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An Interview With TUX

TUX at their first show at Orlando's last year
TUX is a duo made up of Mike C and Tafi, two friends who have known each for other quite some time. They only began rapping together in their junior year at Olathe East High School (roughly three years ago). The two have made big steps since they started. Their booze-induced, party-fueling hip-hop has received thousands of listens on SoundCloud, they've performed multiple shows in Lawrence and Johnson County, they came out on top in a rap beef, and are set to release their first full mixtape early next month. Before all of the madness that ensues, we wanted you to get to know them.

How have you two evolved over the last three years?

Mike C: In the beginning of our musical partnership we were both trying to find our style and get comfortable in that style. Because of this we tended to make the music people would expect to hear. Now though we are constantly learning and evolving. We have found our style and are making our own music that can't be compared by style or genre to anything that we used to make in the beginning.

Why did you and Mike choose to work as a duo? Do you each have different responsibilities?
MC: I actually began making music by myself and Tafi came later. I believed he had the potential and I was right. Also, I thought it would be better to take on this musical trek with a partner; imagine climbing Mount Everest alone.

What is the normal process of making a TUX song? Instrumental to recording to release.
MC: Once we choose the best beat we want to work on we just try different verses, experiment with climactic drops and attention grabbing choruses, utilizing both Tafi and I's unique vocals all the while. After the rough [version] is done, it's revision, mix, release.

Do you see each other less since you guys graduated?
MC: I see Tafi less but we still get it lit. At first Tafi would get mad at me because I was partying too much but one day he really beat the shit out of me and then I was like, "Fuck I need step my game back up," and it was all work after that.

Which modern rappers do you admire the most and why?
MC: Mac Miller, Logic, Dylan Brady, Night Lovell, Flatbush Zombies, and Kendrick Lamar are all musical geniuses. We could go on for days because every new artist can influence us to try to make something different.

Do you prefer a studio atmosphere or a live one?
MC: We love the studio. We can craft the tracks into what we hear in our heads and there's nothing more satisfying than when it comes out right. Taking that track to a live setting is a whole other story. It's a rush. The crowd has the power to change the feel of the song. Boring or hype, we still stay hype.

What sets you apart from other local rap acts?
MC: As far as I'm concerned, there are no other local rap acts. Listen to our music and then listen to theirs. I'm just being honest.
Mike C

Hottest bar you've spit so far?
Tafi: Couldn't say.

What was your mindset going into "Incunabula" versus your old material?
MC: The funny thing is I have so many verses and songs in my archives that I wouldn't have to write anything new if I didn't want to. In fact, some of the most skilled verses I've written were created years ago and will make appearances on the "Incunabula" project.

T: I wanted to show everyone we are serious about what we do. High school is what got us started but is nothing compared to what we are now. High school was really the first year of me making music so I wouldn't say it was that good, to be honest. But this project will show how far we've come.

Which song on the new project is your favorite and what makes it special?
MC: "Emerald City" [because of] the literary allusion and subliminal meaning in the name, as well as the unique style. It makes up an amazing musical experience.

Was the "Life Of Luxury" video shoot as crazy as it looked?
MC: Funny story. We had all these people come to the shoot with the idea of keeping it clean with red solo cups and having fake drugs and alcohol, although the fans were nervous to be on camera. As a solution I had my friend and the homeowners take me to the liquor store to buy booze in exchange for cooperation from the fans. The result was exactly what I had planned, a full on rager! We then repeated the process at another location. So yes, in fact, we actually had to edit out a lot of footage that was too explicit for YouTube including hard drugs and nudity.

I understand you worked with a producer who stole his music from others online. What was your first thought after finding out?
T: I was disappointed in that man's business ethic. And the fact that he went around telling everyone the beats were his! The nigga didn't even know what a compressor was.

Tell us about your feud with Kid Noah. Who won there?
MC: There was no feud, Kid Noah was a joke and he knew it. If you need a winner it would be us I suppose. Where is his fan base? Where are his views?

Did Tafi ever get the girl from "Mi Amor?"
MC: Tafi never actually told me who the song was about. I can only assume it was about Greg Hodges.

Spill all the details you can on "Incunabula" and the solo projects.
MC: We've  placed our solo projects aside in order to work on "Incunabula", although I can say that my solo project is mostly about my deceased friend and first engineer James Franklin and the struggle he faced with depression as well as how it affected me and my music. Tafi is mostly focused on making a tape that can make people groove and feel happy about themselves. Although he wants touch the fact about how people always talk about wanting certain things but never have the motivation to go and get them. All I will say of "Incunabula" is it will be released on my birthday February 9th. We've worked extremely hard on the tape and it's our first one. We hope people love it as much as we do.

If you and Mike were an NBA duo who would you be?
MC: Micheal Jordan and Scottie Pippen, you already know.

Follow TUX on Twitter and SoundCloud and get ready for "Incunabula" on February 9th, 2016

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