If you haven’t heard “The Race” by Dallas Rapper Tay-K, you must be living under a rock. This track has made waves that are unlike anything we have ever seen, being co-signed by the likes of lil Yachty, Travis Scott, Meek Mill and more. With the help of the hashtag, FREETAYK, this was easily the most viral song of the year so far. Through this hashtag, many people (myself included) were wondering who exactly Tay-K was, and through curiosity found the summer hit, “The Race”. Further research into who exactly he was and what he had done made this seemingly normal SoundCloud track a point of conversation, drama and controversy.
Tay-K will be charged with murder as an adult for his involvement in the death of a 21-year old man from Mansfield, Texas. Before this information became public in late August, and before he was arrested for cutting his ankle monitor to evade house arrest, Tay-K made the viral video for his hit song. The New York Times perfectly described the song, saying, “…’The Race’ has captivated the hip-hop world with its blurring of life and art”. We can all agree that in today’s hip hop, there are many fakers. We have rappers stunting, trying to show off things they don’t have, or acting a certain way to cater to their audience. The authenticity of hip hop is fading, trap is getting corny, everyone sounds the same. This is why Tay-K blew up like he did. Tay-K ‘s case was pending for some time so he was put on house arrest. He was given an ankle monitor in the mean time, but instead he decided to live his life on the run. He cut the ankle monitor off and the rest is history. “The Race” refers to his run from the police after he cut his monitor. Say what you will about Tay-K, but the way he so accurately displayed his reality through song made “The Race” the one of the most authentic songs of 2017. He captivated an entire community with lazy but catchy bars over a Playboi Carti Type Beat he heard on SoundCloud. All while running from the cops. The song is still in the top 20 on SoundCloud and sitting at 13.6 million plays. Impressive, especially when you consider his young age of 17.
Unfortunately, the future looks very bleak for Tay-K. It is especially sad to see for someone who had so much potential. If he is convicted of his crimes we must not give him a platform or spotlight. We have to condemn him. This is where “The Race” gets even deeper. It brought up the question of whether we should separate art from reality and just focus on the art and not worry about what the artist has done outside of their work. This brings up a valid point, one that is simply a matter of opinion. Should we care that artists like Kodak Black have been accused of sexual assault on numerous occasions, did you care when Famous Dex punched a woman and was caught on a security camera, or when Playboi Carti hit his girlfriend? Do you respect Gucci Mane, even with his shady history, what about Jay-Z? It is a tricky topic, and it is one that needs to be discussed more in the hip hop world.
All this noise from one kid representing Dallas. This is the umpteenth example of what is possible with the internet and a little bit of support from the local scene. If you disregard Tay-K’s past, what he has done is incredible. Something few rappers have done before, especially not in this style. However, it is up to you to decide if you can disregard his past and focus on the music. Until his hearing though, you bet I’ll be bumping “The Race” non-stop.