Los Angeles, CA – Taz Taylor calls it the wild, wild west: a bubbling, underground world of so-called “internet,” “type-beat,” producers. But what’s an internet producer? Aren’t all producers on the internet? Just to clarify — by the age of 12, after dropping out of middle school in Jacksonville, Florida, Taz was rolling in tens of thousands of 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 off beat sales — 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 — which just went platinum as a single. Taz has gotten placements with the likes of Gucci Mane, Kodak Black, Big Sean and Lil Skies, all on the strength of 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 often mocked, yet generating hundreds of thousands of dollars independently?
Taz Taylor explains the Internet Money world to HipHopDX on this edition of the #DXHitList Sessions.
He also shares with us the stories behind the songs on his #DXHitList.
“Flashing Lights” — Kanye West — That record changed the game for me. The strings and the sounds and the sonics on this shit made me think I didn’t know this was possible with music. You got so many different types of emotions throughout the song. Everytime I listen to it I’m just like, this is the greatest song ever made. It’s the most perfect song of all time.
“I Got Money” — Young Jeezy f. T.I. — The producer of that record is DJ Toomp and if anyone knows who DJ Toomp is, he’s like a legend in the south. That’s kind of who I got my style and sound from. I was mimicking his style but what people don’t know is “I Got Money” is the blueprint for “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” by Kanye. It’s the same beat and you can tell Kanye went to Toomp and was like I need that record. Only the real ones know that.
“F*** This Industry” — Waka Flocka Flame — Flock and that whole shit changed the game. That beat, that sound, is just what opened my eyes to a whole new wave of South shit. Lex Luger, Southside and all them came in and took over and changed the fucking game. That’s what made me change my style up and it’s what influenced me a lot.
“UP LIKE AN INSOMNIAC” — XXXTENTACION — It’s just a song I’m fucking with right now. That song is amazing.
“Outside Today” — YoungBoy Never Broke Again — That’s an APG record. I was actually in the studio with YoungBoy’s A&R and he played me that record and I didn’t think much of it. When you hear so much music back-to-back it’s kind of like whatever. But, whenever they dropped it I was like what the fuck is this shit? They played me that record and didn’t even fucking know. It’s a good record, I like it a lot.
“Welcome To The Rodeo” — Lil Skies — Tazzy produced that. I did that. A lot of the records I do I like Internet Money to be a part of so it was a joint effort. I make a beat, they make a beat, we come together. Even some of the stuff Skies talking about on this record, I don’t know if it’s about me and him but, it’s something that I told him. I remember after our first session we didn’t really have a great session and he posted some crazy shit online. And I hit him like bro you’re 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.
“Never Bend” — 03 Greedo — Greedo up next, man. You can feel emotion in that record. You know how when you listen to Kevin Gates and you’re like damn, he been through some shit? It’s 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. That’s why I fuck with Greedo.
“Go Legend” — Big Sean & Metro Boomin — That beat is crazy. Metro killed that shit.
“Dark Knight Dummo” — Trippie Redd f. Travis Scott — Honorable C Note. One of the most underrated fucking producers of all time. I love Honorable C Note. I’m one of 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 it’s the perfect balance.
“Kill4u” — Lil Skies — That’s the best song on his project and I play a part in that. I feel like that should’ve been a single. There’s a lot of emotion in the beat. That’s what I get off of. If I can’t relate to it, I don’t want it.
The Business Of Internet Money
DX: Briefly tell me about Internet Money.
Taz Taylor: Internet Money is basically a collective of producers who started on the internet. We sold beats; first “type” beats and leased beats. While we did it, there was a stigma behind internet producers like, we’re copycats, ripoffs, we’re all followers and we wasn’t shit. So we all came together and decided we’re 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 it’s like damn, we’re going to do their job better than them and we’re going to be internet producers.
DX: How did that start? Was it just you and a group of friends?
TT: Yeah, actually. Nick Mira, Sidepiece and me. Nick Mira was 15 at the time and Sidepiece was 16. That’s how it started. Now, we have double-platinum records and Nick’s 17.
DX: Have any of the producers on Internet Money earned major placement? I know you mentioned Nick.
TT: Nick Mira is the big one right now. Everybody wants to get their hands on him. It’s crazy for him. He’s only 17, still in high school and now he has a double-platinum record with Trippie Redd called “Fuck Love.” We did that. We just shot a Spotify Rap Caviar thing yesterday. It’s like a 30-minute episode. We shot six hours of film and broke down the beat.
DX: What was attractive to you about the way you do business?
TT: Just making sure that shit’s fair. It’s so much runaround for producers. I just want producers in general to get their due and have opportunity. Even though I’m from the internet and I still do that shit, I miss how producers could pull up on an artist and make beats. Now it’s 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 we’re here to make as many records as you can do. We’re 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 I’ve 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 of us because they can’t compete. These artists go into other sessions buzzing about that shit.
DX: All things considered, what is it really like for a producer in today’s music industry?
TT: It’s all perception and it’s 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. Ain’t nobody getting that shit no more. The producers running with the flag right now, like Metro, they’re really responsible and carrying a lot of producers on their back because they can do shit that we can’t do. Like, doing a whole record with an artist and getting projects put out in only your name. You’re the artist now. It’s different. They’re getting artist deals now.
