by Mely Duong
Taizu is a local rapper who has begun to establish an empire that emanates outwards from New Jersey to conquer the world with his diverse lyrics, which can range from hype and loud to melodic chill music. His music attempts to capture various moments in life from partying, to chilling, to pregaming and the different moods that are infused within each experience. The lyrics he lays down are brutally honest.
“Certain lyrics that many would consider embarrassing or something that you shouldn’t share is what I like to expose. If it bothers me or makes me uncomfortable, I’m willing to share it,” he says.
Perhaps this is the unique quality that has benefited Taizu in building his empire. Interestingly enough, his given name is Manan, and while he remains true to his identity as Manan at the core, he felt that the use of his first name did not quite match his lyrics.
In a sense, Taizu is an alter ego who intertwines the down to earth, humble persona of Manan with the honest, confident hip hop artist that we have come to know. Both sides of the same person are reflected in his music. Manan came up with this stage name when he learned that Genghis Khan was never called by his first name and monks would call him Taizu, one who forms a dynasty. It matched the image that he wanted to portray and Taizu was born.
Taizu, a rapper for seven years now, first started in college as a Drexel freshman. He was chewed out for his freestyling at a party and came back the following week with a rap written specifically against the one who called him out. Ever since then, he’s been writing and enjoying expressing his creativity through rap. In fact, his witty writing is his greatest strength, but his weakness lies in questioning himself and balancing confidence with arrogance. “What’s amazing about hip hop music is how much material you can pack into 16 bars. The amount of references, metaphors, information you can squeeze into a few lines is unparalleled by any other genre.”
A distinguishing feature that affects Taizu’s lyrics would be his outlook on life, being Indian and spiritual. There’s a great dichotomy of saint versus sinner resonating in him, and as such, it’s a balance of live, laugh, love and yet bettering himself by being conscientious of world events and politics. This is evident in his lyrics as they depict the enjoyment of some vices, but also exemplify the swagger that comes with intelligence.
“For many kids, hip hop speaks to them and influences them more than their own parents. There’s a moral responsibility that comes when you have the ability to influence others…where you can make a palpable difference in the game.” One of his biggest influences in terms of writing has been Lil Wayne, and although he appreciates artists in the genre still, his excitement for them has changed and instead, he focuses his energy on working on honing his own craft.
One of his early career moves was forming Abstract Method with friend Anjum. In 2010, the duo spent half the year in India and worked on two tracks with Gaurav Dayal (who has multiple Bollywood credits). The collaboration resulted in “Applebottoms”, a song that was pitched to Reebok and played in Reebok shops throughout India. Furthermore, the song was nominated for an award for best pop song at an award show in India. Since then, Taizu has been featured in two songs on an eight-track project with G-Deep. A trip to India for videos and promos will occur in the near future.
In addition, Taizu has been working on a personal project, “Let Me Breathe”, wherein his focus deviates from slamming people with hard hitting bars and pursuing story telling instead. This provides listeners with a better perspective on who Taizu is and his experiences. This will be the most developed and mature material Taizu has released yet, addressing topics such as education reform.
The next year will be extremely busy for Taizu as he has a project with Dinnerland and Birthday Cake, Co-op, and various other big shows to perform at. He recently finished the Jay Sean show, collaborating with Sean Paul, and with Imran Khan. His ultimate goal is to continue his momentum in terms of growth as an individual and as an artist. He thanks his fans, friends and family for all their support as he went off the radar for a bit due to his need to find again his true purpose and passion.