In a new world where producers are just as important as shiny, iced-out rappers, the LA-based collective Internet Money are the go-to people if you want a for-sure rap hit. The Grammy-nominated, Platinum-selling supergroup, fronted by founder Taz Taylor, know their way around the switchboard and piano. No wonder they’ve attracted quite the roster of A-list rap stars in their discographies: Taylor worked on Drake’s ‘Blue Tint’, which appeared on the Canadian rapper’s 2018 album ‘Scorpion’.
Starting off in their bedrooms, Internet Money got into the music industry by way of YouTube and beat forums. Despite their humble beginnings, the collective recently dropped their debut compilation album, ‘B4 The Storm’. After what Taylor – real name Danny Snodgrass Jr. – describes as “three years of good faith” of working with artists but not pulling in favours, he and fellow producer Nick Mira have hit up NME fave The Kid LAROI and Louisiana legend Kevin Gates, among many others. The star-studded cast list has composed a stellar compilation album, a new great in the canon of DJ and producer albums.
One track in particular inspired the 27-year-old Jacksonville native to venture into compilation territory: “Last year I did a track with Lil Tecca and A Boogie [With Da Hoodie] called ‘Somebody’ and everyone at the label [said], ‘Where’s the album? Or the next single?’ And in reality that’s all I had.”
Realising that an Internet Money project is in high demand, Taylor took this as motivation to push forward. He already had material he could use, but says that “there’s politics when working with artists. A lot of them are cool but a lot are very protective of their music”. However, Taylor set off to make ‘B4 The Storm’ in a week, and – although it took a little longer than expected – the supergroup are finally “putting their hat in the ring”.
“If we hadn’t got Juice WRLD’s song right, it would never have seen the light of day” – Taz Taylor
Ohio’s Trippie Redd and New Yorker Lil Tecca appear on ‘B4 The Storm’ (it wouldn’t be an Internet Money album without them). There’s another star pivot in form of the late Chicagoan Juice WRLD, whose career may not have been what it is without Nick Mira’s magic touch. Many first knew of Juice WRLD because of his chart-climbing hit ‘Lucid Dreams’, which was produced by Mira, but the two had actually been working together long before their first Billboard hit. Given that Juice was an integral part of Internet Money’s history, Taylor says that his presence on the record really “mean something”, and that the collective wanted to work with him for a long time – “way before ‘Lucid Dreams’”.
They nearly got the viral TikTok stomper ‘6 Kiss’ for their debut (Trippie Redd ended up releasing the song last November) but it actually worked out better that the group instead got ‘Blastoff’, a cocksure display of braggadocio between Juice and his redheaded friend, Trippie. Taylor was working on ‘Blastoff’ the day before Juice’s passing, and says it was Juice’s “crazy” verse that made this song such a special addition to ‘B4 The Storm’: “Literally when he’s on a record, he doesn’t stop. I just wanted to make it about Juice… If we didn’t get it, it would have never seen the light of day”.
Before Taz was the big producer with a whole roster of artists on his own label – in conjunction with LA indie imprint 10K Projects – he was trying to pay for his mother’s medical bills by making ‘type beats’ on YouTube; a new musical phenomenon where producers imitate sounds of popular stars’ production and pitch it to rapper wannabes. He says he turned his time and effort into a $500,000-a-month job, and it’s safe to say that you can make some serious cash off the internet and type beats alone.
However, the practise is often stigmatised as being ‘unoriginal’, and scares some rap fans into believing that everything will sound the same for the next 10 years. But Taz completely disagrees. “There’s a stigma around type beats: people think that people are copying people wanting to be like [them]. In reality, nobody’s original,” he insists. “There are only like 12 notes – I don’t know music theory – but anything you can think of in music has [already] been done, whether it’s good or not.”
But if the type beats are “productive and not counterproductive”, as he says, we’re curious as to what Taz then thinks is the future of rap. “A lot of kids getting into glitchcore,” he says. Also remember 2012 when Young Thug first came out and we didn’t know what he was saying but it was so good?” According to Taz, the rap world will start to abandon the need for hardcore lyricism and storytelling and prioritise melodies instead. “There’s no rules, no limitations,” he explains. “You can do whatever you want to do.”
Internet Money embodies what it means to be limitless and futuristic in the music world. “I want to break all artists of all types,” Taylor says. “I just signed a country artist [who’s] not from the South; he’s from Canada. We’re in the process of filming a TV show, signing artists, making albums. And I’m almost done with the second album I’m trying to put out this year.”
Of his five-year plan, he concludes: “You can’t [think about that] because we’ve already accomplished so much in such little time. Music is one of those things where you’ve got to march to your own drum. If you can handle the ‘no’s and when people tell you you can’t be anything, imagine how good it feels to actually make something of yourself.”