DX: I like it because I’m a producer fan so I enjoy hearing production sometimes only from my favorite producers. You can listen to a Future mixtape and it’s all Zaytoven.
TT: Exactly, that’s what I like. Producers are becoming the artist and we’re the forefront, even though artists are still important … I hate saying it like, “Without us, y’all wouldn’t be shit,” because it’s bullshit. A beat is 50 percent of 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 you’re making $500,000 a year?
DX: Since you’re making so much money would you consider going back to school?
TT: Nah. The only way I’d go back is to make my mom happy but she’s happy already. I like that, though. The same way with Albert Einstein, he didn’t finish school and they thought he wasn’t smart. I want them to say that about me.
DX: Kanye dropped out of college.
TT: There you go! You don’t have to do what everybody else does to be great or be good at something. You don’t have to fall in line. I kinda like having that attached to my name. It’s 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 didn’t do shit. I’m the last of my mom’s kids, I’m the baby. When you have kids, you get less strict. She didn’t force me to do work.
DX: I see that you’ve worked with XXXTENTACION and 6ix9ine. Considering both of 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 don’t know them on the personal side. I don’t judge people. I know people who’ve done crazy shit in their past and they’re not who they were when they did whatever it was back then, you know what I mean? I don’t 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 “Oh, you’re supporting a child molester” and it’s like bro, I do music. We did a song. We don’t party, I don’t 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 Kanye’s 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. Don’t go in with the expectation. People ain’t who they all hyped up to be. That ain’t 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. That’s like my daughter. It’s funny because like my girl and shit she doesn’t get it. But we’re from Florida, my girl is from Wisconsin so people have these perceptions of people but they don’t understand though. Danielle is a normal 14-year-old teenager from Florida. That’s how we are. She has tattoos … 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: We’re crazy man. It’s not normal so it’s just like no one’s going to get it but, I get it because that was me. When I see Danielle, it’s like you’re cool man. People just don’t get it.
DX: They don’t get the Florida kids.
TT: They don’t get this shit. That’s 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 ain’t 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 Boosie’s mansion in Atlanta and we just met out there and hit it off. Atlanta was the first one where we had 23 people staying in our mansion and they’d 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. There’s like 11 of us in there, we got nine laptops with the headphones just…
DX: Going crazy.
TT: Pretty much. No one else is doing this so we’re changing the game.
DX: About those songs with Yung Pinch…
TT: We did four. And I fucking got a song with him and Lil Skies, going fucking viral. [DJ] Akademiks posted it. It ain’t even drop, it’s just a snippet of 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 6ix9ine’s next single. You seen the video of him in the studio with Swizz Beatz? That’s our shit.
DX: Whoa, you did a song with Swizz Beatz?
TT: No, he didn’t do nothing on it. He was just in there. People were like, “ahh, he produced it!” Swizz Beatz ain’t making these beats. He can’t make our beats.
DX: In a sense, you’ve pushed forward the producing game for the business side of things. Was that natural for you?
TT: You want to know why?
DX: Of course.
TT: Because for producers, it’s the end all be all for them. They just want to be producers. They’re stuck in one spot and they feel like that’s all they’re 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 of the career, that’s what I want to do. I want to be the gate-keeper, I want to be the biggest in this shit.
So, I’m making that happen now by signing producers and changing the way that people are looking at all this shit. That’s 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 don’t make no beats, because it’s not about me, it’s 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 don’t come out to LA to make beats, I come out to LA to make records and make hits. There’s so much more that goes into making a record than just sitting down making a beat. I’m not a producer, I’m a mogul.
DX: What’s the most amount beats you guys have made in a day?
TT: One day, we made 57 beats. One day. 57 beats.
DX: What’s the most songs you’ve recorded with an artist?
TT: I’ve done up to 30 songs with songwriters. They do songs and it’s pitched to people. The most songs I’ve 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 you’re an internet producer, you’re in the wild, wild west. There’s 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 don’t get a cut?
TT: Well, there’s paperwork, there’s a contract. Nine times out of 10 the person buying the exclusive beat ain’t gonna do shit with it. It’s a weird game but it gets old quick. You make beats to sell them exclusively that you can’t do anything with anymore because they’re not a real artist or they don’t know how to push themselves, or have no backing. I know people are going to mad at that but … I’m an honest person.
DX: Would you say the internet game is mostly luck?
TT: It’s luck in the sense if you look at what “Panda” did. There’s 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.
That’s the reason why a lot of producers just stay on the internet because they’re afraid of that. They don’t want to play the waiting game because you can upload a beat and make $10,000 in a month. But the thing is you’re not going to feel that fulfillment. No one gets into this shit just to be an internet producer. I’ve made hundreds of thousands of beats online and I never felt like I did when I called Nick on the phone and was like, “Bruh, we went platinum with ‘Fuck Love.’” This was New Years and we fucking cried on the phone like a bunch of babies. You’ll 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 wasn’t doing music I would be fucking flipping burgers. Not even flipping burgers because I’m under-qualified to flip burgers since I don’t have a high school diploma. I don’t know where the fuck I would be at. Homeless or something. All the friends I grew up with or went to school with they’re on heroin. People are dying and people are unhappy with life. There’s no hope, no nothing. I’m 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 I’m going to wake up and still be in seventh grade again. It’s wild to think about, because I would be nothing. This is it. I’m enjoying life.