Kevin Taylor, aka Slimchance, beat the odds that were stacked against him to follow his dreams of becoming a rapper. What makes this even more special is his service to the community that raised him.
Taylor hails from South Jamaica and has seen many hardships but was able to pull himself together and establish himself as a rap artist right out of NYC’s five boroughs. His drive to succeed is even greater due to his harsh background where issues of a broken home, drug addiction, academic struggles and neglect came into play.
As a child alongside his older brother, he had to deal with many difficulties due to his mother’s drug addiction, one of which was his little brother, who, unfortunately passed away 24 hours after his birth due to drugs in his system.
Due to his now deceased mother’s negligence because of drugs he was sent to a group home in upstate New York. It was then that his dad tried to get custody of him and his brother. His Aunt Mary (dad’s sister) gained custody of him instead. Due to his unstable home life, Taylor suffered academically; however, he does remember being a very good writer in elementary school.
Taylor attended Andrew Jackson High School, which has now been renamed Campus Magnet High School. His rhyming skills and creative stories prepped him well for his music career. Taylor remembers buying a Radio Shack recorder, placing it next to the speaker, rapping the words of a song and trying to sync the words to the beat.
A memory that predicted the life he lives today.
The song “Sara Taylor (Mommy)” from his album “Diary of An Unknown Hustler” tells the story of his life growing up in his Jamaica neighborhood in the 1980s and seeing his mom on drugs. The following lyrics depict his feelings towards his mother and how he feels about the situation he grew up in: “I walked in and seen sh*t I shouldn’t have seen it” and “It’s been a long time, 19 years damn, not a hug, not a kiss, can’t hold hands.” By listening to the song, you can sense some of the anger as well as sadness that Taylor has towards his mother.
It has been a long road musically for Slimchance. So far he has invested 10 years of life into this craft.
Slimchance was with Madoff Records but split due to creative differences. He says the split from the record company came because the “support wasn’t there.” In his opinion, “the company’s knowledge of promoting artists was not there yet; and things were not happening as fast as I thought.”
Slimchance self-promotes using various music websites such as DatPiff and Reverb nation (free music downloading sites) and Itunes Amazon and Rhapsody to share his music.
By placing his music on these websites, his songs received over 54,000 digital downloads. Slimchance’s musical audience mostly consists of 16-year-olds and up. As his musical audience grows, Taylor is being noticed by a Tequila company based out of the West Coast by the name of Oro de Jalisco. According to Slimchance, the company is looking to make him the face of their product on the East Coast.
So far, Slimchance has a total of nine albums with his 10th album “Still Made It,” which is set to be available on Sept. 7. This album is about the personal struggles he had to deal with in his life and how he still made it. These struggles made his dream seem unattainable at times but this album is proof that any dream you have you can achieve no matter what.
“When you expect too much out of something and it doesn’t turn out the way you want, it gets me discouraged. I do it for the people that support me,” says Taylor.
Slimchance wears many hats in this life, besides being involved in music; he has his own apparel line called SC Apparel, a full-time job, and his own music company called SC Music Group. “I live off my phone,” says Slimchance with a slight laugh.
Aside from music and clothing, Slimchance is also very active in his community, making generous donations from his own checking and savings accounts, which goes toward benefiting youth in Queens. He also donates a portion of what he receives from his digital downloads, which also goes towards the youth. A few years ago, he even made a track for the Haiti Relief Fund. The song sold for 99 cents and the proceeds went to help the people in Haiti after an earthquake devastated the country.
Knowing how hard it was to grow up as he did, Taylor wants to make sure the youth in his community have it a bit easier because this is one guy who knows some of life’s toughest challenges.
“I do know what it’s like to eat out of garbage cans, sleep in a homeless shelter, and to find my mom with a dope needle in her arm,” says Taylor.