fixes his serviette for him), prepare to sit down for a vast banquet along with his co-stars and even tell us that “the only thing that matters is lobster bisque” from his bathroom in Dubai. However, spitting in the face of such fine-dining escapades, somewhere in the middle of all this he instagrammed an image of some instant noodles, declaring them to be his “favourite meal of ALLLL TIME”. Just don’t tell the head chef currently busy preparing his nine-course extravaganza.
Paris Hilton had “that’s hot”, Charlie Sheen has his “winning” and it’s clear Tyrese is trying to put his celebrity stamp on another catchphrase. We’re not sure how many times he posted a reference to “whole nother [sic] level baby”, but it’s far too many for us to count. Who knows where he’s going with this one, but it came to be used for pretty much everything he saw, at one point even inviting followers to finish the sentence a “whole nother _____?” At his performance at Dubai’s XL Beach Club, he got the audience to chant “it’s a whole nother level, baby” after him, later declaring that it was the “largest crowd” to do so and that “HISTORY” had been made. Is he promoting something? Fitness regime? New range of ladders? Secret Candy Crush add-on?
Animals came to play a major part in Tyrese’s social media feed. Pictures and videos revealed that he hung out with baby chimpanzees, helped feed tiger cubs with Vin Diesel and tried to get a few words in with a fully grown white tiger, giving his best “habibi” from the other side of the cage. Alas, his efforts were in vain and the animal looked at him quizzically and strolled away or, as the Fast & Furious man later explained on Instagram, “I tried to talk and was ignored … not cool.”
Almost as soon as Tyrese landed in Abu Dhabi, he was given two days off and immediately hopped in a Dubai-bound helicopter with Vin Diesel, posting pics of the pair on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab (where a later post revealed he was staying), meeting up with Mehad Hamad and even heading to the Habtoor Polo. Showing that he’s not unlike the rest of us when faced with a fancy bathroom, he whacked his camera out in the Burj and gave us all a tour of the swanky-looking private Jacuzzi.
Ask Tyrese what his favourite daily English-language broadsheet in the UAE is and, while he may look at you oddly, his social media feed suggest it begins with a “T” and ends with “he National”. Over the past week or so, he’s given us several shout-outs on Twitter, one of which involved him retweeting our story of his forthcoming collaboration with Mehad Hamad. After his show at Dubai’s XL Beach Club, he even posted a screen grab of the “nother level” headline from our website. He must have been in a frantic rush to do so, as he refused to actually speak to our reporter at the event itself.
Tyrese posted two pretty deep videos while in the UAE. The first seemed to have been shot on a jet-lagged first day, a rambling free-flow that began with shots of his closed Emirates Palace-suite drapes, had him greeting a bird and repeating the mantra “self-love is the cure for self-hate”. (He also quoted his friend Will Smith that the five people you spend the most time with will determine your success). In a second video posted Monday, a sombre Tyrese counsels people to take a close look at their family and friends and jettison any downers. “Some people are in your life for a reason, other people are there for a season, but it’s important to realise when that season is over.”
Time to go. 152 Instagram posts and 33 Facebook updates later, the 35-year-old posts a short video from the first-class cabin of a plane shortly after 9am yesterday. He has a pretty sad face when he says: “Good-bye, I’m outta here. UAE I love you. I’m headed back to America. I’ll be back soon.” After this week, and an epic visit over New Year’s Eve, somehow, we believe him.