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by Matthew Heller

Exhaling the yellow smoke of buddha through righteous steps, Tay Ray sits, seemingly anxious about something, yet relaxed and articulate. Tay’s mind is bubbling with concepts and song ideas. He rattles them off, looking at me for approval. It's no surprise music comes naturally to Tay Ray. His family tree is filled with musicians and he was exposed to the recording process at the young age of 12.

Tay is a naturally well-rounded MC who developed his rap style as a teenager verbally jousting with opponents from different high schools in the area. As he entered his early twenties promoters began to take notice of Tay's ability to demoralize his adversaries and strike a chord with onlookers. His performance last year at the Wiz Khalifa show along with OJ The King and the EST crew had everyone in the building forgetting there was a headliner. I host a local hip-hop night at White’s Bar called The Realness and every chance he gets, Tay comes through and does his thing. He has earned the respect of his peers through diligence and raw talent.

Stylistically, Tay Ray has the delivery and passion of Tupac. His lyrics are a genuine expression of who he is, a soulful street scholar with a subtle consciousness. Tay is finally reaching a maturity level with the music where he is ready to officially let people know he has arrived. Although Tay has a whole catalogue of songs, his latest efforts have caught the ear of almost everyone linked up with him on a social network. The new material displays growth in an artist who is ready to take it to the next level.

On any given day or hour you can catch Tay Ray on Twitter and Facebook posting his brand of real talk. He’s an artist who is the same in real life and on the Internet as he is on record. Tay is also on the panel of one of the hottest Internet radio shows, The Shop, airing Wednesdays at 10 PM on Skeem’s popular Blogtalk radio station, Identification: Confirmed 989 Radio. Tay along with other local hip hop heavyweights Bub Bizzle, Phe McWright, Marc Bake, and host Skeem take submissions from local hip-hop artists and give honest constructive criticism. Part of the show's appeal is Tay’s witty and humorous comments pertaining to the artist on the hot seat. Tay Ray is all over the place and not afraid to put his hand in everything hip-hop, regardless of money or shine.

September 22nd Tay Ray finally gets his turn to put together a show for The Realness. Thinking outside of the box, Tay has managed to conjure up an interesting idea for a live performance. His concept is a royal rumble relay of rappers all coalescing in a daisy chain performance. Some of Saginaw’s dopest MCs, including OJ The King, Phe McWright, DA, and Bub Bizzle, will be doing a medley of tracks. Each rapper will be doing one song and playing hype man for the next MC to spit. It is a concept he calls "Organized Chaos." I ask Tay Ray how he comes up with all these ideas. He ashes the blunt, pounds his fist on his heart and says, “It's all in here."

Tay Ray will be performing at The Realness at White's Bar (2609 State St., Saginaw) on Wednesday, September 22nd. The show runs from 10 pm to 2 am. You can also catch him on Saturday, September 25th at Bay City's Prime Event Center where he will be performing in the Fall Slam Jam. The event runs from 9 pm to 2 am. Tay Ray's project, Sincerly, Tommy Brown will drop soon. Follow him on Twitter for all of his new music leaks.

© Matthew Heller, 2010