Pages turn while lessons are learned, we keep living as days go by. It is my life confession. Lady Blue.
Sometimes the story is better told by the writer themselves. I met Taj Icon last year and was very impressed by this seemingly quiet soul. This soul has a message and now you the reader gets to hear it. You get a definite taste of Baltimore from the eyes of Taj Icon. Enjoy!
Confessions – March 2016
To everyone reading, I go by the name Taj Icon
I believe that things that I have experienced, both good and bad, and lessons I have taken away from these experiences loved ones have gone through made me the person I am today. Since a child I have always been a deep thinker. I would often ask questions and think about things that most children would never think about such as the true meaning of existence and religion. It was not until I got older that I found out this way of thinking was called existentialism. I struggled was expressing this to my peers because most couldn’t relate. When I stumbled across music in college I was relieved to finally find an outlet to express myself.
Born and raised in Baltimore City, yeah, that’s where I am from.
I grew up in a household with my mother and two younger siblings on the west side of Baltimore. My mother worked two jobs to make sure that me and my siblings didn’t miss a meal. She tried her best to shield us from the poverty and negativity that went on around us. Growing up I was always fond of the many types of people I would encounter. Whether it be trips to Lexington Market with my grandmother or walking east to west with my older cousin , I enjoyed seeing everything that Baltimore had to offer. As I got older and ventured out on my own, I began to see the very things that my mom tried to protect us from. However, I was never afraid or hesitant to go anywhere in my city. I felt and still feel as if this city is the only thing I know and had taught me so much. I am proud to be from Baltimore. My family is a big inspiration for my music. My parents, my 7 siblings, and other family members all are in my corner supporting me 100 percent. It makes me happy when they come to me and quote lyrics from my song that they love or relate to. It gives the energy to keep going. My grandmother and great-grandmother are even avid listeners to my music which is a blessing. I take great pride in knowing I have such a huge support system.
Growing up hip-hop music was not a major part of my life.
I grew up listening to what my mom listened to which was r&b and gospel. When my mom used to take us to church I was always more emotionally and spiritually moved by the choir than the pastor. I knew that I loved music but I was too young to make the connection that music was my calling. Everything changed when I got to college. My freshman year of college me and my friends happened to walk past a group of kids rapping (a cypher). We stopped and my friend jumped in started rapping. The next guy named Mez went and stunned the crowd with his lyrics. (Mez is currently a member of J. Coles label “DreamVille”.) Seeing the reaction from the crowd and the energy I naturally wanted to join in. I remember going back to my dorm and writing and writing until I couldn’t anymore. I started building up my confidence by rapping to my friends and in small cyphers around campus. My sophomore year I bought a mini studio with my refund check and put it in my dorm room. It was there that I made my first ever mixtape. The decision to start doing music has helped me mainly in expressing myself. Music gives me a way to vent and at the same time keep a on-going journal I can forever look back on for reflection.
When I started doing music I was more inspired by my own competitiveness and desire to be the best artist I could be.
I wanted to be better than any rapper I had encountered. I think that I wanted to be the best so bad I didn’t really think about the content I should have been putting out. I would rap about what I heard others rapping about. After a while, I knew that I couldn’t progress if I continued making music full of lies. I began to shift my music to focus on my experiences and what I felt. After this transitioned occurred I noticed that I got more of a response from being myself than from rapping what I thought people wanted to hear. My songs of encouragement and perseverance inspired people and this in turn inspired me to keep doing music. My inspiration will always be that one person out there that may be having a bad day or may be on the verge of giving up. I pray that my music reaches them and inspires them to keep fighting. The biggest obstacle for me will always be trying to navigate to the top through an industry dominated by negativity and degradation. I feel as if I haven’t really achieved any success as of yet. I have heard many people tell me that I wont make It because my music is too positive. Getting people to take a chance on me will always be an obstacle but I am willing to accept the challenge and keep pushing.
When I first started performing my initial experiences were that of either empty clubs or clubs full of people who really didn’t care to pay attention to my performance. As an artist this is always going to be something you have to go through. The downside to these experiences are that you tend to lose confidence sometimes and begin to be skeptical of what you are doing. The upside will always be persevering through these experiences and realizing that it made you stronger and a better artist. Even if nobody is listening I will always give a performance my all.
I don’t think that I would change anything.
I feel as if the way that I have come to be the artist I am was not an accident. I have experienced what it feels like to be broken, frustrated, and lost. I have also experienced the love that you get when people connect with your music and appreciate you. The good and bad have made me the artist I am.
My only advice would be to be genuine. Music is a an artform that a lot of people abuse because they are blinded by a lifestyle that they think is cool. What you put into the universe is what you will receive in return. Originality and honesty will always trump fallacy.
I have always been big on preparation.
I know that I am my strongest when I put the work in before hand and go into any event or performance with confidence. Even for studio sessions I practice for hours until I know the words and can record with confidence. This helps me to convey and inflect emotion in every bar or lyric that I say. In my opinion, preparation is what sets me apart from many artists. When you prepare you can cast away any doubt you have and truly connect with the music.
I pray that the future holds good health and longevity first and foremost. I pray that I continue to grow and mature into the artist that I know I can be. I would love to tour the world and connect with others through music. I will continue to put out quality and take steps to achieving goals that I have set out for myself.
I can be reached through facebook (search Taj Icon), instagram (@cruel_ike), or twitter (@taj_icon). Any information on new music or peformances will be on any of these outlets.