Los Angeles, CA – Taz Taylor calls it the wild, wild west: a bubbling, underground world so-called “internet,” “type-beat,” producers. But what’s an internet producer? Aren’t all producers on the internet? Just to clarify†ó by the age 12, after dropping out middle school in Jacksonville, Florida, Taz was rolling in tens thousands dollars by selling beat leases online, marketed on YouTube. Now, at 25, he’s earned over half a million dollars in revenue in just one year. No publishing. Purely f beat sales ó meaning he didn’t have to split his money with anyone.
The money is always nice, Taz points out during our lengthy conversation at Artist Partner Group’s A Studio near Los Angeles’ historic Fairfax District.†But†taking everything to the next level is what mostly interests this self-proclaimed music mogul. Yung Pinch just dipped when I arrived and there were about 11 guys all on laptops working on beats. That’s Internet Money. Taz Taylor’s musical creation, along with his good friend Nick Mira, who signed a deal with APG in†last summer.
They earned a gold plaque for their work on XXXTENTACION’s debut album†17†with the†standout track “Fuck Love” featuring Trippie Redd that same year ó which just went platinum as a single. Taz has gotten placements with the likes Gucci Mane, Kodak Black, Big Sean and Lil Skies, all on the strength the type-beat and believing in a movement when everyone else doubted its relevance. Taz also just secured Tay K and Blocboy JB’s upcoming record “Hard,” the first song to be released on No Jumper Records which is slated for release on March 19.
So, who are these kids shaking up the industry with their new business practices and highly scrutinized produced beats that are ten mocked,†yet generating hundreds thousands dollars independently?
Taz Taylor explains the Internet Money world to HipHopDX on this edition the #DXHitList Sessions.
He also shares with us the stories behind the songs on his #DXHitList.
ďFlashing LightsĒ ó Kanye West ó That record changed the game for me. The strings and the sounds and the sonics on this shit made me think I didnít know this was possible with music. You got so many different types emotions throughout the song. Everytime I listen to it Iím just like, this is the greatest song ever made. Itís the most perfect song all time.
ďI Got MoneyĒ ó Young Jeezy f. T.I. ó The producer that record is DJ Toomp and if anyone knows who DJ Toomp is, heís like a legend in the south. Thatís kind who I got my style and sound from. I was mimicking his style but what people donít know is ďI Got MoneyĒ is the blueprint for ďCanít Tell Me NothingĒ by Kanye. Itís the same beat and you can tell Kanye went to Toomp and was like I need that record. Only the real ones know that.
ďF*** This IndustryĒ ó Waka Flocka Flame ó Flock and that whole shit changed the game. That beat, that sound, is just what opened my eyes to a whole new wave South shit. Lex Luger, Southside and all them came in and took over and changed the fucking game. Thatís what made me change my style up and itís what influenced me a lot.
ďUP LIKE AN INSOMNIACĒ ó XXXTENTACION†ó Itís just a song Iím fucking with right now. That song is amazing.
ďOutside TodayĒ ó YoungBoy Never Broke Again ó Thatís an APG record. I was actually in the studio with YoungBoyís A&R and he played me that record and I didnít think much it. When you hear so much music back-to-back itís kind like whatever. But, whenever they dropped it I was like what the fuck is this shit? They played me that record and didnít even fucking know. Itís a good record, I like it a lot.
ďWelcome To The RodeoĒ ó Lil Skies ó Tazzy produced that. I did that. A lot the records I do I like Internet Money to be a part so it was a joint effort. I make a beat, they make a beat, we come together. Even some the stuff Skies talking about on this record, I donít know if itís about me and him but, itís something that I told him. I remember after our first session we didnít really have a great session and he posted some crazy shit online. And I hit him like bro youíre star, just keep doing your shit. I made that beat here (APG) and I sent it to Skies. He has that line in there about, broski said you star. I told him that shit.
ďNever BendĒ ó 03 Greedo ó Greedo up next, man. You can feel emotion in that record. You know how when you listen to Kevin Gates and youíre like damn, he been through some shit? Itís like that with Greedo. I feel like it speaks to me even though it may not be about my life. It hits hard with emotion. Thatís why I fuck with Greedo.
