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Rapper Taizu talks success, debut album and new music

Taizu is an Indian American rapper, songwriter and filmmaker, whose unique background creates a sound of his own. High energy instrumentation, thought provoking lyrics, and bass heavy vocals work in harmony to produce music that hopes to redefine the status quo without sacrificing replay value. Sexuality, religion, politics, pop culture, spirituality are all open topics of discussion and Zu does not shy away. His popularity extends beyond the US with several published pieces in India including his recent Bollywood release in November 2018. His lyricism and passion bleed seamlessly into the music forming a distinct sound you’ll always recognize as Zu.

On May 30, 2019 Taizu released his highly anticipated debut album “ZU” produced by DJ Rishi Rex and Rush Vyas. Taizu is one of the hottest new names in rap, named “Best New Artist”, “Best Breakthrough Artist” and “Top 10 Stars of 2019”.

1212 Magazine Artist Interview with Taizu

What drew you to the music industry?

Taizu: I was first intrigued by hip hop when my friend Alex played Biggie’s track “Dead Wrong” for me and asked me to break down the lyrics. He’d point out certain lines and ask me what I thought they meant. I, of course, got most wrong and he’d explain the wordplay or double meaning behind some of the lines and it blew my mind. The amount of creativity someone can pack into 16 bars is incredible. I was always a fan from then on.

Who were your early passions and influences?

Taizu: I always loved making and watching movies. My uncle got me a Lego Movie Maker kit and I’d do stop animation all day. Then flip little clips with things I would build. I used my Talkboy Tape Recorder alot as well. McCaully Caulkin had it in Home Alone and I always thought it was super dope. So I’d run around and make fake Blair White Projects and all sorts of other nonsense. It was fun. I also loved playing chess. The idea of trying to master the infinite always allured  me.

What was your debut track or album?

Taizu: Well, my very first project was as a group known as Abstract Method. Rush, Anjum, and I released two projects, “Abstraction” and “Methodology” in 2009 and 2010 respectively. I released a solo mixtape in 2012 entitled “Love, Drugs, & Murder” which was a heavy reflection of my influences at the time. Hearing my older music back now, I recognize the  eagerness and excitement of wanting to prove myself in this space. Of always being the one who looked a little different in the studio and hungry to prove that I could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best. This desire in wanting to validate my skill set through the eyes of others created a sound that mirrored the current climate and not what I truly believed in and wanted to share. In 2015, as I was still developing my sound, I collaborated with my boy Stonelove J. We created a bunch of music and released a few videos as well and it was a great creative experience.

All of that was the prerequisite to Practice which is my debut track and “ZU” which is my debut album. Everything prior to Practice was just that.

Taizu, behind the scenes of “Practice” Music Video

What do you consider as important moments in your music career?

Taizu: It’s interesting trying to highlight a few specific moments. I would say we are an amalgam of all our past experiences. We are moving collections of data. Everything we process and digest has been fed to us. Each inhale a precursor to your future exhale.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?

Taizu: Meaning is in the eye of the beholder. I absolutely layer my lyrics in wordplay, metaphors, foreshadowing, anecdotes, lesson’s learned, etc. Nothing is surface unless you yourself live on the surface. Dig deeper.

What inspired the song Practice?

Taizu: Practice makes perfect is an adage that has held it’s weight in water since the days of the Tao Te Ching. Repetition is the father of learning. Luck is the outcome of an action. But you have to buy a lottery ticket first to win. Entitlement is the opposite of Practice. Nothing is owed to you in this world. We all breathe the same air. When Rishi Rex was producing the beat and I started writing out the first verse, alot of these elements begin to connect. The IDGAF vibe of the song and catchy instrumentation makes it easily relatable but the lyrics provide new substance for the second, third, fourth listen.

From a more literal perspective, I wanted to highlight the vocal and lyrical ability which I have worked years in sharpening and fine tuning. I am a product of Practice.

Can you talk about the creative process behind the music video in Practice?

Taizu: My team really brought the song to life in the video and the original concept was from one of the executive producer’s of the album Zack Yassin. The idea plays off a line in the closing of verse one, “My vision clear, could see with no eyes”. Ambika Sanjana was the stylist and created the looks and blindfolds that are used throughout the video. Wesley Caspillo and Bobby Stevenson were the directors and literally my eyes throughout the shoot.

Who did you collaborate with in the making of this MV?

Taizu: The creative forces behind Practice video are Wesley Caspillo, Bobby Stevenson, Ambika Sanjana, Zack Yassin, and Jay Soni.

What do you feel is the best song you have ever released and why?

Taizu: To date I would definitely say this release, Practice, is my strongest. I’m learning more about myself and my sound everyday so the music will only get better to me because it’s becoming more me than ever. It’s the artist’s paradox, you find yourself when you lose yourself.

Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?

There are a lot of different artists in a lot of different genres I’d love to work with and hopefully will one  day, but right now I’d love to make some music with Young Thug. I love his unique vocal textures and versatility. I think our styles would be complimentary as well.

Tell me about your favorite performances.

My favorite concert of all time is Lil Wayne at the Liacouras Center in Philly. Thee whole crowd sang the chorus for “I feel like dying” and Wayne hit the verses perfectly. He was my favorite artist at the time as well so that always adds to the magic. It was wild. Recently, I really enjoy Greta Van Fleet’s performance on SNL for Black Smoke Rising. I had such a visceral reaction when I watched it. Watched it at least a dozen times since.

Taizu at the International Filmmaker Festival of New York

What other passions do you have?

I love writing screenplays and just my thoughts and ideas. I try to be introspective and constantly curious. I play chess whenever I get a chance. On my phone pretty often and in tournaments annually. I used to play on a competitive level but it’s tough to keep up now. Most of the time I love creating and consuming content.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Focus on finding your truth. Your sound can only come from you. It’s easy to hear something dope and be influenced or want to sound like that. From this standpoint yes, no idea is original, but it’s about the unique style you bring to your art. Knowing yourself is critical. Most are fooled by the senses.

What message would like to give to your fans?

Don’t allow those who fear to guide your ambitions. Dream wildly and be unforgiving in your truths. The  most beautiful gift of life is it’s irrelevance, so instead of finding meaning in what’s outside find meaning in yourself. The deeper you dig, the more you will have to search through.

What is next for you?

I’m excited for the release my debut studio album ZU this summer and then  a second album late Fall/early Winter. Also I’m working on some short films and screenplays I’m going to develop further. I just want to keep creating.

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