Ray Pearson
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Ray Pearson

The Bronx, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | SELF

The Bronx, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2002
Solo Hip Hop Hip Hop

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"Union City rapper gets lyrically 'Taktikal' in his music, inspired by his brother and Eminem"

February 14, 2012

Union City rapper Ray Pearson (formerly known as Taktikal) says he's all about the lyrics.

"I just think, 'What's the hottest thing I can possibly say?'" said Taktikal. "Like a punch line or a metaphor -- for example, looking at red, what can I say with the color red to make somebody say, 'Wow!'"

The 23-year-old, who was born Raymond Pearson in the Bronx, said he uses these metaphors to relate personal experiences.

"I rap in the moment about whatever I'm going through," he said. "If I'm going through a bad situation, I'm forced to write about it. That's the only way I can get over situations, by writing about them."

He said he was inspired by his 25-year-old brother and fellow rapper Martin, better known as Mello, as well as Grammy- and Oscar-winning hip-hop artist Eminem.

"I've been rapping since I was 12 years old after listening to my brother do it," he said. "I figured, 'I'll just play around and write something.' It wasn't until I heard Eminem's first album (The Slim Shady LP) -- that's what really inspired me to do music."

He said he was blown away by Eminem's lyrics and strives to emulate the rapper's brutally honest poetry.

Ray Pearson (formerly known as Taktikal) said his upcoming mix tape will include pictures "painted" with metaphors and will focus on his personal experiences, including a failed relationship that went sour and left him depressed.

"Everybody goes through these things but nobody really has the heart to talk about it," said Ray Pearson (formerly known as Taktikal). "But it makes it easier for me because when I do, someone stands up and says, 'Thank you.'" - Summer Dawn Hortillosa for The Jersey Journal


"‘A disgrace to your speakers’ UC rapper hopes to rise to the top with heated lyrics Read more: Hudson Reporter - ‘A disgrace to your speakers’ UC rapper hopes to rise to top with heated lyrics"

Jul 11, 2010

Though he bills himself as “a disgrace to your speakers” in one song, local rapper “Ray Pearson (formerly known as Taktikal),” is a lot more graceful than a first glance would lead the audience to believe.

While he grew up in a rough and tumble world in the Bronx and later in Union City, Ray Pearson remained on the outside of the mayhem, watching and writing.

“I don’t need to be a riot to gain somebody’s attention,” he said in an interview last week. “Being humble will gain more attention.”
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“I want to be able to drop my own jaw.” – Ray Pearson (formerly known as Taktikal)
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Pearson moved to Union City when he was 9 and spent most of his school days from the fourth grade until he graduated from Union Hill High School in 2006 battling others with his raps.

Rhyme runs in Ray Pearson’s family. His brother, “Mello,” also raps, and his father, Martin Pearson, once known as “The Grand Wizard Kid C,” worked with famed DJ Afrika Bambaataa.

The 21-year-old spends his days delivering liquor for a company in Kearny, but as he rides in the passenger seat he writes lyrics for his first album, “Kaged Animal.”

Crafted to perfection

Influenced by controversial lyricist Eminem and Puerto Rican rapper Big Pun, Ray Pearson (also of Puerto Rican descent) has combined characteristics from both men to create his individual style.

Ray uses his own personal experiences, as well as those of close family and friends, to create his rhymes.

Though he and his own father have a close relationship, he took on the persona of his cousin in “Left me 4 dead” to speak about fathers abandoning children. He raps, “How do you forget me? You dead beat dad… I hope you know this pain doesn’t heal.”

But unlike some rappers who boast about being able to freestyle off the top of their heads, or write a song in a few hours, Ray is happy to take a few weeks to finish just one song.

“I like to perfect and craft,” he said. “I want to be able to drop my own jaw.”

Taking on women’s issues

Ray Pearson said that one single event during his teenage years completely changed the person he is today and even influenced his writing.

“When I was in high school I had gotten my ex-girlfriend pregnant,” he said. “She got an abortion – that has been a big part of who I am today.”

Though he wrote about it immediately after the incident, it wasn’t until years later that communicating about it through his music actually began to soothe him.

But when his 16-year old sister gave birth recently, Ray Pearson said it brought up many old feelings again, so he wrote the song, “The more I talk” relating his anger and lack of control over both situations.

As for the prolific use of slang words often used in rap lyrics towards women, Pearson said that’s not for him.

“The only b**ch I’m gonna refer to is a dude,” he said. “I’m not gonna refer to a female like that, cause I have a lot of respect for women.”

Writing from the ‘real world’

While some of his songs are emotional, gut wrenching portrayals of life’s trials, others are drenched in cursing, violence, and negative vibes – a quality not uncommon in rap, and one that is frequently criticized by older and younger generations alike. But Pearson claims it is all part of the same package: the portrayal of what’s happening in the real world.

“It needs to be done,” said Ray Pearson. “If you have 20 people talking about the same thing (like jewelry and fashion), to me that’s not real. For me to talk about what I’ve seen, it’s more important than a piece of jewelry.”

Ray said his hopes at this point are to get signed, continue to show hunger, and not give away too much of himself too soon.

“It’s almost like a tease,” he said. “If you give somebody a little bit of information they become more interested in what you’re doing. If you give too much personal stuff you’re not gonna have anything else to write about.” - Lana Rose Diaz For The Hudson Reporter


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Bio

Born in the Bronx and raised on the other side of the Hudson River, Ray Pearson has been a fan of Hip Hop for as long as he can remember from his neighborhood block parties to seeing other kids walk around with mini radios playing "Ready To Die" by the Notorious B.I.G. With his father being a rapper during his teen years known as The Grand Wizard Kid C, music would become apart of Ray Pearson's life down the road.

With influences such as Eminem, Big Pun, Jay Z, Cuban Link & his older brother Mello, Ray would apply every one of their styles in his music to better him self while becoming his own artist. Watching his older brother pursue his career, Ray stepped away from that shadow and began to solidify his own stance as he took advantage of his skill when he started battling other local rappers in school during gym class and lunch to get his name ranked higher in High School & locally.

From battling his way up the ranks to showing up to venues early to avoid being I.D'd by security, it was never easy for Ray Pearson. He would work with numerous people along the way and start projects but all folded due to being pushed to the side leaving Ray to feel he wasn't being taken serious as an artist. 

In 2015 Ray was recognized for his consistent grind as he won the 2015 "Artist On The Rize" award for the Hip Hop Junky Awards Show. Wrapping up his recording in 2016 Ray released his highly antincipated project "Beast Un-Kaged" where it would quickly pick up nominations for the 2016 Hip Hop Junky Awards show. Ray managed to win the 2016 "Verse of the year" for "I Can", the 2016 "Most Underrated" award & the 2016 "Album of the year" for "Beast Un-Kaged". 

Despite everything Ray has gone through even having a failed independent deal between 2007 & 2010, he continues to grind and work hard towards his goals. Understanding the change in todays music Ray looks to show that the underdogs can still become a success.

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