|Birth name||Gregory Skyler Taylor|
December 24, 1982 |
Brooklyn, New York City
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, songwriter, lyricist|
|Labels||First Generation Rich, Inc.|
|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, New York. He has released a number of notable solo and collaborative albums, including Cloud 9: The 3 Day High with 9th Wonder in 2006, The Salvation (2009), and Music For My Friends (2015), among others. Skyzoo has areleased a plethora of free online mix tapes such as Corner Store Classic throughout his career, and has toured with artists such as 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. He owns the independent record label First Generation Rich.
Early life and music career
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 also contributed to three tracks on the Hall of Justus album Soldiers of Fortune.
Early material (2006-2010)
He rose to prominence in 2006, with a collaborative album entitled Cloud 9: The 3 Day High, with 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 others.
His mixtape Corner Store Classic was released for free on July 20, 2007. It had production from 9th Wonder, DJ Premier, and others. Skyzoo contributed most vocals, though guest vocalists such as Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, and Torae. Skyzoo released a remixed version, including some new material, as a digital download album in 2008. The album was generally well-received. AllHipHop reviewed it positively, while XXL gave it a positive rating of XL.
2007, he stated that he had a sophomore studio album ready, called The Salvation, but was waiting for a major record deal before releasing it. In 2009, Skyzoo signed to independent staple Duck Down Records, and The Salvation was released in 2009 with the singles "The Beautiful Decay", "Popularity", "Easy To Fly", and "My Interpretation." The album debuted at No. 14 on the Tastemaker Albums Billboard chart and was well received by critics.
In the fall of 2010, Skyzoo released a collaborative EP with Illmind titled Live from the Tape Deck. It was released on October 5, 2010 by Duck Down Records and distributed through E1 Entertainment. The project also was positively received by music critics.
Recent releases (2011-present)
Skyzoo's October 2012 studio album A Dream Deferred met with a largely positive critical response, and became one of Skyzoo's best charting albums, reaching No. 7 on the Top Heatseekers chart and No. 18 on Top Rap Albums chart.
He collaborated on the EP An Ode to Reasonable Doubt with Antman Wonder in 2013. The album, dedicated to Jay Z's material, was released on Jay Z's birthday on December 4, 2014. A music video was also released the album's track "Meeting the Presidents." Hiphopdx gave it a positive review.
Skyzoo's original song entitled "The Chase is On" was used in Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned. On August 12, 2014, Skyzoo was featured on "Paper Game", a song by fellow New York rappers Accent and Kinetics, for which he also appeared in the video.
Music For My Friends is the third solo album by Skyzoo, and was released on June 23, 2015 under his label First Generation Rich. Among the singles are "Luxury," which features Westside Gunn, and had an official music video released. It peaked at No. 15 on the US Top Heatseekers chart, and at No. 36 at Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and was positively received in the music press.
Musical style and influences
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".
- Solo albums
- Collaborative albums
|2004||I'm for the People (with DJ Nyce)|
|Back for the First Time (with DJ Nyce)|
|Ghetto Celebrity: The Mixtape|
|2005||The Greatest Flow on Earth|
|The City's Favorite: The Mixtape|
|2006||The Way You Get Down|
|2007||Corner Store Classic||Self-released|
|2008||Corner Store Classic (The Remixes)|
|2009||The Power of Words
(with DJ Drama and Statik Selektah)
|2011||The Great Debater||AudioWorx|
|2012||The Great Debater Revisited||Duck Down Music|
|Theo vs JJ (Dreams vs Reality)|
|The American Dream Team
(with 9th Wonder, mixed by DJ Easy)
|The Penny Freestyle Series|
|2013||The Penny Freestyle Series Part II |
- 12 Rounds: Exclusive Skyzoo Interview with TheKoalition.com (November 2008)
- "FEATURE:The Next Next?", XXL, November 10, 2008
- Cordor, Cyril "Skyzoo Biography", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
- "Skyzoo - Corner Store Classic Free Download". hiphopdx.com. July 20, 2007.
