I recently got in contact with Jay Taj and we linked up for an interview. We talked about his recent project, “TENfour” and other in-depth parts of him. Check it out below and leave a comment about what you think.
TAU: State your name and where your from?
Jay Taj: My name is Jay Taj, I’m from Santa Ana, CA.
TAU: You released your mixtape Tenfour is this your first mixtape or do you have some that has been released before?
Jay Taj: TENFOUR is my first full length project, I’ve released smaller mixtapes and singles in the past, though.
TAU: What does TenFour stand for?
Jay Taj: TENFOUR has multiple meanings, there’s a connection to it’s meaning in police chatter. Both a play on what’s been happening between American police and minorities in communities like Santa Ana.. As well as it’s meaning in that world. “10-4” is a code of acknowledge, or understanding. TENFOUR also refers to a the release date, and a dramatic and life changing event that took place on 10/4/2015.
TAU: On “Jimmy With The Gun” you take an outside look on police violence and racial issues with the police force. Have you had to deal with police violence or racial tension with police?
Jay Taj: On “JWTG” I chose to tell a story about the reality of the 2 minds and trains of thoughts involved in the interaction between police and citizens like myself. I’ve had my experiences with police, both good and bad. Santa Ana police aren’t commonly as aggressive as LAPD or NYPD, but we experience racial tension and police officers’ over use of force just like other major inner cities.
TAU: One of my favorite songs on Ten Four is “The Other Side”. You were very open and honest and I feel like that song had someone in mind when you wrote it. Who was it about and how or why were you so open on this song?
Jay Taj: Thank you for that, “The Other Side” is also a favorite of mine. In that record I speak to a woman who once was the center of my existence. Her and I spent 5-6 years together in love, and that was my way of letting go of something I had held onto for so long. You hear me apologize and forgive all at the same time. I love that song.
TAU: “Never Die” is another one of my favorite songs too. What was that writing process like and what is the ultimate message behind that song?
Jay Taj: The writing process behind “Never Die” was honestly very simple. There is an obvious influence from current top hip hop records and it wasn’t hard to put together.. The message is reminding the world that I can Never Die, no matter what happens to me. I’ve overcome enough to know that you can and will always rise. I reference a lot of random pieces of my life in that record as well, just an average bar for bar kind of record with a unique hook.
TAU: Your style is unique and stands out in this time period of new rap. What were your influences and what molded your rap style?
Jay Taj: I have so many rap influences.. too many to name, really. It’s safe to say that my influence in style is just rap itself.. all corners of it.
Jay Taj: My style is molded by whatever I think is dope in that moment I’m creating. I don’t think there’s a style I can’t do if I try hard enough.. But it all comes back to the music.. does it sound good?
TAU: Yes, yes it does.
TAU: Can you please break down one of your songs? If yes what ever song you think is important to you that needs to be broken down or one that is low key that people have missed the meaning?
Jay Taj: “She Ain’t No Good” is a song that I think most people can’t or don’t quite understand at first. It’s written as though I’m rapping to a person.. Someone I’m in love with but is poisonous to me. But, the record is personifying the city of Santa Ana — and the way that we as a community are so in love and attached that we tend to never break out of the detrimental habits that form here. Gang violence, Drugs etc.
Jay Taj: I speak to her as though I’m torn by the fact that I want to keep her and show her to the world, but I know that she can hurt me.
TAU: I missed that and honestly that is dope.
TAU: With you just starting your rap career what do you do on the side or what previous job did you have?
Jay Taj: I’ve been rapping professionally for 11 years, so it’s far from just starting, people are just finally starting to listen is all. At the moment I run a non-profit recording studio for teens in the Santa Ana / Garden Grove area. I offer free studio resources to kids that are serious about chasing this platform as a career. I’ve worked everywhere before this. Everything from a family fun center to LA Fitness, Adidas to DASH Radio.
TAU: What is your favorite song on TenFour?
Jay Taj: “These Dayz”
I want to thank Jay Taj and everyone that contributed to the TenFour project. If you haven’t heard of Tenfour check it out on soundcloud and below. Be sure to take a look at the Tauology clothing line as well.