|Birth name||Gregory Skyler Taylor|
December 24, 1982 |
Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York|
|Genres||Hip hop, Lyrics|
|Labels||Hometown Heroes, inc., Jamla Records, Duck Down Records|
|Associated acts||Wale, Mac Miller, 9th Wonder, Talib Kweli, Lloyd Banks, Maino, Torae, Illmind, Just Blaze, Nottz, Black Milk, Sean Price, Styles P.|
Gregory Skyler Taylor (born December 24, 1982), better known by his stage name Skyzoo, is an American rapper from Brooklyn, NY. He rose to prominence in 2006, with a collaborative EP entitled Cloud 9: The 3 Day High, with Grammy award winning producer 9th Wonder. The project reportedly took a total of three days to complete from start to finish. The EP became an underground favorite and garnered Skyzoo media write ups in outlets such as XXL, The Source, Vibe, AllHipHop.com, HipHopDX.com, HipHopGame.com and more.
In 2009, Skyzoo signed to independent staple Duck Down Records, and his debut album The Salvation was released in 2009 with the singles, "The Beautiful Decay", "Popularity", "Easy To Fly", and "My Interpretation" The album debuted at number 14 on the Billboard Hip Hop charts, and was critically acclaimed upon its release. To date it's heralded amongst the Hip Hop community as a classic debut album, and has been labeled one of the few great debut Hip Hop releases of the 2000 decade (along with Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor, and 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Trying). In the fall of 2010, Skyzoo released another collaborative EP, this time teaming up with beat smith Illmind, for what would become Live from the Tape Deck. The project also received critical acclaim for its dense lyricism and producer Illmind's synth heavy and analog-esque production. Skyzoo has also released a plethora of free online mix tapes throughout the course of his career, usually in between studio album releases, and has toured with the likes of Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Pharoahe Monch, Black Moon, Sean Price, and Smif-n-Wessun, as well as headlined shows and tours throughout the US, Toronto, Hong Kong, and Beijing.
Born Gregory Skyler Taylor in 1982 in Crown Heights, he grew up in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. He was nicknamed Skyzoo by his parents after R&B group Skyy. The nickname also derives from his middle name, Skyler. He began rapping at the age of nine and went on to work with producers Jay Dee and 9th Wonder, releasing several mixtapes in the hope of securing a record deal. He lost to Jin on BET's 106 & Park freestyle contest, but went on to have tracks used as both the theme to ESPN's Whiplash TV and the soundtrack to a Guinness advert, and set up his own Custom Made Entertainment company. He has also had a long association with North Carolina rap crew the Justus League, whom he was introduced to via his friend Chaundon, and who he describes as his "second family". Jay Dee's death in 2006 prompted Skyzoo to pay tribute with the song "Sky's Last Donut". He worked with 9th Wonder on his debut album, Present Cloud 9: The 3 Day High, which reportedly took only three days to record. He also contributed to three tracks on the Hall of Justus album Soldiers of Fortune.
He released the critically acclaimed Corner Store Classic mixtape in 2007, and released a remixed version, including some new material, as a digital download album in 2008. Corner Store Classic was rated 'XL' (4/5) by XXL Magazine. In 2007, he stated that he had a second album ready, called The Salvation, but was waiting for a major record deal before releasing it. It was released in September 2009 courtesy Duck Down Records.
Skyzoo also gained fame after making an original song entitled "The Chase is On" for Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned.
He cites as influences hip hop artists such as Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, N.W.A., Big Daddy Kane, and Kid 'n Play, as well as artists such as Sade, Nirvana and John Coltrane, and cites Coltrane's A Love Supreme as his favorite album. He credits J Dilla as his biggest inspiration and favorite producer. He has been critical of the direction that Hip Hop has taken, stating "People are taking the 'whatever we gotta do' method, resulting in gimmick records. I'm about making money but it has to be with dope records".
Skyzoo is an avid basketball fan and is said to still play recreationally in his spare time. He often guest blogs for the online version of the popular Slam magazine, under a column named "Chain Link Champions". He is known to be a big fan and supporter of the New York Knicks, and cites favorite players such as Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, and LeBron James, which he subliminally themed a song around entitled "The Winner's Circle" from his Live From The Tape Deck EP, in which he uses Lebron James' infamous "The Decision" special as his own tug of war within the music industry.
He is also an avid fan of Jazz music, naming Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Horace Silver, and Wayne Shorter as his favorites. He has gone on record to say that Coltrane's legendary "A Love Supreme" is his favorite album in any genre of music.
For several years Skyzoo dated Sharlee Jeter, the younger sister of New York Yankees captain and shortstop Derek Jeter. It has been rumored that the two were married and have a child. Although they were once engaged, the two were never married and do not have a child together. Their wedding was called off in the summer of 2010, and the two have since stopped dating.
- I'm for the People
- Back for the First Time
- The Greatest Flow on Earth (2005)
- Ghetto Celebrity: The Mixtape (2004)
- The City's Favorite: The Mixtape (2005)
- The Way You Get Down (2006)
- Corner Store Classic (2007)
- Corner Store Classic (The Remixes)
- The Power of Words with DJ Drama and Statik Selektah (2009)
- The American Dream Team (Skyzoo and 9th Wonder) mixed by DJ Easy (2012)
- The Penny Freestyle Series (2012)
- The Penny Freestyle Series Part II (2013)
- Band Practice (2013)
- Tomorrow Morning (2014)
- Colloboration albums
- / Album Cloud 9: The 3 Day High (with 9th Wonder) (2006) Traffic
- "Skyzoo's 3 Day High On Cloud 9", MVRemix, November 2006
- "FEATURE:The Next Next?", XXL, November 10, 2008
- "Skyzoo To Drop Corner Store Classic-Remix Mixtape", Hip Hop DX, April 7, 2008, Cheri Media Group
- Kayser, Brian (2006) "Skyzoo", Hip Hop Game
- Cordor, Cyril "Skyzoo Biography", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
- OneAngryBlackMan. "Skyzoo - Return of The Real". Tha Corner. Archived from the original on 8 March 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- Ivey, Michael (2006) "Skyzoo - Brooklyn Water", Nobodysmiling
- Rawlins, Ashmi (2008) "Skyzoo Corner Store Classic", XXL Magazine
- Rhett, Starrene (2007) "Features: Skyzoo: Going Nowhere But Up", Hip Hop DX, Cheri Media Group
- Ortez, Edwin. "Skyzoo Signs to Duck Down Records, Debut Album in August", hiphopdx, May 9, 2009.
- "Skyzoo interview", Bhagat Vinyl
- "Off the Radar: Skyzoo", The Source, October 2007
- Skyzoo’s “A Dream Deferred” LP Due October 2nd