Tay Keith Recalls Making $150 for His First Beat Check

Tay Keith, charge these artists more.
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Tay Keith, 2018

Memphis' hip-hop takeover is 25 years in the making. In large part, we have Tay Keith to thank for making mainstream rap hip to the banging sound for which Memphis is best known. With massive hits produced for Drake, BlocBoy JBTravis Scott, and rising trap stars Gunna and Lil Baby, we have to imagine that Keith’s rate is now sky-high.

In a new episode of the Rap Radar Podcast, though, we discover that a Tay Keith beat was once cheaper than a pair of Apple AirPods. Prior to linking up with Drake and becoming one of the most sought-after producers on the market, Tay Keith was uploading type beats to YouTube for modest prices.

“150 dollars,” Tay Keith says, recalling his first beat check. “I was happy as fuck! I was like, 15, I'm like, 'Damn, it's free money.' That's how I looked at it: free money. 'Cause I looked at it like it's a hobby instead of, like, I'm finna make money off of it. So when it came, I was just, damn… I remember one time I had sold five beats for 250 dollars."

Luckily for Keith, his days of single-zero checks are far, far behind him. Now a multi-Platinum producer, we’d like to assume that five beats from Tay Keith are going for just a bit more than 250 dollars, and for good reason.

Earlier this year, Keith spoke with DJBooth about his career and the work it took for him to get to his present position. “I’ve put in thousands of hours, worked with hundreds of artists, linked up with so many producers, gone through so many laptops,” he said. “It’s really about the work you put in and what you’re willing to sacrifice.”

There you have it: you, too, can go from 150 dollar checks to Platinum plaques. All you need is hard work, a lot of laptops, raw talent… And, a Drake co-sign, and a Billboard No. 1 hit. Seems easy enough.

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