Let The Beat Build
Tay Keith knows why he's in high demand.
Words: Peter A. Berry
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

The future of Memphis trap is here and producer Tay Keith is part of it. For the last six years, the Memphis native, 21, has been making beats for some of the biggest artists his hometown has to offer, including BlocBoy JB, Yo Gotti and MoneyBagg Yo. Most notably, Keith crafted BlocBoy JB’s ubiquitous Drake-assisted hit, “Look Alive,” a popular track that debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February.

Building on the success of “Look Alive,” Keith has kept his foot on the pedal, continually producing for the likes of Wiz Khalifa (“Hunnid Bands”), Lil Baby (“Exotic”), Moneybagg Yo (“Rolls Royce”) and Key Glock (“Orville Redenbacher”). With his throbbing 808s and growing respect in the rap game, Keith is elevating to a new level.

XXL: What do you think it is that makes your beats so popular?

Tay Keith: People like my beats because of the crazy flow with the hi-hats and the bass. You know, as I’m progressing with my sound, I just realize when you got a simple sound with crazy percussion in the beats, it makes it. It kinda shapes my sound when it comes to what makes a Tay Keith beat.

Out of all the beats you’ve produced, what’s your favorite? Why?

It would have to be, man, of course “Look Alive,” but also “Doin’ It” by MoneyBagg Yo. [“Doin’ It’] was the first time I realized that a simple beat could get you so [much] further in the music industry. That was my first time making a beat that was so simple it was an actual banger. That was my first time landing on Billboard charts with that instrumental that I made. It was actually one instrument playing with the percussion and stuff. And that’s what kinda gave me the idea where, you know, if you make simple beats—that’s what you can actually run with. It just stood out to me like, how catchy the beat was. The beat [was] so simple.

What beat stands out for you on BlocBoy JB’s Simi mixtape?

I got a couple favorite songs but my favorite one is “Turnt Up” that I produced on there. I really like the outro, too.

What’s next for Tay Keith?

I’m working with a lot of artists. I’m not just gon’ say what I got coming, ‘cause I don’t wanna say it and then things happen and stuff. So, just know I’m working with a lot of big, big artists. A lot of major artists. I’ma be on a lot of projects and hopefully I get to work more on my own project, too.

Check out more from XXL’s Summer 2018 issue including our 2018 XXL Freshman Class, interviews with Denzel Curry and Power star Joseph Sikora a.k.a. Tommy and more. 

See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of BlocBoy JB at the 2018 XXL Freshman Cover Shoot

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