Today, I have the honour of interviewing Purple Heart recipient and rapper, James Taylor who is otherwise known as 22Tango. James gives us an insight into his life and how his career as a rapper has developed over time.
1. When did your rapping passion begin?
22Tango: It all started with poetry in 3rd grade, evolved into lyrics as I fell in love with hip hop.
2. Were you a musical child?
22Tango: I would say yes, I wrote a lot of poetry and as I said it all just transitioned I saw I could actually create something. I also play the saxophone, I started that in 6th grade, although it’s been a while.
3. Were any of your friends or family musical?
22Tango: Actually yes, my brother played the clarinet and tuba, my mother and father could also carry a tune in a bucket. My mother loved karaoke.
4. Were there any artists who you followed as a boy? If so which ones?
22Tango: Definitely 2pac above all else. I’d say biggie, Eminem in high school and Dmx were also influential, but as a child 2pac was very motivating to me. I love his lyrics, his messages and his ability to create something ground breaking. My favorite song from him is “Unconditional Love” still brings tears to my eyes.
5. Why did you follow those artists?
22Tango: They made the world make sense especially 2pac. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but without Pac, there would be no 22Tango. Biggie ways very lyrical, as well as Eminem but just couldn’t do what pac did. Pac could write a book in 4 minutes, that would resonate. I like Lil Wayne, I like Drake especially his songs pumping up the ladies because they need to know they glow.
6. What do you like most about rap music?
22Tango: The freedom to get your feelings out. Reach other people with you vision, the opportunity to touch hearts and maybe make a difference.
7. What have you learned about life through your own music?
22Tango: I’ve learned that inspiration can strike at the weirdest times so always have a pen. Always be writing your thoughts down, they can rhyme later when you put those emotions together. I’ve also learned not to throw pages away you don’t feel are good enough. There might be something in there that is relevant to something else you are working on, even if it’s 2 bars.
8. Do you believe your music is good?
22Tango: I don’t know. I’ve never had someone tell me I’m bad. But validation let’s me know that I’m talented. Like at a stop sign, you can’t tell if your rims are still spinning until you see the look on peoples faces. Lol. I couldn’t care less if people like my stuff or not, it’s good for me to channel my thoughts.
9. What have you learned about life through other artists’ music?
22Tango: That it all starts with a dream. Persistence and hard work pays off if you want it bad enough.
10. Did your experience in the army have any effect on your music?
22Tango: Yes, I’ve seen a very nasty side and experienced trauma. I wrote a little about this experiences but that’s more of a subject I’d shy away from. I have nightmares I do not want to give nightmares to my listeners.
11. Are there any favourite subjects that you like to rap about?
22Tango: Probably love and loss. Regrets, successes, overcoming obstacles and so forth
12. How did you win the Purple Heart in the Military?
22Tango: That’s a deep one. Um, it was an IED blast (Roadside bomb) that blew up the truck I was gunning in. Followed by an ambush. All I remember is coming out shooting. I was evaluated by the medic, I couldn’t even remember who the president was so they had me med evacced.
13. Has your experience of winning the Purple Heart had any effect on your music?
22Tango: Maybe a little. I mention it however I don’t feel special. I got hurt, it could have happened to anyone in my platoon. That was an intense day.
14. Are the messages that you want people to hear more important than the sound quality of the music?
22Tango: I think they go hand in hand. The better the quality the more people will listen.
15. What advice do you have for young people who want to get started in rapping?
22Tango: Don’t stop, and never try to be someone you’re not. Let your personality shine through.
16. Are there any websites, apps, etc, that you want to recommend to aspiring rappers?
22Tango: Every platform you can think of.
17. What would your advice be to yourself if you were to write to yourself in third grade?
22Tango: To keep going, listen to anything and everything. Find ways to stay inspired. Keep writing Even if nobody likes it. It’s YOUR heart that spilling out that pen, not anybody else’s.
18. What is your biggest ambition for the future?
22Tango: To raise my daughter right, show her how to navigate hardships, and keep making music.
19. Where can people find your music?
22Tango: My Facebook page
20. Are you open to the possibility of collaborating with other artists on musical projects?
21. Do you have any unreleased material?
22Tango: I have tonnes of material that hasn’t been released.
Conclusion to This Post About 22Tango
Thank you for reading this post about James (aka 22Tango). James is a remarkable guy who deserves your respect in everything he is doing. You can give him your respect by liking his Facebook page.
Thanks also go to James for allowing me to run this post on his music, life and experience as a young man, rapper and war hero. If you would also like me to interview you on Krannaken.com, please read this page for more information.