Friday, October 12, 2012
Toe Da Barber & DJ TOO FACE
There is probably no more polarizing figure in Fox Valley hip hop than Taurean “Toe Da Barber” Brower.
Calling himself the “best rapper in Wisconsin”, (a statement he touches upon in the interview) Toe always seems to have the spotlight on him, be it in a good or bad way. At times there are beefs and disagreements that seem to be more of a distraction than anything else, but the amazing thing is through it all, Toe reminds who he is: happy, smiling and cutting heads.
The dynamic between Toe and DJ Too Face is equally interesting. Toe is this vibrant, outgoing, powerful personality that you can’t help but notice the second he walks in a room. Too Face, well he is just a laid back brotha, unless you catch him around his people.
“You know what’s funny, man? We’re like so similar but so different at the same time. I am more focused,” Too Face said. “I will put on the charm when I have to, like when I am trying to make business moves or talking to club owners.”
With that powerful combination, Toe and Face, the heart and soul of FACE IT, continue to make great music and produce the hottest rappers in the valley. And for Toe, that is really all it is about.
“If I get a deal, I get a deal. But the music ain’t never gonna stop for me,” Toe said. “Like T.I. said, ‘if I never would have made it, I would still have 10 albums in the hood.’ I was never in this for a record deal; I love music. Bottom line.”
When did you fall in love with music?
I fell in love with music really 5 years ago when I decided to be a rapper. That is when I first fell in love with music.
What do you want people to hear in your music?
I want them to hear real life. In my music, you hear about my personal problems, things I want to do, you hear my adventures, and the pain and the struggle that I am still going through as a human being. I want everyone to know that I am human like them and I hope my music can give them strength. I have a lot of victory songs; anthem songs. I want people to have a good time and know I am human just like them. A lot of people like to play “Superman” in their rhymes.
What do you mean by “play Superman”?
‘I’m in a Lamborghini!!!’; ‘I done been shot but I’m still alive!’ ‘I been posted up on every block!!!’ Talking about shit they haven’t been even CLOSE to doing.
Describe your music.
It’s real life, man; you know what I’m saying? Things you might see when you go to party or things you might do. I got a song called “Barbershop.” ‘I’m at the barbershop, blades go chop-chop. I ain’t Chinese; I’m tryin’ to see a couple G’s’. You know what I’m sayin? A lot of punch lines, a lot of humor, a lot of pain and a lot of fun. That all comes with my music. You may find yourself walking around the house singing one of my songs. They are catchy like that.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Too Face and Kempo, first and foremost, my two brothers. Plus, Jay Z, Nas, Mobb Deep. Cheddar boyz out of Detroit. MC Breed, a lot of Michigan rappers. Eminem, of course. But mainly my family.
You are making a mix tape. What is the first song on it and why?
Barbershop. Because that is my life, that is what I do, I am a barber. I am in the barbershop and the blades go chop chop.
Best performance you ever gave.
That is hard, man. Best performance would have to be when this record label came up and we were at Phatheads.
Worst performance you ever gave.
Worst performance was at the Fire Alarm when I performed ‘Cool Me Down’. I didn’t really know the words. With my performances, I got to be on point. I don’t even feel right if I don’t have the lyrics. I can’t even move or groove right if the words are off.
What are some of the good things about the music scene in this area?
There are a lot of fans and a lot of teens and a lot of people that are new to hip-hop and want to hear the newer hip-hop. It is a big open market that hasn’t really been reached yet. You can get a new listener every day. Another thing is that a lot of people are starting to do more things. They are trying harder to be successful. I have had people say to me “Damn, Toe, I see your grind and you encourage me to come here and rap.” That is some real shit, there.
What are some of the things that could be improved about the music scene?
More artists working together. If do things with another artist, promote that shit. For example, when this interview is done, you are going to see this on my Facebook page, like forever. We need to start doing more with each other and promoting it. You will do a song with somebody and he won’t do anything with it. One person ain’t enough in promotion and marketing.
Why do you think people around here DON’T want to work together?
For one, there are only a handful of black folks around here. Two, most of the black folks around here do hip-hop. And we just don’t want to show each other love for some odd reason. We feel like it’s going to hurt our image to say something positive about someone else. When a newcomer comes around, you are almost forced to pick a camp that you are gonna ride with.
DJ TOO FACE: It seems like when it first started, people were just happy to be doing something new and different up here. Then, as everyone started getting successful, that’s when everybody’s direction grew in different ways. Some people out there just have their own way about things. Everybody is just doing themselves now.
One song that describes your life.
Again, I have to say Barbershop. That is what I do. Every day I wake up and cut heads.
One artist, alive or dead, that you would want to do a song with and why?
Notorious B.I.G., because he represented for all the ugly brothas. (laughing) He represented for the underdogs. Because of him, brothas are able to do a little bit more than they were before because of that man.
Two part question: What do you think your reputation is now, and what do you want your legacy to be?
My rep right now for the people that know me is a hard worker. Dude that love to cut hair, and help people and have fun. For the people that DON’T know me, they probably think I’m a savage monster bully that likes to get over on people and mistreat women. My grandma used to always say ‘you got to know Taurean to love Taurean’. You got to know Toe to love Toe. If you know me, you gonna love me
Where did the nickname come from?
That came from the barbershop.
What goes through your head when you see other cats on stage?
They need to come record with Face It. I ain’t even gonna lie to you man. Everybody around here is on these Sound Click beats. Some of the hottest rappers around here are on Sound Click beats, man. IT ain’t working. 20,000 other people have that same beat, and since it’s online, you got someone saying stuff over the whole beat. It’s just sad that someone doesn’t want to come spend $100 or $150 to come get a REAL beat and some REAL production. I have always said we have the best sound in the Valley and some people took it wrong.
I see it on your Facebook all the time: “I am the best rapper in Wisconsin.” What gives you the confidence to say that?
Recording with DJ Too Face. I have written some of the craziest, hottest stuff that a man could write, and I bring it to him, and he would say “That ain’t hot; re-write it.” He did that to me so much and critiqued every word that came out my mouth; it was to the point where it just HAD to be hot. This is coming from a cat that has produced some of the hottest rappers I have heard. And THESE cats here ME and say, “That is the best shit I have heard in Wisconsin.” And then from there, in the battle raps when I killed McBang who was supposed to be the hottest in Appleton, when I did that to him on that DVD, I was like, I am running with it. I’m the best rapper in Wisconsin, let’s go. I just feel I have to confidence and the words and the work ethic to back that up, and ain’t nobody proved me wrong yet, so I’m gonna keep running with it.