A computer scientist might say that Eighty4 Fly is a skilled developer of user experience. A chemist might remark on the mixture of elements found in his style and compare it to marvelous things that happen in nature. No matter a listener’s occupation, it can be said that listening to Eighty4 Fly is an entree into an undeniable aura.
Devon Taylor became Eighty4 Fly with a simple realization that being born in 1984 and being fly were two things that defined him. When a Google search for the name returned no results, he knew he was on to something. Raised in a musical family, Eighty4 formed a love for a varied assortment of music and made it his business to make songs like the ones he loved. He recalls his first studio experience as a 16 year-old “going in with no training wheels” with Seattle artist Livio and producer DJ Funk Daddy (E-40, Sir Mix A Lot). He really enjoyed himself during that session, feeling proud of his performance and relishing the opportunity to use his voice. An unfortunate turn of events silenced that voice for a season, as he served prison time from 2002-2005. His time incarcerated gave him the opportunity to reinvent himself. Upon his release, he began recording under the moniker SK the King. He performed as a solo artist and as a member of a group called The Naturals. By 2010, he wanted to freshen up his approach to music and enter into a new, broader sound.
This new sound made its debut with the 2010 standout single “So Cool.” Its accompanying video, filmed in Las Vegas, showcased a sharp vision of what Eighty4 Fly was to become. “So Cool” was the biggest local song to emerge from Seattle Hip-Hop in 2010 and the success of it took Eighty4 by surprise. It was his first foray into a new musical territory and it paid off for him, allowing him to receive airtime on F– USE and MTVU. Continuing the momentum, Eighty4 released a “freEp” (free EP) called The Eighty4 Fly Project and a mixtape called First Class In Fly World. The public response to these projects was overwhelmingly positive.
Eighty4’s brand of rock star cool from a Hip-Hop perspective has continued to catch on with new audiences. His standout appearance on “Gold” from Macklemore’s The Heist album (No.1 US Billboard Top Rap Albums, No. 2 US Billboard 200) has driven up awareness exponentially.
To capitalize on this development, Eighty4 released a new project Colors in fall 2012. The mixtape album’s first two singles are “Kush High” and “Cool Kids.” The video for “Cool Kids” was directed by Seattle expat Jon ( Jon Jon) Augustavo, and like “So Cool” was shot in Las Vegas.
Hip-Hop site, The DJ Booth describes the video as “an effervescent blend of hip-hop and indie-pop, with [producer] WHP serving up a hip-swiveling beat reminiscent of MGMT’s Electric Feel … as the Seattle rhymesayer details his search for a woman fly enough to ride with him. Jon Jon Augustavo provides visuals to match the record’s eclectic vibe-from skate tricks and curbside Cee-lo matches to old-school Gameboys and dancing robots, there’s something to entertain just about every viewer.”
Colors features 19 original tracks, with special guests AyeLogics, Neema, Nipsey Hussle and Royce The Choice. Production is supplied by SuperNova, Yorel, Tom Davis, WHP, A Dot, Trixx, Chemist, Ray Wonder, Versatyle, and Florida G. Colors was inspired by a neurological condition called chromesthesia that causes a person to “see” sound in explosions of color. The mixtape/album translates its songs into colors using mood as the medium. Each track has its own-labeled color, starting off the project with an immediate curiosity as to what the colors stand for, but it’s easily depicted with each track, as the music on this project is a visual experience.
Currently, Eighty4 is working on a free project that he will release in the spring and intends to follow up on that release with a full-length album this fall. Comfortable with his core of producers, Eighty4 says the goal for the new music is “to continue to have fun and stay true to my independent roots.” Memories of growing up listening to KUBE 93 and taping his favorite songs inspire Eighty4 to make musical moments as special as those Dr. Dre and Timbaland productions he favored as a youngster.
The place that Eighty4 Fly is in with his career is reminiscent of a scene in the “So Cool” video. In this particular scene he is checking himself in a mirror as he’s preparing to leave the room. There is no mask for the intensity in his eyes and he wears an unshakable confidence as if he knows that he could take the world by storm. It’s baffling how at this very moment, we see how life striving to imitate art. As an air traffic controller might say: Eight4 Fly is ready to take off!
Download Eight4 Fly Colors http://eighty4fly.com
by Darryl Crews