One rapper from Jamaica is using the power of his music to bring about positive change, not only for himself, but for the entire community.
Kevin Taylor, also known as Slimchance the Rapper, is using his music to inspire those who have been told that they have a “slim chance” to succeed in life, as many have told him.
As a child, Taylor’s mother developed a drug addiction and his life changed forever; he was placed in a group home upstate. When he was 9 years old, his aunt gained custody of him — and his brother — and brought them to live with her and her five kids.
It was while living with his aunt that Taylor discovered his love of music, coupled with the rich and lavish lifestyle of rappers, and he wanted that for himself.
“It was so intriguing because you would see the fancy cars and the pretty girls, and here I am, a young kid, but I just knew that I’ve already dealt with all these problems at a young age of 8 or 9 and here are these people on TV looking like they don’t have a problem in the world,” Taylor said. “It’s like they were in a fantasy world. I was attracted to that, like wow, I want to look like I’m living problem-free too. So I think that’s kind of the spark that made me say I want to get into this entertainment because this is where the money is, this is where everybody loves you. Growing up I didn’t feel like I had all that love.”
From that point on Taylor made it his personal mission to be a success in the rap game. After years of recording his own raps on a tape deck, handing out tapes and CDs to anyone who would listen, and hours of learning how to mix his own music on a computer, Taylor now has more than 54,000 album downloads as well as a successful clothing brand.
With his success, Taylor has not forgotten his roots and has done his part in giving back to the community that has given him so much.
“After getting so much feedback from my music, and it was becoming influential to the neighborhood, I wanted to start using my music to do things, to give insight of what’s going on in the world,” he said.
To date, Taylor has donated almost $10,000 to charities to feed children in need. He has given away 1,000 signature T-shirts from his clothing brand, SC Apparel, and has donated more than 150 pairs of sneakers to neighborhood kids in Jamaica.
Taylor’s giving doesn’t just end with money and donations. He has used his rapping skills to create songs to relate to important issues facing everyday people such as breast cancer, HIV/AIDS — which is how his mother died when he was younger — Haiti relief and other issues.
“I don’t use that as a gimmick, I just feel like there is so much going on in the world and it’s very rare that you have a voice that people actually respect and want to be a part of and want to listen to,” Taylor said.
Now “Slimchance” has set his sights on another issue that hits very close to home for him, the Black Lives Matter movement. As a black man, Taylor was affected by the deaths of other black men like Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin and others and is using his song “Black Lives Matter…What Happened?” to talk about it, even if more mainstream artists aren’t.
“This song is very important for me to put out because as I’m Googling Black Lives Matter music on the internet, nobody has recorded anything, nobody has released anything,” Taylor said. “It bothers me that these mainstream artists aren’t doing enough.”
Now Taylor is working to get all the artists he knows from around Jamaica and Queens to collaborate on a song, much like the 1985 hit “We are the World” by the most influential artists of the time, to shed even more light on this issue.
Listen to some of Slimchance’s music on his Soundcloud page.