There was a confident air about Tasia White as she walked in the room, standing at a little more than 5 and a half feet tall. Her eyes drifted from face to face around the room, and every move seemed part of an orchestrated sway. Her demeanor was of a person who had come to find herself, not necessarily easily, and through honing and crafting a persona
to build upon — one she would eventually come to call Lady Taij, a brash, unapologetic rapper with a little grit and lot of intellect.
Lady Taij was born years ago, when White was eight years old.
“I found my passion for music when I was eight. I’ve always loved poetry and once introduced to hip-hop, I automatically fell in love,” she says. “I was dealing with a lot at home during that time, and for me, it was the perfect way to express myself.”
She became captivated with all kinds of artists, and finds inspiration from modern lyricists such as J. Cole, Kanye West and Rapsody.
“I love J. Cole because it’s easy to connect with him. His music is authentic and I feel that he is overlooked and under-appreciated at times,” she says. “I love Kanye because he does not care about what anyone thinks about him. He says whatever he wants to say no matter how ridiculous it may be.”
A primary source of inspiration for her music is another artist, by the name of Rapsody, who she describes as a “strong, female underground artist who is lyrically amazing and is very true to herself.”
These various influences resonate deeply with White, and became a source of inspiration for her artist persona, Lady Taij. She prides herself in remaining true to her own identity and speaking and rapping about things she deeply cares about. Being someone who identifies as LGBT, this is an identifiable characteristic of her identity and a driving force behind her music.
“I feel it’s harder for me because I’m not quite what they are used to,” she says. “I have had promoters tell me that I should rap about ‘gay things’ or ‘girls.’ in reality, if I did, then I wouldn’t be true to myself. With being a lesbian artist and the way the word is currently changing in the way it identifies with the LBGT community, in time, I feel it will be more of an advantage than a disadvantage.”
Lady Taij has since become a response that White uses to address how she perceives those around her, and the world in which she lived.
“I really want to inspire those around me,” she says. “That’s my goal. If my music can inspire and touch people the way that I’ve been inspired and touched by others’ music, then I can truly feel that I’ve succeeded.”
Several years have passed since the day she decided to pursue her love for music, and despite the time that’s elapsed, White’s passion, or the person she is when performing it, hasn’t changed. If anything, it’s empowered her in other areas of her life and helped cultivate her into a model for others wishing to do the same.
Despite having lyrics that resonate with individuals like her, White also prides herself in being versatile and able to relate to everyone as well.
“More than anything, my music is unique,” she says. “There’s something there for everyone and versatility is the best part about it all.”
As White would come to find, Lady Taij began speaking to a larger audience than many other artists are able to muster,
and with a more profound message — individual empowerment and comfort with oneself. Soon, she found herself being approached after shows and congratulated. Many times, fans would come to her and tell her they loved what she was doing, or that she had helped them address the questions they had about themselves.
Lady Taij has been sweeping the area, gathering a following and making her way to bars and festivals nearby. Recently, she participated in the Shenandoah Pride Festival in Harrisonburg and has also performed in other pride festivals nearby. One of her primary focuses is giving a sense of depth to the music industry — one she feels is sorely lacking in the category.
“The fact that real music isn’t quite as appealing to people as dance, trap and pop music is something I want to change,” she says. “It seems you have to make something catchy to gain people’s attention first, before you can drop knowledge or truth.”
White has begun forming the platform through which her music would develop, and has worked with several notable artists in the area such as DJ Ryan Clark and 2 the People 4 the People.
Contributing to a music scene on the rise, White’s persona, Lady Taij, has also helped to develop an appreciation for an often under-represented group in the genre. Through her powerful lyrics and genuine approach, she’s also cultivated a following who respects her take on the music.
White also values the open atmosphere that’s growing within the hip-hop scene in Harrisonburg and, as evident by her social media profiles and campaigns, is proud to have taken part in the various outlets through which this growth has occurred. While she exudes charisma and fun on the stage, she admits that her inspiration comes from more serious situations and means.
“I’ve realized that over the years, I work best under pressure,” she says. “I really feed off of those people that don’t think I’m going to be a rapper or do well, because I’m a female in the industry. I work well when new producers ask me to write and record on-spot, and most of all, I love performing in front of large crowds of people that don’t know me and really having the opportunity to blow their minds.”
With a surge of attention and admiration comes a demand for more work, which White has been happy to meet.
Several shows behind her, she constantly looks towards new ones and ways that she can continue to innovate and push the boundaries of a genre which is notorious for creativity. What started as a personal outlet has developed into an unprecedented love for an art form and a means to approach an industry that could benefit from more of Lady Taij and individuals like her.