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Monday, June 22, 2009

Makell Bird mentioned in DJ Taz' interview with BRE Mag!

My whole thing is about basically letting the world know about the people who helped start the music movement in the South. — DJ Taz

If we’re always about who’s getting credit or who’s taking the blame, we’ll never achieve our goals or accomplishments in life. — H. Rael, Manager

The original DJ Taz revives the down south music movement
by Tanisha Williams

Tino McIntosh’s swift moves on the football field at Atlanta’s Fulton High school earned him his nickname “Taz”, but it was his skills in the studio that earned him the title DJ Taz, along with legions of fans from the Dirty South who boogied down to his booty-shaking, top-charting hits of the ‘90s. DJ Taz holds the bragging rights to such hits as “That’s Right,” featuring Ms Nekka and Raheem the Dream (1997) and “Girls” with DJ Smurf, Kizzy Rock and June Dog. He produced “Nasty Dancer” and “Donkey Kong” for Kilo, before putting the Midas touch on his very own debut album Worldwide, which soared up the charts in 1997.

His career began at 240 Atlanta Street in apartment C-3 at the age of 10. “My mom brought me a white Casio keyboard" shares Taz. Music was a family affair then. Taz’s father, Lonnie McIntosh, was a member of Shalom Gospel Singers and would often take young Taz to rehearsals. “One day I told my uncle I’m doing music and my uncle would say either you’re composing or you’re producing,” Taz laughs. “I thought composing was too big of a word, so, I decided I would be a producer.” While other kids were outside, Taz stayed in his room learning different forms of scratching and mixing and honing his craft. “I moved in with my father when I was 15 and that’s when I met my best friend/partner DJ Swift, who now works with eccentric hip-hop duo Outkast. “We would practice like 12 hours a day. We would listen to Jazzy Jeff, Bob Cat and Cash Money and try to emulate their styles.” Taz soon built a following from spinning at local house parties, until a stint deejaying at a popular nightclub called Silver Fox would lead to his big break.

“I met a major rap artist from Atlanta named Kilo,” Taz relates. “He was one of the pioneers of music in the South.” Kilo liked Taz’s beats and asked him to join him on tour. Traveling city to city, Taz enjoyed the perks of less hours, more money and his newfound fame. “On the road, you’re on the stage 20 or 30 minutes and get some big money. We were like the Five Heartbeats of the rap world.”

Kilo soon recruited his newly discovered talent to produce tracks for him and promptly went from selling 50,000 albums to 300,000 with Taz onboard. Taz’s goal of being the Dr. Dre of the South was slowly materializing, but he never saw himself in the spotlight. “I really didn’t want to be an artist, but when the opportunity came, I took it.”

That opportunity came in the form of producer/writer Jerry Flowers, who had worked with crooners Keith Sweat, Joe and the group Silk. After Flowers heard the track “That’s Right,” DJ Taz the artist was born. His debut album Worldwide on Priority/EMI sold 500,000 its first time out. And with the help of his then manager, Jarvis “King J” Raheem, the Russell Simmons of the South, DJ Taz was on his way to a burgeoning career as the recording artist.

Kilo and DJ Taz reunited and signed with Interscope, and the hits just kept on coming with cuts like “Lost Ya’ll Mind” and “Bottom From the Top” for Kilo, and a sophomore album, Overcome the World, and a follow-up release, It’s On for Taz.

Fast forward to today and Taz’s newly released compilation Overlooked and Underrated on his own independent label Big Taz Productions. The first single, “Sexy Girl,” had radio stations’ hot lines fired up. With the support of his manager and co-producer, H. Rael, Taz says he is reaching back and giving an open door to artists who might not have received the shine they deserve. The compilation album gives them that shot. Overlooked and Underrated features an all-star roster of rising artists from the South: Cosmo, Lonnie Mac, Gangster Grizzle, Anjel/KingSnake (RIP), PooCoo with special guest Shawty Low, BlackMell, Player Reggie, Sweet Pea and DJ Taz’s son Lil Taz.

“My whole thing is about basically letting the world know about the people who helped start the music movement in the South,” explains Taz. Fame has always had its benefits, but, for DJ Taz, fortune has always been the name of the game. “When you get that fame, people think that you have changed. It’s not that you have changed, it’s your situation,” Taz shares. “People around you start to change because they are used to seeing you one way.”

Remembering doing a big show once with Outkast, Freak Nasty, Drew Down and Run DMC, he recalls being so excited about Run DMC performing that he totally forgot that he too was at the event as an artist. He slipped out into the crowd to watch the show, but, before he knew it, he was bum-rushed by some over-zealous fans. “I mean, me being successful as an artist? I just never expected it. I dreamed of being a major DJ. But, I never imagined things would jump off like they did.”

Still in demand as one of the South’s hottest DJs a top producer, Taz, who’s worked with most of the talent from the South from DJ Toomp to Shawty Red, Mr. Collipark to MC Shy, A-Town Players to Makell Bird, and the list goes on and on for his behind the scenes direction and development, says he’s happy to be a conduit for the talent he sees. Having been a vital part of the development of the music of the South during its heyday, Taz continues to direct, discover and produce the new crop and shed light on the South’s often overlooked and underrated.

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