There has been a very quiet but powerful surge of talent from Virginia in the last year or so. It started with D.R.A.M., whose “Cha Cha” blew up and became very publicly intertwined with Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” Alongside D.R.A.M. was DP, the viciously amoral rapper who signed to 300 and dropped his potent Designer Casket mixtape at the end of 2015.
One of the main collaborators on Designer Casket was Brooklyn Taylor, a self-taught producer and rapper who has been making music for almost 10 years now. His production certainly isn’t traditional – electronic waves often rumble under his beats as if transmitted from HAL 9000 – but when he came to my apartment late last year and kicked some unreleased rhymes, I couldn’t help but think of him in the same rhythmic group as Big L. Nimble, breathless verses with clever turns of phrases are what dominate his debut mixtape Local Resident, which he released when he was just a senior in high school. He never had a mentor in Virginia, so he taught himself to make beats on Fruity Loops and eventually mix them as well.
Now, after honing his craft for years, he’s finally ready to step out on his own. He dropped two new tracks yesterday – “White Wolf,” which finds him spitting a quick verse, and “1st Day,” an instrumental – so we spoke to him about how he got started, what his recording process with DP is like, and what we can expect from him in the future.
WL: How old are you?
Brooklyn: I’m 21.
How long have you been making music?
Probably been making beats since like ’06. The first time I had a program to make beats on was definitely ’06. I played guitar after that for a few years and then I weaned off of it. I got pretty nice. I don’t know how to read music but learned how to play electric guitar pretty well. I used to do shit for the school, like play some songs in front of a class.
What made you want to start making music?
I had no clue what I was even doing back then and it got to the point where I was able to make loops, and them shits were pretty hard but I didn’t know how to turn them into mp3s or anything. Me and my homie would just freestyle and be joking and shit. Imitating Eazy-E or something. The shit would just sound kind of cheesy to us and we’d just be laughing.
I ain’t really take music seriously until like 2012. I put out a mixtape [Local Resident] my senior year of high school and I said to myself if I don’t do put any body of work out before I graduate, I just won’t even bother with it. But I did…and I didn’t expect anybody to even fuck with it. Not like I didn’t have confidence or anything, I just wasn’t expecting much. And then the work just kinda spoke for itself at the time. A lotta people around town were fucking with it like, “Who is this dude?” It’s got me connections [I still have] to this day and I still live humbly.
DP mixed and engineered the whole thing. Recorded it in the trap house. We go back.
How’d you meet DP?
I wanna say I met him sophomore year of high school. We actually became friends after I sold him some weed, like a little bit.
That must be a constant in DP’s life because when I asked him how he met D.R.A.M. he said it was because he was selling D.R.A.M. some weed.
Yeah I sold him weed one time and he called me like, “Yo…that was some good weed.” [Laughs] I never really was big into hustling out here. Just wasn’t really my thing, but I think everybody who lives in V.A. has tumbled with that at least once or twice. The homies do their thing but I’d just rather keep it low.
So how did you and DP realize that you were both interested in making music?
We’d kick it and at the time, like 2010, I’d write rhymes and whatever but I wasn’t really taking it serious. I’d record here and there and I’d be kicking it with him, showing him these shits and he’d be like, “Yo you’re kinda nice.” I think he did that shit way before I knew him, like young as hell, but in a way I got him to start doing that shit again. And then he showed me all this old shit from like ’08 and we just found that common interest, that common background that we just liked rap music and we were gonna try and do something. And after that we kinda just tried to push each other. We kicked it throughout the years until today and we kinda got somewhere.
In 2012 he really pushed me to get a tape done and I got it done in like a week. It didn’t take no time to record that Local Resident project.
You produced four songs on Designer Casket. What was the first one you did?
What’s the recording process like with you and DP?
Me and him are a little different when it comes to it. What I usually do is write to it and then by the time I’m in the studio about to record it I don’t like to look at my phone, so I like how it just flows, just going off memory and it’s more natural as opposed to just reading it.
When [DP] hops in there, he’ll write in the studio, because I feel like he doesn’t really write that much in his free time. He hops in there, just writes, practices his verse while he’s in there. He uses his phone but that’s how he gets down. We like to do everything in as few tries as possible. We don’t like to do that whole, “Punch me in right here and there.” We’ll do the sections, like recording the hook and the adlibs separately, but for verses we like to do that shit in one take every time. We just got this lil’ puppy and it’s like One Take Shawty. Every time someone hops out [of the booth], it’s just One Take Shawty.
You and DP have great chemistry. Why do you think that is?
I think it’s just because we take the same things seriously. We don’t really like [to be] subpar in any division, whether it’s on the production or the raps. We’re very intricate with every aspect. Intricacy is just a big deal to us. We just appreciate that wittiness about those artists that just got it. That’s what we try to bring to it, and the chemistry goes hand-in-hand.
I understand your solo project is called Silk Weaponry. How long have you been working on it?
I came with the idea like two years ago and at the time I didn’t know exactly what I was gonna do. I thought I was just gonna rap over other producer’s beats and shit. But I wasn’t really getting what I wanted out of the situation and I was kind of just like…you know what? I’ve been making beats for however long, I might as well just try to make a project, the best project I can beat-wise and with the raps.
I’ve kinda just been working on that shit on and off. I was helping DP with his project, but he’s really been pushing me now to get that shit out. He’s like, “You need to come out now.” [Laughs] But I’d say it’s 50% done. I’m ready to show the world what I’ve got.