‘Tay Keith fuck these niggas up.‘
My first encounter with Tay Keith’s DJ tag, much like many others, was BlocBoy JB’s Drake-assisted banger “Look Alive”. The haunting piano loop alongside the sparse, bouncy drum beats was the perfect combination for a minimal trap banger. Of course, much of the song’s success can be attributed to Drake’s undeniable contribution but without Tay Keith’s beat serving as the backbone of the track, it wouldn’t have been as inescapable at the club as it is now.
Besides “Look Alive” (it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100), Keith has gone on to produce three more strong performing singles – Drake’s “Nonstop” (#2), Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode feat. Drake” (#2) and Lil Baby & Gunna’s “Never Recover feat. Drake” (#15). A feat not many producers can claim in the first year of mainstream breakthrough. However, to address the elephant in the room, Tay Keith’s sudden success is inherently tied to his many collaborations with Drake. So much so that people are championing the idea of a fully Keith-produced Drake album.
The producer-rapper relationship has been unchanged since the inception of the genre. One cannot exist without the other. Yet it is nonsensical to believe that a producer’s career hinges on a single rapper to elevate it to mainstream success. A rapper needs the production that melds perfectly with their style to make a hit song, as much a producer would need a rapper to do justice on their beat.
Barring the Drake collaborations, Keith also has had his hands on some of the best songs in certain artists’ recent careers – Eminem’s “Not Alike“, Lil Yachty’s “Who Want the Smoke” and Quavo’s “Shine“. Excelling solely within the trap lane, Tay Keith has carved out an iconic sound for himself within the crowded landscape. The booming bass and rattling hi-hats, offset by breezy rhythms provided in the form of light instrumentals, have become a staple in his repertoire. Like any great producer, Tay Keith has settled in on a sound that is his own and is similarly adored by the hip-hop masses.
Yet what sets him apart from the plethora of other trap producers out there is his ability to not overstay is welcome. He isn’t taking the Metro Boomin’ route of ‘retiring‘ then making an incredible comeback. Because unlike his contemporaries like Metro and Murda Beatz who flood the airwaves with their sound to ensure their dominance over the industry (to great success too), Tay Keith’s work ethic feels a lot more calculated.
In 2018, Keith has only produced a ‘handful’ of songs compared to his peers yet each of them perfectly latch on to the minds of listeners. Each of the songs hitting harder than the last. Foregoing the trend of oversaturation, Keith patiently waits in the shadows, biding his time before striking at the most opportune moment.
It’ll only be a matter of time before he achieves his first #1 hit. By then, we’ll just have to prepare ourselves to go full STOOPID.