MP3 Taiyo Na - Love Is Growth
Influenced as much by Curtis Mayfield as it is Nas, Ben Harper or Chris Iijima, Love Is Growth is a blend of gritty New York hip-hop and classic American soul.
11 MP3 Songs
HIP-HOP/RAP: Hip Hop, URBAN/R&B: Soul
"Taiyo’s music gets under your skin like a warm heartbeat. Pure as moonlight, gritty as N.Y.C., brave as a young man standing tall in the face of his own shadows. Paladin, seraph, young sage come-of-age, we welcome your songs into our dangerous, beautiful world.”
-Ishle Yi Park
"Taiyo tells a story that is both his and his people’s, and he tells it well. There’s a fearless humility that bleeds through this record. Emotion, but with substance - in a world that sees and hears too much of one without the other."
-Geologic of Blue Scholars
"Moving swiftly and easily between so-called “genres,” lapping the hardcore MC, soulman/loverman and poet for the people two times… All hail the young prince."
-Denizen Kane, excerpt from liner notes for Love Is Growth
Taiyo Na, a 25-year old renaissance man of word, sound and action, released his first full-length solo album Love Is Growth in March of 2008 through Issilah Productions.
Influenced as much by Curtis Mayfield as it is Nas, Ben Harper or Chris Iijima, Love Is Growth is a blend of gritty New York hip-hop and classic American soul. Featuring collaborations with singers Vudoo Soul, Conchita Campos, and Emily C. Chang, rapper/producer Koba, jazz violinist Jason Kao Hwang, guitarists Minimum Tek of Outernational and Mark Concerto of P.I.C. and more, the album is composed, arranged and produced entirely by Taiyo. Socially conscious, often funky and always personal, the album showcases the artist’s urgency, scope and depth through song’s such as the champion’s anthem title track, the pulsating introduction “One More Time” and the ethereal rock-soul ballad “Take My Breath Away.”
Born and raised throughout New York City, Taiyo first started writing rhymes at age 13 with the encouragement of high school and neighborhood friends. This passion for language, heart and rhythm led to an early journey into spoken word poetry, performing nationally with the New York-based feedback poets’ collective (2000-2003) which featured acclaimed poets Beau Sia and Ishle Park. By the time he was 18 years old, he had shared stages with Maya Angelou, Jessica Hagedorn and Janice Mirikitani, and was selected as one of the “25 Best Emerging Artists Under the Age of 25” by New World Theater’s Intersection Conference in 2002.
Increasingly driven by melody and groove, in the next few years Taiyo found himself building a name as an emcee, singer and songwriter within New York City’s independent music scene. Notable accomplishments include a guest performance for Helen Zia’s Asian American Renaissance Conference, a featured night at Lincoln Center, two appearances on Kevin So’s celebrated album A Brighter Day, and an opening performance for 9-time Grammy Award-winning Eddie Palmieri.
Like the Latin American soul music of Palmieri and La Lupe generations before, Taiyo Na’s Love Is Growth marks the emergence of an Asian American soul music, most notably in songs such as “Lovely To Me (Immigrant Mother)” and “Kasama.” It is a distinct American music—African and European in its roots—and now Asian in its perspective. In an American pop culture that often doesn’t see Asian people as performing artists, time will only tell if the mainstream is ready for more diversity. Two things, however, are for certain: Taiyo represents an entire movement of young Asian American musicians creating a voice all their own, and Love Is Growth is the latest charge forward.
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