Released on New Years Day (January 1), Burn Outz, which is produced entirely by Grammy-nominated producer Quelle Chris, is believed to be the last full project’s worth of material by Tame — and it almost didn’t see the light of day.
Speaking to HipHopDX ahead of the EP’s release, Rah explained that work on the eight-track project originally began back in 2015 and that it was actually supposed to be her album.
“I was going to do a project with Quelle,” she told DX, “and then I was having a conversation with Zee and I learned that he and Tame were trying to put something together. And I was like, ‘You know what, I have a guy with the craziest, most unorthodox beats ever.’I just thought it would be a perfect marriage to put these beats with them.
“So we went to the studio, we had a session and the very first song that they recorded was called ‘Practice.’ It was actually one of my beats and I said, ‘You know what, let me hear what you sound like on this,’ and they murdered that beat so crazy. Then I hit Quelle like, ‘Yo, let’s postpone our stuff. I want to lend these beads to Zee and Tame, they’ve got a nice rhythm together; I think you’ll be genuinely pleased.’”
According to Rah Digga, Young Zee — her ex-partner and Outsidaz groupmate with whom she shares daughter Sativa — and Tame One knocked out the EP in less than a week. However, it took almost nine years to come out due to the hard drive used to record it being damaged beyond repair.
“We went through so much with this project,” the First Lady of Flipmode Squad admitted. “It was on a hard drive that got damaged, and for years and years and years Tame was cussing me out on social media trying to get copies of it.”
Between then and the eventual release of Burn Outz — the title of which is a play on the name of Young Zee’s group Outsidaz as well his and Tame’s marijuana use during the EP’s creation — “a lot of stuff happened,” Rah said, reflecting on Young Zee’s stint in prison for gun charges and the death of Tame One in November 2022.
“[The EP] was pretty much dead in the water and then a miraculous thing happened. I moved and I was going through closets, storage and hard drives — and luckily for me, I’m one of those people that keeps backups of the backups of the backups — and on one of those drives I happened to find the songs. The stems are still forever gone but we did what we could with the mp3s.”
Although they “lost some sessions” Rah Digga and the team were able to salvage the best of them. “There was enough to make a solid EP,” she said, adding that her executive producer credit came because she “pioneered” its creation.
“It sounds like some hardcore, classic Jersey MC shit with punchlines for days, the “Imperial” hitmaker said of the EP’s sound. “I think Zee and Tame bring the best out of each other. It’s going to be a fun listen for the old school Hip Hop lovers that like debating who bested who on the record and appreciate cutthroat punchlines.”
She added: “They’re definitely rapping their asses off, and I was definitely proud to take the helm with it now that this will probably be some of the last unrelated material that we’ll get from Tame One; so I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Prior to putting the project out, Rah Digga reached out to Tame One’s Artifacts groupmate El Da Sensai and was granted his blessing to move forward with Burn Outz.
“I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t stepping on anything that he was trying to do,” she said, “because we have to strategically put this stuff out, and since it’s some of his last material. So I have El’s blessing and I don’t think there’s anything else in El’s arsenal, in the Artifacts arsenal.
“[Tame] was an active MC doing stuff with people all the time; so hopefully someone somewhere has a dope Tame verse that they’re sitting on, but I know I probably have one of the last full projects he recorded.”
It was actually Rah Digga who broke the news of Tame One’s death. Taking to Instagram at the time, she wrote: “I usually don’t race to the internet to post news like this when I’m in the middle of feeling it…but we gonna give this Jersey legend his muthafuckin flowers!!”
Speaking on his importance to Hip Hop, Rah told DX that she believes the Jersey rapper is one of the culture’s “unsung heroes.”
“He’s definitely a Jersey legend,” she asserted. “When you mention some of the great artists that come from Jersey, you have to include Artifacts, they definitely have Hip Hop classics that are cemented in Hip Hop. I think oftentimes Tame got a bad rap just based on a lot of personal choices and stuff that he made, but one thing’s for certain and two things for sure, his lyrical ability is undeniable.
“I know that if certain things in his life would have went differently, he probably could have been even bigger than he was — than he is. But Tame is definitely a Jersey great and he needs to be respected and remembered as such.”
She went on: “I just wish he was here. He was so mad at me for so long, I think he thought I was purposely withholding or something. I was like, ‘Dude, I swear I can’t do anything with this drive.’ But we made peace before he passed. I just wish I would have moved and found this drive before he passed.”
Rah also revealed that she’s “completely relinquishing” all of her executive producer splits to Tame One’s mother. “I’m not making a penny from the project, it’s going to Zee and [Tame’s] mother — as well as the proper splits. But I’m relinquishing any of my profit to his mom.”
Asked if she has plans to executive produce any other projects in the future, Rah Digga said it’s likely, especially since she now, after years of fighting it, believes helping artists achieve their potential might actually be her calling.
“I definitely have a knack for figuring out who’s dope and who needs to go on what beat,” she told DX. “I help a lot of people arrange records and stuff. So it’s something that I’m very good at and for the longest people have been saying to me: ‘Oh, you should A&R. Oh, you should manage. Oh, you should start a label.’ But I personally never wanted the headache or the responsibility.”
She continued: “I know I’m a lazy fucker, and I would just hate for someone else’s livelihood to be left in my hands like that. I never really wanted that responsibility. But as time goes on, I can’t stay in one lane forever. I think I might be doing myself a disservice or ignoring my calling because I’m just really good at putting that fire under people and getting them to create stuff they probably didn’t even realise they had in them.”
Burn Outz is available to purchase exclusively through Young Zee’s official website — which you can visit here — with plans to add it to streaming at a later date. You can check out the video for the EP’s first single “O.M.G” above.
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