Tate Tucker Is Reinvigorating a New Generation of Pop-Rap

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Photo: Paris Helena 

Rapper and singer-songwriter Tate Tucker is inspired by the beloved beaches in his hometown of Los Angeles. His music is spirited and whimsical, fueled by the warm Southern California sun. Tucker refuses to conform to one specific genre and his debut EP 2019 Shangri LA is a testament to that unrestrained creativity. 

This latest project contains tracks both retrospective and hypnotic, a calming force for any chaotic surrounding. Tucker commented on what he wants listeners to take away from Shangri LA, sharing, 

"I hope when people put on the EP they can just close their eyes and breathe for a while. I want it to be sort of like a guided meditation, where they can come away calmer and recharged and inspired, with that creative well filled back up again."

Growing up with musical parents, Tucker was constantly listening to a wide array of records. As a child, Tucker would have intense asthma attacks and his family would play artists like James Taylor and Earth Wind & Fire to calm him down. Music became more than just a part of his childhood; it intertwined with his emotions, becoming personal to him at a very young age. He admits to pulling musical inspiration from everything like, from classical music to Wes Anderson movie scores.

Tucker made his 2019 debut with a beach-centric single titled "Breezy." The single is full of energetic verses and showcases an effortlessly catchy refrain. With a soulful spirit, the track is yet another lush example of Tucker's diversity in his artistry and varied approach to sun-soaked hip-hop and pop-rap. Tucker spoke on the inspiration behind "Breezy,"

"I remember Tim [Anderson (Billie Eilish, Banks)] just staring me and saying, 'Tate, you're so breezy. You just breeze through life.' - which, to me, is like the biggest compliment ever. It ended up turning into a song about living by the beach, about meditation, about swimming way out past your comfort zone."

Moving away after graduating high school, Tucker attended Georgetown University, which was nearly completely funded by scholarships, where he planned to pursue a career in politics. However, three days into his freshman year, Tucker was urged to sit in on a sociology of hip-hop class taught by Michael Eric Dyson, an idol of Tucker's father. Tucker thought he would just quietly observe the class until he was requested to freestyle for a guest lecturer– Lupe Fiasco. Tucker remembers that life-altering moment,

"I was so nervous and I rapped super-fast, but it was me rapping for my idol - the smartest rapper I've ever known. After that everything took a 180, and I never thought about pursuing anything in politics again."

However, things took a turn for the worst after he returned back to Los Angeles when his father was diagnosed with cancer. Desiring nothing more than to make his father proud, Tucker hustled day and night to create music that he could share with his family. Tucker was able to release his first single "Just Wanna" in 2016 where it charted on Spotify's Global Viral 50. That was one of the last moments Tucker was able to share with his dad before his passing, making it not only a successful debut single, but a magical time for Tucker and his family. 

After "Just Wanna," Tucker opened for artists like Big Sean and Post Malone, establishing himself as a determined and promising young rapper. With the combination of an inspiring background, refreshing sound, and overall rousing talent, Tucker might just have what it takes to pioneer a new era of pop-rap. 

Listen to Shangri LA below: 

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