- "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
- Kayser, Brian (2006) "Skyzoo", Hip Hop Game
- "9TH WONDER presents SKYZOO". YouTube.com. 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "iTunes - Music - Cloud 9: The 3 Day High by 9th Wonder & Skyzoo". Itunes.apple.com. 2006-09-12. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "MVRemix Interviews - Skyzoo | Online Rap Magazine | US and Canadian Underground Hip Hop and Soul". Mvremix.com. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Skyzoo To Drop Corner Store Classic-Remix Mixtape", Hip Hop DX, April 7, 2008, Cheri Media Group
- Stolich, Danielle (July 24, 2007). "Skyzoo: Corner Store Classic Mixtape". AllHipHop. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- "‘Corner Store Classic’". XXL. September 12, 2007. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- 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 Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- AllMusic review of The Salvation
- XXL review of The Salvation
- "Skyzoo & Illmind to Release Collab Album". 2dopeboyz.com. 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- Abstract by Andrew Martin. "Album Review: Illmind, Skyzoo - Live From the Tape Deck | Prefix". Prefixmag.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
- "A Dream Deferred - Skyzoo". Metacritic. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- Ortiz, Edwin (December 4, 2013). "Skyzoo & Antman Wonder Release "An Ode to Reasonable Doubt" EP on Jay Z's Birthday". Complex. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- "Skyzoo – An Ode To Reasonable Doubt [EP Stream]". Okayplayer. December 2013. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- Smith, Bruce (December 17, 2013). "Skyzoo & Antman Wonder - An Ode To Reasonable Doubt (Mixtape Review)". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- Krastz, Roger (June 25, 2015). "Skyzoo Speaks to the Youth on ‘Music For My Friends’". XXL. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- Maxwell, Ryan (June 24, 2015). "Skyzoo ft Westside Gunn – Luxury". hhkmag.com. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- Johnsen, Homer (June 23, 2015). "Skyzoo - Music For My Friends". hiphopdx.com. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- "Skyzoo interview", Bhagat Vinyl, 2015-05-22
- "Off the Radar: Skyzoo", The Source, October 2007
- [dead link]
- "Skyzoo on Twitter: "RT @LIRIXIZNICE: Need a new @Skyzoo solo project!! - "Music For My Friends", my 3rd solo album, summer 2015"". Twitter.com. 2014-09-17. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "MVRemix Interviews - Skyzoo | Online Rap Magazine | US and Canadian Underground Hip Hop and Soul - exclusive interviews, reviews, articles". Mvremix.com. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Twitter". Mobile.twitter.com. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Skyzoo & Antman Wonder Pay Homage to Jay Z On “An Ode to Reasonable Doubt”". 2DOPEBOYZ.com. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Ghetto Celebrity: The Mixtape by Skyzoo (Compilation, Hip Hop): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list". Rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "> Версия для печати > Skyzoo - The City's Favorite: The Mixtape". Respecta.net. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "The Lost Tapes: Skyzoo - "Corner Store Classic" [Revisited]". Claaa7.blogspot.com. 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Skyzoo – The Great Debater (Mixtape)". 2DOPEBOYZ.com. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "iTunes - Music - The Great Debater Revisited (Deluxe Edition) by Skyzoo". Itunes.apple.com. 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Mixtape: Skyzoo – Theo Vs. J.J. (Dreams Vs. Reality)". Xclusiveszone.net. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Penny Freestyle Series part 2 Archives | 7th Boro: Hip Hop City". 7thboro.com. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Skyzoo â€“ Band Practice Pt. 4 â€œTicker Tape Parade" Okayplayer". Okayplayer.com. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Skyzoo - Tomorrow Morning EP (Mixtape)". Ambrosiaforheads.com. 2014-02-15. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
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