Interview: Charleston Based Rapper R Dotta
Rashad “R Dotta” Taylor is a rapper hailing from Charleston, South Carolina. The 25-year-old is an exemplary lyricist that has been compared to those such as J. Cole and The Notorious B.I.G. dipped in a Geechie accent prevalent to the city of Charleston. Currently, R Dotta is working with Shack Deville on an EP entitled “F.Y.P.M.” and on his very own project to be released in 2019.
We connected with the talented emcee for an exclusive interview to discuss his recently released video “Top Notch” which features Shack Deville, and we get more insight into the rap music scene in Charleston for local talent, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with R Dotta, stream “Top Notch” on Spotify and connect with him on social media.
Salute to you on the release of your new single and video "Top Notch" with Shack Deville. How did you two connect to create the song and how did you come up with the treatment for the visuals?
Thank you, it’s much appreciated. Shack and I have been recording music together for about three years now. We decided to attack the game together. With “Top Notch” I just knew his voice and style would fit perfectly on it seeing how he’s heavily influenced by southern rap. Matching that with the rhyme cadence and lyrics I had prepared for Airborne’s beat….I knew it was outta here. In regards to the video we wanted to represent Charleston in it’s best light. South Carolina license plates used to say “Smiling faces, beautiful places”; we thought we’d embody that but keep it a lil street at the same time.
You've mentioned that artists like Nas, Jay-Z, Curren$y and J Cole have influenced your music throughout the years. Each of them has had sustained success and longevity for over ten years. How can you apply what you see from them to your own musical career?
Each of those artist have a cult like following and each of them are businessmen beyond rapping. That’s what’s important to me, the fans and the business. Fans want to see you grow and want to feel involved in your growth. We’ve grown with Nas from Illmatic to feel Life is Good. We felt the hunger in Reasonable Doubt and grew into better businessmen and women until now we finally have 4:44. And I could say the same about $pitta and Cole.
When someone hears a R Dotta song for the first time, what do you want them to take away from the experience?
THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! I feel like in today’s era it’s easy to get caught up in the mix, so I don’t compete with today’s era, I’m competing with the Top 5 dead or alive and everyone who’s truly a student of the game debate between maybe the same ten rappers for those top five spots. I’m tryna knock legends out the box.
Tell us about the rap music scene in Charleston. Would you say that locals are supportive of homegrown talent and is there a Charleston sound?
The Charleston music scene is split, you’ve got the hipsters, the trap rappers and the misfits. I think Shack and I don’t fit in either category but we get respect from each side. The locals are segregated the same as the rappers, they show love to what they relate to. The Charleston sound is so mixed; its identity, I personally feel like hasn’t been found yet. It’ll take that rapper from the city to blow up for everybody to come together to finally make that one true sound and identity.
Finish this sentence - "In 2019, R Dotta will be..."
On everyone’s radar, God willing. It’s all God, grinding and timing with me. Shack and I came to take the game over.