ďGo LegendĒ ó Big Sean & Metro Boomin ó That beat is crazy. Metro killed that shit.
ďDark Knight DummoĒ ó Trippie Redd f. Travis Scott ó Honorable C Note. One the most underrated fucking producers all time. I love Honorable C Note. Iím one his biggest fans, so when I heard his tag in the beginning I already knew. Trippie is a fucking genius and amazing, Travis is amazing so itís the perfect balance.
ďKill4uĒ ó Lil Skies ó Thatís the best song on his project and I play a part in that. I feel like that shouldíve been a single. Thereís a lot emotion in the beat. Thatís what I get f . If I canít relate to it, I donít want it.
The Business†Of Internet Money
DX: Briefly tell me about Internet Money.
Taz Taylor: Internet Money is basically a collective producers who started on the internet. We sold beats; first ďtypeĒ beats and leased beats. While we did it, there was a stigma behind internet producers like, weíre copycats, ripfs, weíre all followers and we wasnít shit. So we all came together and decided weíre going to change the image for internet producers. We all make money on the internet. $100,000 dollars a year type shit. More than most industry producers, so itís like damn, weíre going to do their job better than them and weíre going to be internet producers.
DX: How did that start? Was it just you and a group friends?
TT: Yeah, actually. Nick Muir, Sidepiece and me. Nick Muir was 15 at the time and Sidepiece was 16. Thatís how it started. Now, we have double-platinum records and Nickís 17.
DX: Have any the producers on Internet Money earned major placement? I know you mentioned Nick.
TT: Nick Muir is the big one right now. Everybody wants to get their hands on him. Itís crazy for him. Heís only 17, still in high school and now he has a double-platinum record with Trippie Redd called ďFuck Love.Ē We did that. We just shot a Spotify Rap Car thing yesterday. Itís like a 30-minute episode. We shot six hours film and broke down the beat.
DX: What was attractive to you about the way you do business?
TT: Just making sure that shitís fair. Itís so much runaround for producers. I just want producers in general to get their due and have opportunity. Even though Iím from the internet and I still do that shit, I miss how producers could pull up on an artist and make beats. Now itís just sent through e-mail. People will say, send us a pack or pull up and play some beats or some shit. But nah, we pull up with nine workstations, 11 producers and weíre here to make as many records as you can do. Weíre not here to smoke and hang out and play beats and you might pick one. Producers kinda envy us out here. These industry producers that Iíve met will spend 14 days to a month working on 10 beats to work on these sessions. We show up with 341 beats. They get jealous us because they canít compete. These artists go into other sessions buzzing about that shit.
DX: All things considered, what is it really like for a producer in todayís music industry?
TT: Itís all perception and itís all fucked up. People see Metro Boomin and all these producers, the big ones, all doing shit. They think back to Kanye or Jermaine Dupri and they hear stories about how Just Blaze would get like six figures for one beat. They think everybody is doing that now but in reality those producers come from a different time and the game got ruined. Ainít nobody getting that shit no more. The producers running with the flag right now, like Metro, theyíre really responsible and carrying a lot producers on their back because they can do shit that we canít do. Like, doing a whole record with an artist and getting projects put out in only your name. Youíre the artist now. Itís different. Theyíre getting artist deals now.
DX: I like it because Iím a producer fan so I enjoy hearing production sometimes only from my favorite producers. You can listen to a Future mixtape and itís all Zaytoven.
TT: Exactly, thatís what I like. Producers are becoming the artist and weíre the forefront, even though artists are still important … I hate saying it like, ďWithout us, y’all wouldnít be shit,Ē because itís bullshit. A beat is 50 percent a song, vocals is another 50 percent. Artists and producers need each other. No one wants to listen to an instrumental album. Nobody wants to listen to an a cappella album. Appreciate each other.
Becoming The Million-Dollar, Beat-Making Middle-School Dropout
DX: You stopped going to school in middle school, right?
