Boy Tag is a Cameroonian rapper, songwriter, singer, producer and performer. Many describe him as one of the fastest and most lyrically powerful young Cameroonian rappers. He is changing the rap game with his flexibility, especially as he fluently flows in English, Pidgin, French and his vernacular. The way he successfully translates passion and energy into his music is contagious. Boy TAG is definitely one of those young Cameroonian rappers to be on the lookout for.
What happened in my life that really messed me up, started 16 years ago, that was in 2003. I was living my normal life in poverty, but I did not let poverty take away my happiness. So. I was with my friends, we were enjoying, we were just playing football on the field, just having fun, trying to distract ourselves from the troubles of the world, when someone came and called for me. When I asked why they were calling for me, the person said he did not know why he was sent to call for me, that they just told him to call for me.
So I went home, and I was told my mother had just passed away. It was really tough. I stood there for like 10 minutes, without saying a word! A lot of things were just running through my head. It was just as if my world had come to an end. It was like I had met hell. She was everything to me, my role model, teacher, mentor, I learnt a lot from her. She was supposed to tell me more about life, she was supposed to guide me on the difficulties in life, and she just left. It weighed down on me. All I had left was my grandmother and my sister, My grandmother took care of us and told us everything will be alright. She rebuilt confidence in us, said we still have her, and we will be fine, and so she was basically what we had left, and we had nothing, she was old. Most a times, we would have to go to school after going to the farm. We will go to the farm, do one or two chores, then come back before we go to school. And sometimes, after we leave from school, we’ll still have to go the farm, to look for something that we’d come home and eat.
After like a year and a half, she got sick. We took her from sand-sand quarter (Muyuka), to Buea for hospitalisation. I slept with her in the hospital. I was there, I slept beside her everyday for months upon months. I was sleeping on the tiles, I had no pullover, we had no money. According to hospital rules, if you don’t have money, only your patient will sleep on the bed, while you; the patient’s guardian, will find a solution for yourself. So I had to sleep on the tiles on the floor, for months upon months, hoping that she will be fine, for us to leave that place.
She got a little better, I was happy, we came back home and just few weeks later, she died. She was the only person my sister and I had, that was when I knew that I had come to an end. I had finally met my hell on earth. I knew I would not make it. It got to a point where I would just walk on the street and talk to myself. Be shouting at myself, talking alone. I was literally going crazy. People would run up to me and ask “why are you talking to yourself in this manner?” “why are you shouting at yourself?” in the middle of the street, before I would recover and discover that I was talking to myself.
I used to do things without knowing. I got so emotional, I was heartbroken, and frustrated. Till date, I still am emotional. My sister has four kids, and I am like a father to them, because their fathers did not want them.
After the death of my grandmother, everything took a down turn for me. My grandmother’s sister came and took us in, and her children were now the ones taking care of us. Sent me to secondary school. In the course of my secondary education, I made some friends. A couple of them would come to school everyday and they would rap. One of them would be hitting the desk and the other one would be rapping. I kind of liked what they were doing, and I thought, “this was something that I could actually do, to distract myself from all that had happened in my life.” So I told the guy who was rapping that “take me to the studio where you do your music, I would like to do it too” He said “yes, after the class I would take you to my studio, and introduce you to everybody there, if you want to do music, then it’s up to you.” I went there, I had no money on me, I did not know anything about music.
On getting to the studio, the DJ asked me what I wanted to do. I did not even know the difference between rapping or singing, he said “you want to rap?” I just said “yes.” He asked my favorite rapper, I said Eminem. He was my favorite rapper because he was a white man in an industry dominated by black men. I felt I could be the “Eminem” here. So I got into it. I would do side jobs aside from school to pay for money to go to the studio and pay the DJ to make beats for me and produce my songs. As years passed, I also learned how to produce. I became a beat maker too, and started producing my own songs. After I graduated from secondary school, I decided to take the music as a career, but nothing was happening. I started going to the university, but most of my time, I would spend in the studio.
I would leave the house, my family would know that I am going to school but I would spend my time in the studio, so it became a part of me. It became like a career for me, something that I really wanted to do. During my final year in the University, I dropped out of school without my family knowing. Going from one music competition to the other, or one singing competition to the other, trying to break through, but it did not happen the way I thought. I discovered that it was not as easy as I thought, that it was political, and hard for a no-name like me to breakthrough. So, years passed and I became frustrated because nothing was moving, even though I put in all the efforts I could put.
In 2016, I said to myself, “look, I have had enough, if this 2016 passes and nothing happens, and I do not make a name for myself, I am quitting music for good.” So I decided to take the songs that I had done, visit people, beg them to play it. Meet some big people and beg them to help me get the songs out there, since I had no money.
Some would take it and throw it away, some will accept and forget to play it, some will take it and try their best, I was push-full, calling them everyday, almost becoming a pest to most of them, because I wanted it to happen that year,
One of my friends then took my songs, and sent them to a record label, without telling me. After I had complained to him to help me, since he had gotten quite popular and I was still a no-name. So two months before I gave up, before I finally dropped my pen to give up on music, that my friend called that a record label had listened to my songs, and they wanted to sign me. I did not believe it.
So I went to his house, saw the contract, it was good, but it was less than what I expected. Even though I was desperate, I knew my worth. There was a part in the contract that I didn’t really like, so I asked them to change it. I was saying that with fear, because I knew they would not. Behold, they listened to my complaint, and they changed the terms I did not like, to a favorable one. I am very grateful and appreciative that they did.
I signed the contract, and everything turned around in my life. The Boy TAG that you know today has suffered before getting here.”
Something many people don’t know about me, is that when I was 16/17 years old, I had a crush on a girl, I had already planned everything in my head. In my head, she was my girlfriend already. But physically, I would be shy, or uncomfortable when she is around, she kind of liked me too, but when it came to talking to her,I became a wimp. She threw some signs to let me know she was into me too, but I lacked the courage to talk to her. I was kind of shy, but I just knew that’s my girl. Just when I finally gathered the courage to talk to her, she told me that another guy had already approached her and that she had accepted. So she got a boyfriend, and it was not me, so I lost her, Till date, I am still mad at myself for not having the courage to talk to her when I had the chance to. She is now happily married, not to the same guy though.
She saw me a while back, and told me that I let her down, that I was supposed to be her man, but I never had the courage to ask her out, she gave me signs and I did not see them. If not that she is happily married, I would have made my intentions known to her then, well, it’s too late now.
If you like or you love somebody, just go ahead and tell them. They may accept or reject you, but just do it. Just gather the courage and do it, and if you don’t you will regret like I did.
Career wise, I have a couple of collaborations I am working on, with legends in and out of the country, I cannot let the cat out of the bag now, but just expect something big from me. Davido is one of those people I would really love to do a song with.
I am also investing in a clothing line. It is very huge for me. I want to translate the message of my music into something you can wear. I want to put the Bamileke culture and tradition in an attire that people can wear and be proud of. It is is something that, in the future, I want it to be looked at the way Gucci, Louis Vuitton and the rest are being looked at, now. It is more of an urban/street wear mixed with traditional wear. It is very unique and different from what is already being done. Everything is built from scratch.