Interview with Fes Taylor
I had the distinct pleasure of being able to build with Staten Island’s own, legendary emcee Fes Taylor. A sheer veteran of the game, Fes has claimed his spot over the years by pumping out an impressive amount of albums and mixtapes, that sing the stories of unfiltered street tales, and lyrically paint the perfect street canvas. Now at the height of his game and with unstoppable motivation, Fes Taylor is on a self made mission to bring you some of the best work of his career. Here is what the man himself had to say on a few things….
MISH – Where are you originally from, born and raised?
Fes Taylor – I was born in Harlem, NY that’s where my moms and my pops are from. My moms had just moved to Staten Island when she found out she was having me in search of a better place to raise her son. I was raised on Staten Island then. Staten became just as bad as Harlem to my moms so we moved out of state where my moms was in search of a better life. My moms did her thing trying to raise me the best she could, even though we moved like state to state in search of better living – that’s my moms, LOL! She moved a lot in a good way though, she always had a good job ect. but us moving around made it kinda tough for me – always having to fight ect. to fit in where ever we moved. Being the New York boy out of town, they all wanted to fight, LOL! Good thing I was nice with my hands, LOL! That made me even better at fighting! But we finally moved back to New York and I became a savage, LOL! I see why my moms wanted to keep me away, word!
MISH – How long have you been an emcee? When did you know you wanted to make music?
Fes Taylor – I been doing music forever, LOL! I came in the game young and was blessed to hit tours: Hot 97 Summer Jam Stages ect.. Shouts to King Just for giving me my first shot! Well, when I wanted to make music, I guess as a fan, I loved the music and played around wit it. But when I heard Nas, he made me be like “yo, this is what I want to do with my life.” His music defined how we was living in the hood. I felt like it told our story, word! me and my peoples were going crazy in the hood, LOL! I just felt I had to tell the story of me and my peoples like Nas told his peoples story. People ask me how I keep coming up with raps, I be like “yo, we lived a crazy life.” That’s why I put out so much music – so many stories to tell and I still ain’t tell them all.
MISH – Who would you say has had the biggest musical influence on you and why?
Fes Taylor – Hmm that’s a good one. I like when they ask great questions, LOL! Well to be real, it would be Real Deal Gil – Rest in Peace! This dude believed in me and put real money behind me! He helped us become what we are now. He didn’t do music though, he sold houses, and also made millions of dollars doing that. He never been to the hood but he linked with us and we made it happen! He became one of the boys – one of our family! I just wish one day I could have blessed him like he blessed us but he ain’t here for me to do that, which bothers me a lot, word! But all I can do is get out, grind and make it happen so all he did was not for nothing. So shouts to Real Deal Gil for that, word! And my boy Lis, really tho – that’s my bro, he been there since day one. We built Two 4 War Ent. together, that’s my family.
MISH – Where did the name “Fes Taylor” originate from?
Fes Taylor – The name was taken from stories my grand pops would tell me. My grand pops was a real Gangster, no movie shit, LOL! He came up wit Bumpy Johnson and Fes Taylor was one of the people they ran with. My rap name was LG Profes then and people called me Fes so I just ran with the name. every one else was naming theirselves after gangsters from the Mob and that was not my culture so I ran with a Black Gangster’s name that ran with my grand pops. Something that was a part of my family’s history. Rest in Peace to my grand pops, word! He died on my Birthday – for years I never could enjoy my B day, but now I look at it like we now share my day, that’s how close we was.
MISH – You are definitely considered a veteran in hip-hop with a vast collection of albums and mix tapes… What would you consider to be your most notable project that started your career?
Fes Taylor – Well I would say Moneta! That would be the project.. We sold over 20,000 copies in the streets hand to hand! The whole team ate off that CD! I made a living of selling that CD.. I had just went through some trouble with the police and had to move out of town cause I was so hot in New York. I couldn’t make moves like I did in NY after lawyer fees ect. from my case and we decided to go hard with music. Me and my boy Lis went half on everything and started Two 4 War Entertainment. I did moneta the album, 21 songs in 16 hrs! 8 hrs recording and 8 hrs mixing and we’re now in the music game. ATL was good to me. I seen black people doing good with legit hustles and I was focused. Shouts to Big Silk and Pimpin Ken for showing me the game how to hustle on the streets of ATL. Songs from Moneta were also featured on Big Silks’ King of The Streetz DVD. I did all the theme music for that DVD.
MISH – You have worked with an impressive amount of artists and have appeared on countless projects, who did you most like working with? Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Fes Taylor – Who I love working with, I would have to say my team – shouts to my team they keep me on point! I do the same for them, team work! My boy, M Dolla is about to smash them soon. Str8Biz, Two 4 War, my boy General Ju, WGH, WPC
and my boy Has, his studio is home base! He be having us sounding like money, word! We call him the Dr. Dre out the team. He makes beats, mixes the music and makes fire music! My boy, Razor174st also got some heat coming.