TT: Yeah. I dropped out in seventh grade.
DX: And now youíre making $500,000 a year?
DX: Since youíre making so much money would you consider going back to school?
TT: Nah. The only way Iíd go back is to make my mom happy but sheís happy already. I like that, though. The same way with Albert Einstein, he didnít finish school and they thought he wasnít smart. I want them to say that about me.
DX: Kanye dropped out college.
TT: There you go! You donít have to do what everybody else does to be great or be good at something. You donít have to fall in line. I kinda like having that attached to my name. Itís a good story. Everybody wants to know how you dropped out and why you dropped out.
DX: Yeah, how did you drop out?
TT: I just stopped going laughs]. From fifth grade to six grade I just did homeschool. I didnít do shit. Iím the last my mom’s kids, Iím the baby. When you have kids, you get less strict. She didnít force me to do work.
DX: I see that youíve worked with XXXTENTACION and 6ix9ine. Considering both their backgrounds, do you ever have a mental battle with yourself when working with them or is it just all business?
TT:†It comes into play. I respect their music and I donít know them on the personal side. I donít judge people. I know people whoíve done crazy shit in their past and theyíre not who they were when they did whatever it was back then, you know what I mean? I donít think anyone is guilty until the judge says you are and even then you still may not be. I have a song with 6ix9ine and I try to hype it on Twitter and shit, then people go ďOh, youíre supporting a child molesterĒ and itís like bro, I do music. We did a song. We donít party, I donít know him on a personal level and I fuck with his music.
You ever hear the saying “never meet your idols” because they might be dicks? Like people think Kanyeís a dick. Kanye changed my life. He may be dick to you. But I could never see him as a dick. I might meet him and it might change my perception. Donít go in with the expectation. People ainít who they all hyped up to be. That ainít my life. What I think people need to do is accept people … everybody got skeletons in they closet.
DX: Have you worked with Bhad Bhabie?
TT: Danielle. Thatís like my daughter. Itís funny because like my girl and shit she doesnít get it. But weíre from Florida, my girl is from Wisconsin so people have these perceptions people but they donít understand though. Danielle is a normal 14-year-old teenager from Florida. Thatís how we are. She has tattoos Ö I was tatted at 12. I smoked weed for the first time at 7, my dad gave it to me.
DX: Yeah, I feel like people from Florida are a little different.
TT: Weíre crazy man. Itís not normal so itís just like no oneís going to get it but, I get it because that was me. When I see Danielle,† it’s like youíre cool man. People just donít get it.
DX: They donít get the Florida kids.
TT: They donít get this shit. Thatís just how we are.
What Working With The Internet Money Team Is Like
DX: I hear you do tours and producer camps.
TT:†That was before I signed my deal. I feel like producers … you see producers come out to LA, meeting each other and networking and shit but there was nothing like that for internet producers. We ainít got shit, no one believes in us, so they can believe in us.
DX: So all the internet producers clicked up.
TT:†We clicked up. We rented mansions on Airbnb. We rented out Lil Boosieís mansion in Atlanta and we just met out there and hit it f. Atlanta was the first one where we had 23 people staying in our mansion and theyíd pay to come out to learn about selling beats online and learn about just working with us. Like how you saw in there all those people on the computer working, it be like that.
DX: You guys are basically all in there constantly making beats.
TT:†Working. Yung Pinch just came through and we did like hella records. You seen all the producers. Thereís like 11 us in there, we got nine laptops with the headphones justÖ
DX: Going crazy.
TT:†Pretty much. No one else is doing this so weíre changing the game.
DX: About those songs with Yung PinchÖ
TT:†We did four. And I fucking got a song with him and Lil Skies, going fucking viral. DJ] Akademiks posted it. It ainít even drop, itís just a snippet Skies in the car singing it. It has 1.5 million on Akademiks, Genius posted it, World Star Hip Hop, all that shit. It might be the next single or something.
TT:†And, I got 6ix9ineís next single. You seen the video him in the studio with Swizz Beatz? Thatís our shit.
