Born Tai K. Rotan in Richmond, VA in the summer of 1980, this brilliant young producer, budding fashion mogul, and social activist credits his success and rising popularity to the foundation laid down by his parents, Renee Kemp-Rotan and father Eric Rotan. Tai’s father, a musician, played the bass in several bands in the Washington, DC area. Notably, he played with Pharaoh Saunders, who was the protégé of jazz great, John Coltrane. In addition, the senior Rotan also passed on a love and mastery of mass communications, specializing in editing, directing, producing and camera operation. Tai’s mother always taught him to be well read and stressed excelling in academia. Kemp-Rotan comes from humble beginnings and has degrees from Columbia University, the University of Architecture in London, and was the first African-American female to graduate from Syracuse University with a degree in Architecture
These influences gave Tai the passion and focus to embark upon the realization of his dream to become a top producer in the industry without compromising the appreciation of scholars and artists that have helped to shape the world he expresses through both his production talents and his socially conscious foray into fashion. Since his dad gave him his first Casio CZ-101 synthesizer on his tenth birthday (which he still has today), Tai knew music was in his blood. Around that same time, the young producer’s mother bought one of two existing parlor grand pianos. Constructed in 1898, the year of his great-grandmother’s birth, the piano was her gift to him. During after school sessions, Tai soon realized his talent for playing by ear and composing original songs.
TKRP (Tai K. Rotan Productions) was established in the fall of 1997 when he started learning how to compose music digitally in a MIDI Keyboarding class during senior year at Redan High School. By the end of the term, Tai was so well-versed in using the application that the instructor had him instructing other students. He later acquired the same program and began building his first home studio. It was only a short time before the beats and original songs were well sought after by friends and up and coming local artists.
After graduating from high school, the young mogul attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. There he met up with other fledgling producers and began his mission to become a standout in the area of digital music. Borrowing keyboards in the dorm to make music, Tai decided it was time to step his game up. Less than a year later, he purchased a Korg Triton workstation, which all producers in the industry were using at that time. He then acquired a Roland VS880-EX digital recorder/mixer to mix down vocals. Fueled by college loans and refunded scholarship money, Tai produced hundreds of tracks and began seeking professional connections and opportunities.
Destiny and desire collided when Tai hooked up with the Outlawz (the group are the protégés of the late Tupac Shakur). A humid Saturday night led him to seek refreshment in a local Atlanta nightclub (the Bounce). It was there that the producer met Kastro of the Outlawz. Rotan had a friendship with a cousin of the rapper and the two soon became fast friends. The timing was perfect because the group was looking for new producers. Hearing this, Tai went into the lab. A few months later he was receiving some constructive criticism and his first professional industry contact. A few years after graduating college, Tai Rotan and Cousin Atu Nii-Owoo started OXOSSI (an apparel company with a focus on promoting great historical figures and social awareness) and gotten his first big break in music with a track on “Can’t Sell Dope Forever,” an album released by Affluent Records. The song was entitled “Came Up” and featured Young Noble from the Outlawz, https://www.tradebit.com from Dead Prez, and Lazie Bone from Bone Thugs N Harmony. Listen closely for even more from this dynamic young producer. Through his TKRP production and publishing company, Rotan has breathed new life and energy into an otherwise stagnant industry.
By: Sean "Dink" Fleming for Outsyde the Box Media
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