Locked Up by Akon, Just a Rascal by Dizzee Rascal and the Record Label, Def Jam.
All three of the above involve the UK Rap Legend Taz. Taz has the stand out verse on Akon’s Locked Up track from the Trouble album. Taz co-wrote and produced the smash hit Just A Rascal and is the first UK rapper to be signed to Def Jam. He’s kind of a big deal. At least he was between 2004 and 2012. Having shared the stage with the likes of Jay-z, Kanye West, Beyonce, Sean Paul, Styles P, Dizzee Rascal, Asher D and the list goes on. Taz then went on to perform for Prince Charles at the Princes Trust and wow the Princes into finally admitting the truth, The Royal Family secretly back UK Hip Hop on the sly. That’s right, you heard it hear first.
After his breakout from his solo work and Just A Rascal, Taz instantly got Head Hunted by Def Jam to become the first UK Rapper signed by them. Following the signing he released his debut album to critical acclaim, Analyze This. With tracks like “Cant Contain Me” reaching UK top 40. Others, not as commercially successful “Cowboy Film” and “Live And Learn” have a cult status in Uk Hip Hop, being considered two of the greatest tracks to come out of the rap scene.$
Taz - Analyse This - https://itun.es/i6746Zc
His track with Akon, Locked Up has gone on to sell over 300,000 copies.
Around 2008, Taz decided to take a break from the UK music scene and started touring Europe, networking , writing and producing finding where he wanted to be aligned in life and music.
Skip to 2017 and one of the most critically acclaimed artists to ever come out of the UK is here for good as he starts his comeback touring the UK now sharing the stage with some of the other most respected names in UK Hip Hop including Skinnyman and Micall Parknsun to start it off.
I went and met up with Taz for lunch to hear more from him on how he plans to come back and claim his throne in the UK rap game.
What’s goin on man, I know you got an incredible story. Give us a little introduction to it
“Yeh man, my name is Taz, UK Rapper, Producer, Dancehall artist, basically all around artist. I’m an Ivor Novello award winning writer, producer, co-producer. I’ve been working in the music industry for over 15 years. I’ve been apart of some big collaborations: Akon, Dizzee Rascal, Styles P, Tinie Tempa, Sway, Corey Johnson, Biggz, and among others. Iv working with the underground to the higher ground man, collaborating, writing, putting new ideas together making it happen man.
Tell me about getting linked up with Akon for the Locked Up track, that was mad.
Def Jam Uk and Semtex offered me it and put me straight with Akon and that remix got done you know what im sayin. Haha, at first I didn’t wanna do it cos Locked Up song wasn’t that big yet but as soon as it started to go crazy I was well happy man cos it really gave me that push.
So you’re the first and only Uk rapper to ever be signed to Def Jam is the still right?
The first and only Uk Rapper/ Dancehall artist ever singed to Def Jam in this country. I parted ways with them a while ago though. Def Jam UK is no more. Virgin I think owns all the catalogue.
And what artists inspired you growing up and had an influence on your growth?
Oh a whole range of artists from different genres man. The Beastie Boys, Biggie Smalls, Beanie Man, 2Pac, Mad Cobra, Spragga Benz, Linkin Park, Jungle Brothers, Lady Patra. All these guys man the list goes on and on. And my favourite I’v worked with has gotta be Akon man, Hes a big man. What hes accomplished and got goin on in Africa. Nothing but respect for that.
Gotta ask how did you get on the line up for the Princes Trust performing for Prince Charles? Is he a Hip Hop Head?
For real Prince Charles is secretly into Hip Hop aha but nah it was his sons actually, William and Harry. I performed for them with Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and all these people. Harry gave me an award, I’ve lost the letter you know. He gave me a letter thanking me for coming and that was dope, I enjoyed that. That was mad crazy man it was good times!
So you’ve worked with some huge American artists but you interested in working with any UK artists in the near future?
You know I f*ck with the UK scene man! Firstly you got my ones from my area: Harlem Spartans, I mess with them hard. Then you got Sneakbo, you know I rate Sneakbo, I rate Krept & Konan, from the same ends. Then there’s a couple Undergrounds artists I like, Roadside G’s, Steff London, Stylo G I rep. Yeh man I mess with a lot of UK Underground and Overground artists.
So tell me about this night you got coming up. The Line up looks sick
Yeh man it’s the Skinnyman and Taz tour. Its starts off on the 13th May. I cant tell you about the other dates yet cos that’s some below the radar right now but I got a lot of dates coming. I’m gonna give them my whole Analyze This album from the Def Jam UK days. Celebrating 15 years since its release. I’m gonna give them that history right now and document that. I’m gonna be performing that with a live band.
Join the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1760034177646042/
Cant wait man, thanks for coming down. You got any shout outs you wanna give?
Yo, big up Dark n Cold, big up Arrow Benjamin, Big up Reggie, big up Tyrone, Mykill Million, big up everyone in the UK music scene that keep on pushing. Semtex, Dizzee Rascal, Skepta, Boy Better Know, Newham Generals, D Double E doing the thing. All the new heads.
And for everyone wanting to stay connected to you, what’s ya social medias?
@Taz on Wistla comin real soon! @TazDMT on Twitter, @TazUk_Music on Instagram. @Taz97 on Soundcloud and more information coming soon man so just stay out for it, its happening!
You can download Taz - Analyse This - https://itun.es/i6746Zc