DX: Whoa, you did a song with Swizz Beatz?
TT:†No, he didnít do nothing on it. He was just in there. People were like, ďahh, he produced it!Ē Swizz Beatz ainít making these beats. He canít make our beats.
DX: In a sense, youíve pushed forward the producing game for the business side things. Was that natural for you?
TT: You want to know why?
DX: Of course.
TT: Because for producers, itís the end all be all for them. They just want to be producers. Theyíre stuck in one spot and they feel like thatís all theyíre going to be. What scares me the most in this industry is no one wants to be a Lyor Cohen. Nobody wants to be Diddy. No one wants to be these higher-ups, these gate-keepers that changed the game, break artists and make careers. I want to be a part the career, thatís what I want to do. I want to be the gate-keeper, I want to be the biggest in this shit.
So, Iím making that happen now by signing producers and changing the way that people are looking at all this shit. Thatís what I like. Any producer can make a beat. Where would all this shit that we like come from, music, art, whatever it may be, if Kanye only made just beats? If he never did clothes and made beats only. I bring my team out to LA and I donít make no beats, because itís not about me, itís about them.
My goal is to be the biggest exec in this industry. I want to be Lyor Cohen and put it all together. I make beats at home. I donít come out to LA to make beats, I come out to LA to make records and make hits. Thereís so much more that goes into making a record than just sitting down making a beat. Iím not a producer, Iím a mogul.
DX: Whatís the most amount beats you guys have made in a day?
TT:†One day, we made 57 beats. One day. 57 beats.
DX: Whatís the most songs youíve recorded with an artist?
TT:†Iíve done up to 30 songs with songwriters. They do songs and itís pitched to people. The most songs Iíve done in a session was with Skies. We did all the songs we did together on his album. We did six records in one session.
DX: How does an exclusive beat work for you if the song makes it big?
TT: When youíre an internet producer, youíre in the wild, wild west. Thereís no rules. You can set your exclusive price to $30 or $10,000.
DX: What happens after that? Is it just their song and you donít get a cut?
TT: Well, thereís paperwork, thereís a contract. Nine times out 10 the person buying the exclusive beat ainít gonna do shit with it. Itís a weird game but it gets old quick. You make beats to sell them exclusively that you canít do anything with anymore because theyíre not a real artist or they donít know how to push themselves, or have no backing. I know people are going to mad at that but Ö Iím an honest person.
DX:†Would you say†the internet game is mostly luck?
TT: Itís luck in the sense if you look at what ďPandaĒ did. Thereís so much more that goes into it. The artist has to like your song enough to rap on it and want to keep it, that song has to be big enough to their team, the A&R has to like it enough to want to do something with it, the label has to like it enough to make it into a single, the single has to be hot enough for them to put backing into it … all this shit goes on behind the scenes.
Thatís the reason why a lot producers just stay on the internet because theyíre afraid that. They donít want to play the waiting game because you can upload a beat and make $10,000 in a month. But the thing is youíre not going to feel that fulfillment. No one gets into this shit just to be an internet producer. Iíve made hundreds thousands beats online and I never felt like I did when I called Nick on the phone and was like, ďBruh, we went platinum with ĎFuck Love.íĒ This was New Years and we fucking cried on the phone like a bunch babies. Youíll never feel that feeling making money online. As an internet producer you feel like no one is ever going to accept you.
DX: How has it all changed your life?
TT: If I wasnít doing music I would be fucking flipping burgers. Not even flipping burgers because Iím under-qualified to flip burgers since I donít have a high school diploma. I donít know where the fuck I would be at. Homeless or something. All the friends I grew up with or went to school with theyíre on heroin. People are dying and people are unhappy with life. Thereís no hope, no nothing. Iím able to do what the fuck I want to do. I get to wake up next to my son, stay home with him and make beats and live the most perfect life I could ever imagine. I get to travel with him whenever I go out to LA. I feel like one day Iím going to wake up and still be in seventh grade again. Itís wild to think about, because I would be nothing. This is it. Iím enjoying life.