There’s a lot of artists I work with. I would be here for days, LOL! Shouts to all my peoples out there working, Oh and King Just and Pop The Brown Hornet got a new project coming. Trust me, ya’ll It’s fire! I heard it, LOL! im good with working with all the talent we got on deck . so as far as me wanting to work with other people im wit that , but maybe they should want to work with us . We next up matter fact we got now !!!
MISH – What was one of your toughest struggles in your life or music career? What did you do to overcome it?
Fes Taylor – That would have to be being where I’m from, a place where music has been real one sided. I won’t really go into all the details but I’m from a place where the OGs who had chances to come back and help didn’t do much. They left alot of niggas for dead who was ready to go to war for them. You had to be Wu to make it on S.I.. I took a stand I said no I’m not Wu, I just want to be me. Everything where I’m from isn’t Wu-Tang and if u look at it: BK, Harlem, Queens, ect. It’s been 20 years and you never really heard all the talent out here. Ya’ll think every body wack on Staten Island!? No way! It’s how the game is ran, but what I did, I worked harder and harder to bust through the wall they built up to keep us all out and I ain’t mad.. all that made me was strong as I am today.
MISH – What would you like people to know about Fes Taylor that they don’t already know?
Fes Taylor – I’m just like ya’ll, nothing crazy, I’m a real person who makes real music for real people. I give my all to ya’ll in songs so if you listen to my music, you know me like one of the family. I share my joy and my pain through my music.
I build wit my fans all the time, they hit me up on social media.. I’m thankful for for ya’ll who give me an outlet to tell my story – the story of The 240 Warriors! Just the other day, a fan hit me up and was going through it. I took time to build with him.. Sounded like he was on the edge of life so I gave him some advice and he pulled around. A few days later, he hit me back and said he was doing better! I’m with ya’ll! I know the struggle.. I still live it. I have helped fans I met from Africa to raise money for schools ect.. I want to help make a change if I can. I wish I had wild bread I’d help everyone if I could – really tho. I been shot, stabbed, cut, ect. God kept me here for a reason.
MISH – We know you stay extremely busy in the studio working. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects and what we can expect in 2016?
Fes Taylor – Well my Insanity Genius EP drops April 1st. 8 songs just showing ya’ll my worth ya dig. You know it’s a thin line LOL people call you crazy when you vision great things. No features on this project just me – I also got the King Stat EP dropping rite after that, when ya’ll hear this ya’ll gonna be like that boy Fes is focused, LOL! This project will feature some of the dope new artists I work with. Artist I’m trying to help push in the right direction. I also have an album called “Rise of The Lycans” dropping this year. I’m working, you already know and this project is produced by my boy jimmy Nuetron. He got some fire beats! This album is more what the fans know me for – that gutter gutter hood sh!t they love me for, LOL! The other two EPs are more commercial but still hood! You know me, after those projects I will only be doing movies and sound tracks. My film company has some films we want to do.. I will be acting in a few and the sound tacks I will put together will be theme music for the movies I do. I’m taking a step in a new direction and got my peoples here though. the ones I’m about to introduce to ya’ll, they are gonna hold it down till the fans make me do another Fes Taylor album, LOL really tho! Nah, I ain’t out the game though, you will still hear music from me on the sound tracks I put out as well as music from artists I work with. Trust me, ya’ll gone love the new direction I’m taking with this. I won’t let ya’ll down, never did never will. Oh and shouts to my boy Culture Freedom, he makes sure all my covers look official.. Image is everything!
MISH – In conclusion… Do you have any advice for new artists trying to make a way for themselves or anything you would like to tell the Hip Hop Community?
Fes Taylor – Just grind hard then go back and grind even harder! Be smart, learn the game.. It’s more than just knowing how to rap – know how to do it all.. The better ya chances at making it. If Magic Johnson could play the part of any team member at any time, I always admired that from the old footage I would watch and what I learned about him, that’s knowing the game. It’s the same with music, know the game it will better ya chances at making it to where u want to be in life. This game is wicked tho, LOL! Really tho – I fell in love with music as a fan but to learn the game you got to really love it to still want to do this after finding out how fake this game is and how foul people are. They say it’s like the streets, nah in the streets you know who ya enemy is but in the game they smile in ya face and be worst than ya enemies.. Learn the game ya’ll, trust me before you learn to rap learn to read a contract a lot of people rap, how many people really know the game tho!?
Interview written by Nicholas Misha Dabich