From hardcore rap to smoother vibes, it’s always about the beat and the lyrical flow! Atlanta artist Neon Taylor is bringing tons of quality hip-hop productions on Jamendo with his first release As Above So Below.
What makes him so unique from others rappers? A majority of his tunes are made on-the-go with his personal studio: an iPad! Do not wait any longer and jump into his brilliant DIY hip-hop style.
- What’s up Neon? Glad to have you here! Some of our readers may not have heard about you yet: tell them who Neon Taylor is and how you started making music!
Everything's cool fam, and it's a pleasure to be here on Jamendo, the opportunity is much appreciated.
How I started making music may be different from what I assume you heard from others. Growing up I had a strong passion for music like anyone else, constantly looking for that new sound. Reciting my favorite Hip-hop songs, the older I got I started getting more interested in the production side. Having delusions of grandeur of becoming as good as my favorite producer (Timbaland). Scraped up enough money to get myself a laptop and had a friend put Reasons 3.5 on it, been making beats ever since.
The rapping side of my music came to me an entirely different way. Back in 2012 I started having these dreams; I would here a voice very similar to mine, rapping these lyrics that I never heard with a flow that was strong and flawless. It got so loud and intense at times that it would wake me up out my sleep. This lasted for about a week, I'm thinking I'm going crazy and shit. The dreams stopped when I realized it was me rapping, and those were my lyrics, and that's my voice. So here I am today...
- Atlanta is one of the most notorious hip hop scenes in the world (home of Young Jeezy, Ludacris, T.I., Outkast, 2 Chainz, etc.). Is it hard to stand out and make your own mark as a hip-hop artist?
I think anybody that’s trying to come up in hip-hop today is finding it difficult to stand out, regardless of their level of talent. The hip-hop genre is completely saturated with wannabe rappers and people with the mindset of a "pay my way scheme" (paying for fake plays, comments, and followers) possibly more than all the other genre's put together. When looking at it from that perspective, I try to remind myself that this is truly a poetic art form. Constantly pushing myself as an artist to produce music that ultimately connects me with the listeners.
The Hip-hop artists that stood out to me coming up had different attributes, (DMX) because of his raspy, high and low pitch delivery, When he raps you can really feel the pain and frustration in the music, (Nas) with his sleek storytelling, (Eminem) with his vigorous word play and dark comedy approach. At the end of the day I'm a music lover to the core, doesn't matter the genre as long as it sounds and feels good. I think what separates me from other Hip-hop artists is that I don't like to confine myself to just one lane, I like to jump in and out (EDM, RnB, Reggae, etc.). Simultaneously building up inspiration in those lanes I'm currently not occupying.
- You seem to have created a lot of your tracks with an iPad, and given the quality of production, it’s impressive! How much time are you spending on it?
I actually spend a lot of time on the Pad. I'm always looking for new and innovated ways to make music, and the iPad gives me the freedom and flexibilities to put my creative ideas down at any given time and place. A few years ago I was at a beach on vacation listening to music on the iPad. I remember everything was so perfect, the weather, the scenery and I thought to myself how cool it would be, to be able to make music right then and there.
A year later that was possible. Growing up I was always into technology, and always looking for new alternative ways to accomplish what others would accomplish by the means of what they're not accustomed to. The iOS app developers have done a tremendous job of capturing the core elements of music creativity and production. Ultimately giving me the edge that I've been looking for to stand out from other producers, it is truly a studio on-the-go. At the moment I'm looking into these gloves that let you manipulate sound through physical gestures.
- What’s your main source of inspiration? Are there any triggers helping you writing new material?
I get inspiration from everything. Whether it be from my own personal experience, to the rainy but cool and calm weather, to a recent video game I been playing. It really doesn't matter, once I come across something interesting and my eyes and hears makes a connection; It's pretty much a starting point for the creative process. It also depends on the mood, sometimes I wake up and want to write a song and on other days I just want to work on beats. .....In the early stages of creating I think that's very important, the ("Mood"). Growing up I specifically remember how music use to make me feel.
Coming up today as an artist, I think its key to maintain that same genuine atmosphere within the music. Just recently over the holidays I invited my little brother and uncle to come over and chill, and my W A S T E L A N D track was playing in the background. There’s a part on the track where I go off on a rant, LOL and my lil brother say's "yo wassup with the profanity" all of us laughing. I implied that over the past few years I've learned and received plenty of messages from fans and fellow artists, saying that they like to train and workout to the high energy (Trap) style tracks because of the aggressiveness or smoke and chill to the more laid back tracks. While my fellow artist may tell me they've learned something, whether it’s song arrangements, mastering, or production. There's a constant cycle of ideas going back and forth and in-turn that’s the best inspiration for me.
- Your album on Jamendo "As Above So Below" is really outstanding. It spans a lot of different styles of rap music, sometimes more groovy (Foxy Brown), sometime more old-school (More Than Music), sometimes more hardcore (Stalker). What are you trying to convey with this heterogeneous approach?
The tracks that you mentioned represent different phases of music I went through growing up. Being raised up north in the Tri-state area then moving to Atlanta in my late teenage years, at that time musically they were two different worlds. The music you would hear on the radio up north would be completely different than what you would hear in the south. As a kid coming up I would listen to different stages of Hip-hop, it would range from the 80's to 2000's. when in Atlanta the first year it was really hard to find mixtapes and underground music that I was familiar with when out and about I felt misplaced, unfamiliar with the history of Hip-hop in the south. I had to adjust, quickly falling in love with the dirty south and its heavy 808 style of music.
I started to listen to the pioneers of this region, like (UGK, 3 6 Mafia, Goodie Mobb, etc). All the way up to the point to where I was fluent in the up and coming underground artists just as much as the natives. Besides the fact that I like to be very random and spontaneous with my music, it has a lot to do with the music I grew up on.
- Your biography says that you “have a responsibility as an ARTIST and a GOD of this planet to give you the best music I possibly can and to only speak the TRUTH". Can you explain the meaning behind that message?
Several years ago I was in an unfortunate situation that Hip-hop led me out of, it played out differently than what it could've been if I never heard that Jay Z song ("I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one") where he's telling the cop he needs a warrant to search the locked glove compartment. As an artist we have the responsibility to put information out there like that, especially in the urban communities where it's needed the most.
When listening to Hip-hop growing up we hear familiar Ebonics and phrases, or situation that coincide with our everyday lives because it's not just a music genre to us, it's our lifestyles. I think it's important to instill info and truth into our music today so others can benefit from it as I did. Like I always say rappers want basketball player’s money and basketball players want rappers influence, no matter how much money these players make, they still want to rap.
When it comes to my spirituality the responsibility is similar. I don't believe in religion, I'm not an atheist, I just think religion is holding use back as a human race. More people have died over religion than anything else on this planet. The fact that we're in the age of information and people still entertain the fairytales and contradictions is mind boggling. There's nothing coming out of the sky to save us. We as a collective have a responsibility over our own legacy.
- If you had to choose one song from your album, which one would it be? Why is it so special?
It would have to be R E L E N T L E S S. The song embodies the type of Hip-hop music I always wanted to make and listen to, shout out to Gwop Sullivan for the dope beat. Listening to it always brings me back to my roots of why I fell in love with this genre. It instills my hopes, fears, and insecurities as well as my past, present, and future.
- What's next for Neon Taylor? Any projects for the future?
At the moment I’m working on my first mixtape, as well as an iPad beat tape and will be uploading more visual content.
And just continue to push myself creatively, within music and out.