At 20, Taye$ty's confidence (and music) is blowing people away
When we gave Seattle rapper Da Qween the power to pass the aux cord, they recommended an up-and-coming young artist: Taye$ty. Da Qween hosted a show this past spring at Cafe Racer that Taye$ty, 20, was a part of — and they were blown away.
"They opened the show but they could’ve easily headlined," Da Qween said. "I was just like there was no way you could’ve told me this was your first performance…I was genuinely baffled."
Taye$ty’s music doesn’t exactly ponder things. It tells it how it is. It’s one attribute of what Taye$ty calls "Bad B music." They consider artists like Cardi B, Megan thee Stallion and some of their favorites like Ruby Rose and Flo Milli to be under this genre.
"I would just say this music is just like, one step above understanding that you've been treated poorly and it's like taking the next step and being able to move on. But accepting that you need to upgrade your mindset in order to fully push past the poor experience that you just went through," Taye$ty said.
Taye Ansah, who goes by Taye$ty on stage, jokes that they’re like a gay “Taylor Swift” writing about boys. Most of the tracks they’ve released so far are about their dating history. Reflecting on the relationships and then clapping back.
This confidence had to have come from somewhere, so I asked Taye$ty where they thought it came from. Was it growing up in the liberal Pacific Northwest and being a part of a younger, more accepting generation?
"Actually, I know it came from being treated poorly for being like more feminine growing up from my dad," Taye$ty said.
Taye$ty's father is from Ghana. Coming from a religious background, he was uncomfortable with their feminine gender expression. Taye$ty remembers being berated by their dad for their limp wrists and for wearing earrings.
"I'm not sure if he was scared for me or what the mindset was, but it definitely was not supportive," Taye$ty said. "Feeling like I could feel supported by a whole different group of people really helped me."
That group of people who supported Taye$ty were mainly the women in their life. Their mom, aunt, and a friend from school. And also their two gay uncles. They all embraced Taye$ty for who they were. Surrounded by that acceptance, they learned to brush off their dad’s opinions.
"Anyone can have any sort of negative, like, perspective towards me, but that doesn't necessarily change the way that I have to move and think," Taye$ty said.
(The video below contains explicit language.)
This was a seed for Taye$ty’s confidence. As they reflected, they noticed the feminine energy that was the basis of their support. It’s something that Taye$ty thinks about a lot and shows up in their music. They're close with their mom and think it's helped them see things from a more feminine perspective.
This confidence Taye$ty developed over the years has helped springboard their career. They were a part of Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis’s program The Residency in 2021 which mentors young adults in hip-hop. And they performed at Seattle Pride this past June. Their musical roots, though, go back to being a high school cheerleader and playing in band.
"I did percussion and so I feel like that really gave me an introduction...to beat," Taye$ty said. "Because when I do write songs, sometimes I'll do tapping — like I'll listen to the beat and I'll tap and then I'll write lyrics to that tapping beat...after that, I'd say the thing that really shaped it was probably cheer. "
Taye$ty didn’t actually start making their own music and releasing it until 2019. Taye$ty grew up listening to a lot of Afrobeats with their dad and more indie rock music with their mom, but they were drawn to hip-hop the most.
"But just like the hip-hop motion, the pop, the swag, the flow — that's something that I really fell in love with and I feel like it's something I can articulate myself," Taye$ty said.
Through playing percussion and cheerleading they learned how to keep a beat. They also learned what makes for a catchy tune.
"I would say people really like simplicity... it has to be easy and easy enough for them to like repeat it, but it has to be complex enough to where they don't recognize it," Taye$ty said.
Taye$ty has passed the aux to the next artist: Lovely Colours, an indie pop band out of Seattle by way of Juneau, Alaska.