Old School Paved the Way 

“I’m Taigenz. I make art because that’s what’s going to grow my reaches and enable what I’m going to do with my life.” 

Taigenz was born Tamfu Terry Ngala in Côte-des-Neiges, the son of Cameroonian immigrants. His childhood was normal, his parents a banker and a government employee. 

Reserved but funny, he played basketball and hung out with friends, until music became a focus. Initially, his interest was in techno, and some alternative punk—until he discovered Eminem at age 8. 

“[Eminem’s] performance of ‘Forgot About Dre’ with Dr. Dre, that was the first time I really sat down to watch a rap performance,” Ngala said. “From then on I was just on it. Ask any of my friends—when I was eight, nine years old, I was just memorizing all of his lyrics.” 

Today, Ngala is a full-fledged rapper. His music plays like a mix of Yung Jock and early Ye; hard gospel influences infused with flowing jazz, contemporary classical, and electronica, with beats alternating between trap bangers and grimey soulful ballads. 

His flow is thick with Montreal’s accent, a staccato sense of rhythm that starts and stops without breaking stride. With 5 full-length releases and a litany of videos under his belt, Taigenz is definitively on the cusp. His beginnings, though, were humble. 

“I started writing when I was 11. My first performance, I was 13 years old,” he said. “At the end of the year, there was a variety show put together by the school. I figured I’d try my hand and see what it’d give me.” 

Ngala says this sentence often: “see what it’d give me.” Throughout his life, the Montreal rapper seems to take what’s on his plate for the sake of the experience. 

He’s excited to learn, never trying to put himself into a box as one thing or another. Even when asked to describe himself, he shuns words like “rapper” or even “artist.” Instead, he simply “[makes] art because that’s what’s going to grow my reach.” 

So, at age 13, he tried his hand at music, crushing his variety show with an original track he had written just days before. Despite a dodgy opening, punctuated with some awkward silences and forgotten lyrics, he got more comfortable quickly. By the song’s end, he was dancing around, commanding the stage. 

“It was a go since then,” he recalled, laughing. 

By the time Ngala hit Concordia University, he was hungry for more. Looking for new insight, he enrolled in FFAR 398B, Hip Hop: Past, Present, Future. 

Taught by Yassin “Narcy” Alsalman, better known as The Narcicyst, Ngala credits the class, and the professor, as a huge encouragement for his work. 

“I took the class, and it engaged me in a way that creatively got me better. He himself is just an amazing artist, out of this world in terms of what he does,” Ngala said of his professor. The class may have allowed Ngala to tap into his own style and energy. 

“A lot of artists, when they start off, sort of emulate their influences,” Alsalman explained. “But [Taigenz’s] project resonated as genuine, it was definitely him.” 

By 2014, Ngala had joined the Concordia Student Union. Though this form of public service might seem unrelated to an interest in music, for him, it was a natural progression. 

“Already what I do is kind of public service, in terms of music. You’re serving the public by helping them escape their world and enjoy what you have to offer,” he said. “[But] I decided to try my hand at the CSU and see how things worked.” 

After a year and a half as a councillor, though, Ngala left university to pursue Taigenz full time. Now, making it is his fulltime job. 

“In the next year or so, I see myself at a higher level in terms of where my brand and name are perceived, and the art just getting better. It’s a process.” 

Check out our full video interview for The Scratch, on thelinknewspaper.ca where Taigenz breaks down his time in the CSU, the origins of his name, and much more. 

Source : http://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/old-school-paved-the-way

Taigenz Shows Variety and Verve with Muntree 

People often stereotype hip-hop as rehashing negative themes, including misogynistic attitudes towards women and the glorification of crime. But far from being only trap beats, bragging, and praise for the gangster lifestyle, hip-hop can be a form of poetic portraiture; the rhyming lines of a song can be like an artist’s graphite ones, sketching various aspects of the musician, what they stand for, and subjects they reflect upon. In Muntree, a seven-track-long E.P., Taigenz comments upon his experiences and his city, Montreal. But will he do so by creating a portrait of poems, or will he collage together unoriginal hip-hop iconography? 

Muntree opens with “Victory Song (feat. Aiza).” It has a soothing strings and woodwinds, and uses horns to create an atmosphere of triumph. Aiza embellishes the track with her vocals. Taigenz’s lyricism is inspirational, and with the chorus featuring the line, “I been thinking about my dreams and my soul . . .” Muntree is off to a good start. 

“Potential” has a catchy and bare-bones instrumental with claps and tinkling. The song is cockier than “Victory Song,” but Taigenz uses creativity to pay homage to hip-hop’s swagger and avoids using bragging as filler, such as when he says: “I get hoes / Same ones you try kissin’ but you friend-zone / I can’t relate / I be hitting French hoes in their friend’s homes.”

“Shottas,” with its metallic clinking and sample from “Tinga-linga-ling,” has an instrumental impossible not to bob your head to. The line, “I ain’t scared to shoot if it comes down to it,” seems like Taigenz lapsed into including a hackneyed hip-hop theme, however, at the expense of authenticity. 

“Watcha No (feat. Sector-A)” uses piano and hi-hats to evoke pensiveness. With lines like, “I’m not trying to get pussy from you / I’m trying to get loose-leaf and shrooms,” and confessional lyrics about the struggle and persistence that being an artist entails, it’s a welcome return to Taigenz’s relatability. 

“Lookin’ 4 Love” is a soulful monologue to a woman seeking romance. The instrumental is wistful and with lines like, “Here’s the deal / work on yourself / get a feel of your worth / before you struttin’ in them heels for appeal,” the track reinforces the thoughtfulness and emotionality of Muntree.

“Dolo (feat. Widget)” has a sombre violin and piano complemented by no-nonsense drumming. The song, with a theme of betrayal, is a defiant statement about Taigenz’s perseverance and solitude. Widget’s verses about progress, and Taigenz’s lyricism (I’m just a crab in the bucket / with a coin for a budget / struggle and rise above it / ‘cause success is in the air and I can touch it / and I’ma make them love it, nigga), make this track memorable. 

“Worthy” consists of ambient chanting, piano, and faded-out vocals, which create an atmosphere of confronting challenges. The lyricism complements the beat perfectly, with Taigenz dropping gems like, “I’m from the hood but it ain’t always showin’ / ‘cause my jeans don’t sag, / ‘cause my braids don’t lack / ‘cause my speech ain’t broken / but these souls been broken . . .” Heartfelt and honest, “Worthy” is a great way to end Muntree. 

Taigenz has shown that, with his dynamic flow and intricate lyricism, he is notyour average rapper. Even when bragging, Taigenz usually does so by creatively remixing this aspect of hip-hop, rather than slightly modifying a trite, swaggering formula. (This can’t be said for many hip-hop artists). Muntree also has a broad thematic and sonorous range, with both hype head-bangers andplaintive tracks for those bouts of nostalgia. Even if Taigenz isn’t looking for love, he’d certainly appreciate some from his fans, so give Muntree a listen.

Source : http://www.24ourmusic.net/2015/09/16/taigenz-shows-variety-verve-muntree/