Battle Scars is the new album from James Taylor, aka 22Tango. For those of you who have visited Krannaken.com in the past, you may recall James’s last post here. For those of you who are new to James, he is a hip-hop artist who makes the world a brighter place for servicemen and women who have experienced life serving for their country in Afghanistan. However, even if you have served, but not in Afghanistan, you will still find James’s music a great comfort in your struggles with life.
In the video above, I touched on several of the questions that I included in this post. This post is basically a list of questions and answers that I gave James the day before the above video was recorded.
Interview With James About Battle Scars
Where did the name 22Tango come from?
It was my call sign in combat, so I felt like it was part of my identity
Where did you serve in the army? Did you go to Afghanistan/Middle East, etc.?
I was stationed in Germany and eventually went to Afghanistan for 12 months. My job was route clearance meaning we cleared the way of Improvised explosive devices and enemy personnel for clips behind us that had their own mission to do. We provided freedom of movement
When Did You Serve in the Military?
What did your experience in the army do for Battle Scars and your music?
It gave me insights into the world for sure, I travelled a lot, learned about different cultures, and just saw things from a different perspective than the dark side of combat. I don’t talk about the dark side much in my music.
Was Battle Scars or any of your songs based on your experience in the army?
Actually, yes, its called “Rebirth” over a godfather beat actually. It was basically me shelling my old self in going through these horrible things, and turned into 22Tango, I embraced that identity. It helped me to compartmentalize things.
How many of the songs on Battle Scars are based on your experiences in the military?
I’d have to think, I think only one other. I speak about America’s promise. It is to help us when we get back. This needs looking at. I’m not necessarily pointing fingers. I talk about what they could do better. How many of us come back not the same? There are 22 suicides a day right now. We’ve got to do better than that. I actually lost 2 friends in the process of writing this album
Would you recommend life in the military to younger people?
Yes and no. The military is a great way to build yourself and become something you never thought was in you. No, because I don’t want to see any more young people die.
What would your best advice be to younger people?
Stay in school, work hard and really think about your goals and the steps to get there. Then just take it step by step. Focus on the steps, not the whole picture. The military is a great option, and I’m not putting down any branch but I’d join maybe the air force lol I can’t slander them because they saved the lives of my whole platoon by dropping J-Dams 5 to be exact. So we all have a part to play, and I do think the Military is a great option, it teaches you discipline, time management, structure, and humility, and you always go to college for free.
What would you say if you were writing to yourself as a 10-year-old boy?
10, that was around the time I began rapping. I’d tell myself not to be disgruntled. There are times that you will be side-eyed. In many cases enraged people just because of the colour of your skin, I did almost quit.
This was before EMINEM, and I don’t even think we had vanilla ice yet, but I spoke to this older guy I say older, but he was probably 25 or 30. That was old to me back then lol I was probably 12 when I spoke to this guy, and he put it in such a way I finally understood it.
He told as a white kid, I’d have to sort of prove myself and that I’m an ally and be actually welcomed. He told me white people had been stealing their stuff for years, so a white boy rapping and especially if you’re talented, that could send a message that the white people aren’t letting us have anything. So that resonated. It really did; after that, I think I even became better. I started winning rap battles when I was a little older, I won constantly. I do thank that dude for putting it to me that way.
Where can people learn more about you and your music?
My album is not out yet. For now, talk to me. I have an open-door policy. I don’t want it out on platforms until it’s ready. There are various articles online about me. People can get a better picture from those as well.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
You can ask where I stand politically. I’ll answer with candid respect. Also, this was my first album in 15 years, so I may be a bit rusty, so to speak. I’m improving every day. I write songs every day. On my next album, I’m collaborating on a song with a “Notable Artist”. That’s all I can say. A lot of what I was able to do younger is coming back to me. For instance, I used to be able to rap a lot faster. I’m actually getting better at that. So this album was as much of an experiment as it was a debut.
I speak the truth. I don’t rap about anything I haven’t lived or experienced. There are a variety of different styles. My favourite song on the album is “Amazing”, but my second album is really what I believe will blow up big.
Where Can You Learn More About 22Tango and Stream Battle Scars?
You can learn more about 22Tango at his Facebook page. You will find Battle Scars there very soon.