Taz Taylor, the brain and brawn behind Internet Money, runs us through the perfect storm that saw his debut album finally come to life.
Taz Taylor is the George Clinton-esque mogul behind Internet Money, the hip hop collective currently brute forcing their way through every streaming algorithm on the block. After producing for years under the moniker, landing a score of platinum singles along the way, Taz finally decided to drop an album in late 2019. It took him around two weeks to put together.
The album in question, B4 The Storm, collects a number of rap’s biggest names – from Future to Wiz Khalifa to Juice WRLD – sticks them under a single roof, and sets them to Internet Money’s esteemed in-house beats. It was a record destined to smash charts and dominate the press, and that’s exactly what it’s done.
Yet Taz himself is humble about the album, and his success in general. He’s not one to dwell on things; he’s surprisingly chill about his address getting leaked online, he’s wasted no time working on another album project, and he’s already thinking about the sounds he’ll boldly ride into Internet Money’s future. If one thing’s certain, this guy never stops.
HAPPY: Thanks for joining us, Taz. First up I’m pretty curious about how you actually put B4 The Storm together. Are these tracks you had in the bank with these artists, or was anything actually made start-to-finish in those two weeks?
TAZ: It’s kind of a mix of both, I just woke up one day like ‘I wanna do an album’, so I did the album. Obviously we put out Somebody in October last year and people were like ‘where’s the album?’ but we didn’t really have the album, we just had Somebody, that was it. Over time collecting records – like we did the song Lost Me with [Lil] Mosey then I ended up putting iann [dior] and Lil Skies on it, we got Blastoff with Trippie [Redd] and Juice [WRLD] right before he ended up passing, we were working on it December 6th or something like that. We had like three or four records that we started with, then after that we started building it out. Full time it was like a month, total. But it was two weeks of solid studio sessions, working.
HAPPY: Hectic. Is it something you’d do again?
TAZ: Yeah! I’m actually in the process of doing it right now. I’m Zooming you from the studio.
HAPPY: The features all over this record are next level. What do you think it is about you that disarms these artists that you’re working with?
TAZ: I think it’s just a respect thing, you know what I mean? Once you build that respect with people as a hitmaker, they trust your ears, they trust your gut, then whenever it comes to their music it’s a respect thing. We put these records together and we continuously break new artists, that’s just what we’re known for. Once you put so many people on and make big records, people just start calling your name and trying to work with you. We’re kinda in that phase right now.
HAPPY: Just be better, that’s the answer?
HAPPY: To talk about some of the collaborators: since he grew up right around the corner from where I am now, tell me when was the first time you came across The Kid Laroi, and how fast did you know you wanted to work with him?
TAZ: Well we’re real close with Juice’s situation and he’s with the same people. We’ve known about Laroi for about a year now, and I feel like he wasn’t ready when we first came across him and we weren’t ready to start in that direction – we were doing iann dior and all this other stuff at the time. But when we finally came together and we did Tell Me Why and all these songs I was like ‘this kid has a crazy voice’. You’re working with him and this kid just freestyles everything, he doesn’t write, he just goes in and freestyles. You’re just like ‘bro where did this come from?!’
You’ll be working with him and he’ll say “I want you to make the saddest song you’ll ever make right now”, he’ll literally be like “I want this song to feel like your dog just died”, like it got hit by a bus or something. He’s always got some weird analogies he uses. But he’s one of the most talented artists, he’s 17 and he’s an intelligent kid, he’s going to be bigger than Post Malone, he’s going to be the biggest star in the world when he’s 25. People just aren’t aware of how massive he is and how much of a star he is. Soon they will be, they’re going to hear the songs he’s working on that I know about, he’s crazy. He’s doing his thing, that’s like my little brother right there.
HAPPY: And Juice, you’re obviously really close to that situation. How important was getting him on the record?
