Let's Cheat - featuring Lloyd
"You don't want none of me."
That's not only the theme of one of the songs on his debut cd, but it's also the confident, hater-deflecting attitude that Tango Redd has about his music in general.
The 18-year-old golden child of Atlanta's bulging rap community is the latest to step up to the mic and put it down for the dirty south, spitting rhyme and reason born out of his own life experiences as well as the experiences of those around him.
"I was born to do this," says Tango whose age hadn't even reached double digits when he wrote his first rhyme. "From the age of eight, I've been in the studio. At the age of nine, I made my first song. It's just been that ever since. I feel I'm born to do it." Describing his music as having "a southern feel with universal appeal," Tango says he stays true to his southern roots without restricting his sound to the south.
"I have a lotta A-Town slang but my style is different because I'm a versatile person. I try to reach the world through my music, not just one region. I feel I'm creating my own sound and style different from everyone else. When you see me you know that I'm a little bit different – not only my sound, but my look as well," he says, referencing his golden-colored dred locs. "I want to reach the world with my music and have everyone enjoy it. That's what's going to make it special."
And with an out-of-the-box successful single – the David Banner-produced "Wobble & Shake It" featuring Bonecrusher– it's evident that fans are already finding something special about Tango Redd as evidenced by his impressive spin count at urban radio and his presence on BET's 106 & Park countdown.
"Who I Be," which Tango describes as his formal "introduction" to the world, is a song that "tells people who I am and what I'm all about. "This song is basically telling people that I'm Tango. I ain't going nowhere. I'm learning right now, I'm new in the game but I'm definitely here to stay." On "None of Me" Tango confidently solidifies his newly-claimed spot in the game. "I'm letting everyone know that I have arrived and I'm basically telling people 'you don't want none of me.' I ain't looking for beef but at the same time I'm never backing down. Whether you're another rapper or just an average cat, you don't want none of me." Tango demonstrates his "streets smarts" on "Too Tricky," a song he describes as one part club joint/one part street anthem. "I think everybody has done the things that I talk about in this song. It's something everybody can relate to." Sticking with the reality music theme, "So Ghetto" takes us on a lyrical tour through the 'hood. "This is one of my favorites because this is going to let people know that just because we dress a certain way or we talk a certain way that doesn't mean we're not smart; it doesn't mean that things in the ghetto are always bad."
Producers checking in on Tango's debut set are Bangladesh (Ludacris, 8Ball & MJG), Cream Team, Mixzo, Juicy J and Mr. DJ (Outkast). Growing up in the ATL, Tango says he's 'seen it all." "I grew up middle class. I wouldn't say I was poor but we weren't rich either. I came from the streets." Tango, who never fails to credit his grandmother for her love and encouragement, says he didn't always follow the straight and narrow. He admits to "getting his hands dirty." "It has a lot to do with the people that I grew up with," he offers. "Sometimes the people you grow up with tend to lead you astray. I was on the streets doing my thing. I've seen a lotta things on the streets. Everything that I've talked about, I've lived it or I've seen it. I just try to put it out there to let the public know what actually goes on." He continues, "For me to be this young I've seen a lotta things. I've seen people get shot, get killed, right in front of my eyes. A lot of that pain, a lot of that frustration that I see another person go through I try to put it on paper. I just try to keep it real."■■
It wasn't long before young Tango realized that the realities of his life, though they made great fodder for rap songs, were bound to be his undoing sooner or later. "At some point you have to step up and start being a man and start making manly decisions. That makes you the person you are. I chose to leave the streets because a lot of my partners were getting killed or going to jail and I didn't wanna end up like them. I took that lesson and I learned from it. That has a lot to do with the person that I've become today. The streets have actually taught me a lot." If anything truly good came out of Tango's 'pain' and 'frustration' it is indeed the realness that it allows him to inject into his music and convey to his listeners. It's that realness that makes Tango Redd a true contender in the competitive rap music game. "I feel I'm a lotta competition for other rappers," he says without the slightest hint of modesty. "When you're in the game and you have longevity and you don't worry about what another artist is doing, that's what makes you a better person and that's how I am. I'm not really worried about being the next anybody. I just wanna be the best Tango. I feel like I had to go through some downfalls to get to where I'm at now but I definitely love it. I can definitely see myself doing this for the next five or ten years."