[Interview] Belgian rapper Taste offers insight into indie hip-hop life

“I’ve been moving around my whole life and absorbing cultures that influence the music I make today. Taste, because I love cooking and because making music is creating a taste just like a chef does by mixing ingredients. Whether it’s good or not depends on the person tasting.”

Airplane Mode: Your music in 3 words?

Taste: Simple, fresh and neat.

A.M: Why, where and how did you fall in love with music?

Taste: I’ve always been trying to write verses and I used to sing reggae and things like that. I tried but I really started having a passion for it when I was in Cameroon, at the age of 16. It was back in 2009-2010 , something like that, I went there and I met a guy from the hood in Yaoundé, named Palesto whose place I would chill at. He’s like the most talented person I’ve ever met. He could sing and rap in French and English and I just listen to him.

I wanted to try the same thing so I started recording stuff, but I never liked it. And I only started liking it when I arrived in Brussels and really started writing raps and recording. Then, I began to develop a passion for it but I only seriously started rapping about three years ago, before that it was always a trial.. I think it’s complicated for someone to admit they want to be an artist. That’s why I had so many troubles with my studies and things like that.

A.M: Why do you rap in English?

Taste: Because it’s my mother tongue. My mother used to speak to me in English because she’s an Indian who studied in England, plus I also studied English literature in an International High school. Most of my friends don’t speak English, they are French speakers, so rapping in English is a way to keep my level up. Without it, I think my English would be really crappy right now.

A.M: Your favorite songs when you started listening to hip-hop?

Taste: 50 Cent, definitely, his classics like Many Men, In Da Club or P.I.M.P. I was crazy about these songs. Sean Paul too, the first album I bought was a Sean Paul album.

A.M: Your top 3 hip-hop albums of all time?


ATliens – Outkast (influenced by anything but themselves, their own vibe, it’s still dope 10 years later)

Ready To Die – The Notorious B.I.G.

Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem

A.M: West side or east side?

Taste: I’m kind of both. I used to be really kind of east side shit like New-York, Brooklyn, Queens,… But I think it doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s not west or east anymore, it’s south-east, north-east,… every city has its own vibe.

A.M: Your dream featuring?

Taste: Andre 3000, definitely. Crazy songs, like the featuring with Kid Cudi, “By Design”.

A.M: Your dream producer for your first studio album?

Taste: Myself, that would be the dopest. I’m always gonna work with different people but I would like my first album to be produced by myself, or mostly produced by myself.

A.M: What are your current projects?

Taste: Well, I have an upcoming project with my friend Moko, who I’ve been working with for years. We listen to the tracks we have together, we have like 15 or 17 tracks in the mix but the thing is we don’t really find it cohesive, the unity between all the tracks. If I’m going to release an EP, I want all the tracks to have a vibe, a history, something that brings them together. I don’t wanna just bring out a few songs, mix them in one project and release it like a mixtape. I’m working on an EP, on different vibes, I have different demos but what I wanna do is release a song every month at least, as long as I’m not releasing an EP.

A.M: The place to be in Belgium for the rap game?

Taste: Flanders, definitely, Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven. And Amsterdam, Germany is dope too.

A.M: If you could be on stage in one country right now?

Taste: Germany, I think Germany is really dope. In a festival, a big club or a hip-hop showcase. I’ve never made live music outside the borders but it’s on my agenda.

A.M: What’s the toughest aspects of the “home-made production, underground scene” life?

Taste: Building your team, because on your own, you can’t make it. Even if you think Drake is alone, Russ is alone, they’ve got a fucking team behind them. Building a team with talented people who really trust you and know that you are able to build something great, that’s hard. A team like TDE, with their own real talents, homies, they just draw inspiration from each other. That’s what I’m looking for and I miss having a good pal who’s an English speaker, who can also relate to what I do. I got Orlando for example but it’s not the same thing.

A.M: Your last video clip, “The bomb” has a really crazy underground vibe to it. How important is dance for you in hip-hop music?

Taste: Really good question, I’m glad you ask that. I think rapping and singing is a way to free the mind from what you have to express and dancing is the way to free the body from what you have to express, all the frustration, all the anger, all the joy you accumulate in your mind and in your body, you can express them with both. I love dancing but I don’t know how to dance, I’m a bad as fuck but I love it because it makes me feel so good and hip-hop is like one thing; you can learn from dancing when you rap and learn from rapping when you dance. I’ve been living with a dancer for 3 years now and he told me a lot of things, I think it’s reciprocal.

A.M: Which rappers from Brussels do you listen to today?

Taste: For the meantime, I listen to my friend Louss, a really dope singer, she as so many projects and she’s constantly working. I listen to my homie Youn, whose preparing a project as well. Orlando too, he has a dope song coming. RBC’s Fuego, Brandon and all that, they’re really dope.

Pic: Eazyfeurz