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By Alexzenia Davis
It’s “5 AM in NY”—and 20 year old Tayo’s remake of Drake’s smash hit (5AM in Toronto) is nothing to sleep on. He speaks to his grind with deliberate intensity and it is clear that for the young rapper, hip hop is more than just some pastime. His sound is marked by his swift delivery, precise diction and a distinct Puerto Rican/New York accent. His personality is infused within his flow and his energy is abundant throughout the 3 minute track.
Sift through the rest of the Bay Shore, Long Island native’s collection and you will find that this is his signature style. Tayo sounds like a veteran—comfortable, certain and seasoned.
His talent has not gone unnoticed. Tayo teamed up with his friend and producer, Josh (BChamp), in 2011 to form StudioGeek. Envisioning endless opportunities, the pair got to work and steadily developed a following through both live performances and viral campaigns. In 2012, Tayo won over the panel at Hot 97’s showcase. He continued on to be featured on legendary DJ Funkmaster Flex’s popular blog.
In 2013, his career reached new heights when he scored a deal with Sony RED and Massenburg Media—music mogul Kedar Massenburg’s (D’Angelo/Erykah Badu) latest venture. He was first introduced to Massenburg by his manager, Chaz (Black Hand Entertainment); a man whom he considers a mentor and who has witnessed much of Tayo’s journey.
Tayo’s journey began as early as elementary school and he did not have to travel far to discover his passion for music. Taking a cue from his older brother, Ricky, he began developing his skills as a lyricist. Self-motivated by an overwhelming desire to succeed—and a desire to best his brother—he thoroughly immersed himself in music. He played a variety of instruments as a child, including cello, bass, bass guitar, viola, violin, mandolin and piano. And when it came to his craft, he was influenced by hip hop heavyweights: Big Pun, Eminem, Nas, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac.
Tayo possesses a level of self-actualization and maturity that is not only impressive, but refreshing. He has a grasp on his story; and his messages are all true-to-character. He realizes that while his purpose might include music, it extends far beyond it; an acknowledgment which will inevitably serve him well. And when he quotes the poet Rumi, he believes it: “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
With several projects underway, Tayo is keeping busy. He has begun work on a DJ Wavy hosted mixtape titled, Simple Days. Desiring to produce great music for his fans—and with a personal goal of collaborating with top notch artists—he anticipates the release of forthcoming singles, “Madonna,” “Mi Gente” ft. Fat Joe and “All Day” ft. Lupe Fiasco.