Tayy Tarantino has been around the block when it comes to the music scene in Alaska. He was born and raised right here in Anchorage, Alaska and has built his career here along with a roster of upcoming local rappers. After a decade of work and opening for countless big-name acts like Wu-Tang Clan, Twista, Keysha Cole, 2Chainz, Travis Porter, and Tech 9- he goes into this weekend getting ready to open up for what many Hip Hop heads would consider one of the top 5 greatest rappers of all time, Nas. That’s right, Nas.
I met up with Tayy on a sunny summer day in Anchorage at the 49th Supply Co./Bad Agenda Compound to talk about his latest project, a 6 song mixtape titled “MMXVIII”(2018 in Roman numerals) that comes along with 6 music videos(a visual mixtape). We discussed our favorite Alaska based artist’s, how he fell into Bad Agenda and what we can look for from him next.
Whitney: Tell me where you’re from and what you're about.
Tayy: I’m from Anchorage, Alaska- born and raised. Been doing music since I was 5. I was in the choir at New Hope Church in Mountain View. When it came to rapping and writing I just started developing my own, listening to the people I looked up too. You know the oldies but goodies. I grew up with soulful R&B in the household, gospel music too. Music has always been in me. I’m a hip-hop and R&B artist, and I say, artist, because ya know, I do everything, you feel me? I wanted to do something new, trying to tell a story with this mixtape and do something on a major level with music from where nobody has ever done it before here, it’s uncharted territory in Alaska.
W: We have some old heads in the scene who put some music out and have seen some level of fame, like Josh Boots from Arctic Flow Records. That’s my favorite Alaska rapper.
T: He’s MY favorite Alaska rapper (laughs). He’s just so authentic. Growing up here I didn’t have many examples in the rap game to look up to, but Boot’s is someone I’ve held onto. Anyone starting to get into rapping here in Alaska will hear is a name, that is THE name you’re gonna hear. I know that for sure. Joker The Bailbondsman too, he has accomplishments too, he’s definitely pushed the scene and elevated it, and showed us industry connects on a higher level, and he's really showed us how to move around in the industry. Both of them have a lot of my respect. But Boots is the one I look up to when it comes to artistry.
W: What about RawBeatzz?
T: Man, RawBeatzz. First time I recorded with him I was 15, and it was a feature for someone. But that dude, I had always heard about him before I worked with him. From Atlanta to Kansas City, from linking with Gucci Man, Young Bloodz, producing for the label Third Wall. RawBeatzz is the guy. He is the guy.
W: How did you link with Vas?
T: Well we first met on Twitter. I was just getting started, just getting my feet wet. I was putting out music and he tweeted back to me like, yo- you ever thought about doing a music video? We linked up and went to the office we are sitting in right now. I brought my moms over and he told me he wanted work with me and we ended up shooting the video right out there on the back fence. Just me rapping along to my song, and I had never even thought about something like that, I had never had that kind of vision- but he did. Vas is my OG, ya hear? He’s one of my main dudes. We have a relationship outside of this music. He believes in me. There’s not a lot of people who can say they believe in you. There’s a lot of people who say they support you. But to really believe in someone and what they are trying to do to get on is rare. Vas was there when I was nothing. He’s been there when I’ve been cool when I fell off, he’s been there through it all. He was always there, for everything.
W: How did Bad Agenda come about?
T: I’ve always been tapped in with Vas. We always used to joke back in the day about starting a label, and he always knew I was down. Then I was on the road in DC doing my thing and I heard from Vas and he told me he had something he wanted to show me. It was the concept of starting a label to take someone to the next level, Bad Agenda. The label was started by Vas, Raw, and Alkota at the time. Alkota later stepped away to continue work on his online company The Drum Broker, an online Hip Hop drum sample library and sound design website (https://hiphopdrumsamples.com). Vas told me to come home, and help him turn the city up. So I came home. Let me tell you, I was nervous as hell being in the studio with them. That was when they started elevating me and my music to whole another level. Ever since then its been Bad Agenda.
W: So what's been happening this last year with your career?
T: We fresh off of my album “Homecoming”, it’s been a little over a year. One thing I’ve learned is that people rush the process with music. Everyone wants that quick acknowledgment, especially with the internet. They want that instant gratification, and it speeds up your process, and when you let people speed up your process then what you end up putting out isn’t as pure as it should be, or you end up doing something you don’t even want to do. You end up unhappy. We try not to let that happen here at Bad Agenda. Vas and Raw are always keeping me in my own pocket, telling me not to worry about anyone else, just focus on making what were doing right here greater. I’m around a bunch of people who are super motivating, and super inspiring just from what they do on a daily basis. John, Vas, Julia-those guys are at work 24 hours a day. Like what’s your excuse? Anything less than progress is an excuse. We’ve been pushing records and doing our thing, but I felt like I wanted to have fun with music again, and Vas could tell too. Which is how the new Mixtape came about.
W: Tell me about this new project. What inspired it?
T: Like I said, I just wanted to have fun with music again. I used to do mixtapes all the time back in the day. We wanted to give the people something raw and uncut. I think this is me having fun with music again. Vas was supportive about it too, he told me to get back in there and let loose. I just wanted to vibe out and do something different. I wanted this project to be the vibe for the year, that’s why we named it “MMXVIII”. The title is in Roman numerals too, which throws people off when they see it, so they ask, What’s this, what does this mean? And we like, it's 2018! So we're setting the tone for the year with it, lots of feel-good music.
W: Right man, I totally feel you. What sets this apart from any other mixtape out there?
T: I think one thing is that they aren’t expecting it. We’ve been super hush about this. But this is a whole nother level. It’s 6 songs, with 6 videos to go along with it. It’s a movie, it’s a story. No one in Alaska has ever dropped something like this. It’s a whole new vibe. There’s something for everyone in this project.
W: You talk a lot about the people who have supported you and helped you build who you are today, how does 49th Supply Co. fit into all of this?
T: That's gang, gang, ya know what I mean? Everyone says that, but I mean that. They are my family. They’ve always taken care of me in supporting me. They allow me to represent them through the brand, which is a big thing for the city. When I look at careers that have been great, not just average, but great- they always have their city involved. There have foundations in their city that can’t be broken. So for me, partnering with 49th was an easy choice. Which is why I rock their gear in all my videos, cause you know that puts someone else that you care about on the map
W: What’s next for you?
T: What’s next, huh? I’m opening for Nas this weekend on June 9th, presented by Moose’s Tooth. Other local artists are on too, like Josh Boots, Kayco Daily, and Soiled Seed. I haven’t slept man, I can’t sleep. That’s real. This is a moment you think about and talk about and dream about your whole life. But this level of artist is huge. When I met my idol J. Cole, I didn’t think I could be any more star struck. But I think I’m gonna be a little star struck on this one, it’s a huge deal for me. I might have to say a quick prayer to say thank you. He is one of the reasons we get to pick up these mic’s. I’m searching for this clip right now of me in the 5th grade in a talent show rapping to Nas, and here I am opening for him now. Shit’s crazy.
W: Anything else you wanna tell the people?
T: Bad Agenda, all year, all summer, all ya life. Remember it. We’re focused, and I understand the importance of patience and no excuses. Absolutely no excuses. This is my dream, and I’m gonna make it.
Written by Whitney Branshaw - The 49th Supply Co. Contributor
You can follow Tayy Tarantino:
IG @tayytaratino | FB @tayytarantino Twitter @tayytarantino
Download MMSVIII mixtape here https://audiomack.com/album/bad-agenda/mmxviii-mixtape
All other music available on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, and all major streaming outlets.