TAZ: I felt like it was just something that needed to happen. Obviously due to the circumstances we didn’t know if we were going to make it happen – when someone passes away I feel like it’s a little disrespectful to expect songs to still come out because you know, it’s in his family’s hands and you just want to be respectful to them. It might be the last thing we do with Internet Money and Juice, I feel like we just needed that moment, it’s like a goodbye from us. Even on the cover it says ‘RIP Juice’, when he passed we didn’t even get to go to the funeral, so this is their goodbye to him, just making sure it was a special moment.
HAPPY: 10K Projects, what initially drew you to them? Not just as collaborators, but in how you’ve become business partners?
TAZ: I think it’s ultimately just Elliot [Grainge, 10K Projects CEO] giving me that respect and that understanding that he doesn’t need to be in the driver’s seat with me. He’ll take the back seat and guide me as I go, and overall as a team they’re just really helpful and help get everything I need done. It’s much different to what I had before; I wanted to sign this artist, I wanted to make this project, and they were just no help. So it’s good to feel like I have a partner on the other side, when I do want to go artist mode and not be the label for once, having someone else be the label and just sit here and be creative. It’s nice to know they’re going to get it done.
HAPPY: My favourite thing about the record is seeing your artists like lilspirit side-by-side with these massive names like Future or Wiz Khalifa. Is that always going to be part of the Internet Money modus operandi, getting these opportunities?
TAZ: I don’t wanna ever feel like I’m forcing my artists down people’s throats, but ultimately I feel like if they make and song and I think ‘man, this’d be fire if I had [Young] Thug on it’, I’m gonna get it done. I feel like I signed them for a reason, I feel like they’re the most talented artists, and if I’m not going to give them the showcasing or the slots to prove themselves, who will? So it’s good for them to get seen but I’m never going to be like, ‘you’re only going to get half my artists on the album’. I might do an album that has none of my artists. It depends on what the songs are looking like, because at the end of the day I’ve got to protect the Internet Money brand and we’ve got to put out an overall good project.
HAPPY: Creative first.
HAPPY: Nice one. Tell me about this house you’re all in, it looks insane.
TAZ: We’ve just moved into this house about a month and a half ago. We were staying in another one before then but the address got leaked off DoorDash – DoorDash leaked our address on the internet! So we moved to a new house, we’ve got two studios in there with a live room, I live there, it’s like 8,000 square feet or something, it’s a massive ass house. It’s a factory man, we’re always working, we’re always bonding.
HAPPY: What happened when the address leaked? People started showing up?
TAZ: Yeah, someone tried to shoot a music video in my front yard. If you know anything about me, I don’t ever answer the door, period. I feel awkward when people are like ‘don’t I know you?’ or ‘Taz!’, I don’t care about that but it’s awkward if it ever happens. So I always have my assistants or somebody do that shit.
TAZ: I mean, I’ve modelled myself as a producer on old shit. Bob Rock was a really great old producer, he did a bunch of Mötley Crüe and all that shit… Brian Wilson was one of my favourite producers on everything he did, and he was actually in the The Beach Boys. The fact that you can have all these people coming together and being something bigger than themselves is the most important thing. We’re all as invested in every project and everything we do equally. I don’t know, I like working best with other people and I feel like if we all put our heads together, we can do crazy shit.
HAPPY: Do you buy into the idea that all music is cyclical? That every couple of years someone finds the next scene to plunder in their own way?
TAZ: Yeah. I mean, go to WhoSampled and you can find songs that are interpolated, sampled, or just reused. Music just keeps recycling, look at The Weeknd right now, After Hours, that’s ‘80s shit. Juice WRLD is emo, 2000s pop funk with trap drums. Everything’s just added to and tweaked all the time, put a little sauce on it and you can make it sound different, but nobody’s doing something that’s completely original. There’s only so many chords in music, there’s only so many chord structures, melodies, and tempos… no one’s really original. Once you understand there’s no rules in music, you can break all the rules you thought existed.
B4 The Storm is out now. Stream or purchase your copy here.