The moniker stands for “Totally Against the Grain.” While many of his contemporaries are busy participating in unsavory activities, like, say, chasing paper, T.A.G. is more concerned with with building up his community and promoting peace and love.
“I’m passionate about being the change I want to see in the world,” he says. “Negative is not something that I do.”
He uses his music as a vehicle to promote positive vibes and make a difference in his community. T.A.G. released his first album, On Dat Swing, in March 2012. The title track encourages others to stay positive through life’s struggles.
“I get Facebook messages saying, ‘Hey I’m listening to your CD, and it’s really helping me’,” Garrett says. “I’m writing songs and they’re connecting with people.” He says fans have told him his music has gotten them through depression and even suicidal feelings.
Garrett grew up listening to hip-hop. He says when he was younger he got into Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. He also cites Nelly, Eminem and “anybody on MTV, even though I wasn’t allowed to listen to it.”
“I like to listen to what inspires me,” he says. “With rap you can say so much in so little time. I felt like I had a lot to say, and hip-hop gave me the ability to do that.”
Garrett says listening to other musicians is part of his creative process. He works with other local artists to produce the beats for his songs and refine his sound. Billy Frisbie, aka 3CK, acts as a producer and engineer during the recording process. “He helps me improve the songs as they’re being recorded,” Garrett says.
Alex Anderson, aka Excalibar, has been Garrett’s mentor for the last couple of years. “He helps me write and get my point across,” says Garrett. T.A.G.’s lyrics are, “an emotional response to what’s happening around me. When I feel strongly about something I sit and listen to music and write whatever comes out,” he says.
In Garrett’s case, a lot comes out. It’s been just over a year since On Dat Swing, and T.A.G. has already put out another album. One Love was released locally on May 26 and is slated for national release on July 30.
“Every single year, I want to release an album,” he says. T.A.G. signed with Tate Music Group, a faith-based record label out of Oklahoma, in February. With the support of a label and plenty of inspiration, Garrett hopes to be very productive in the future.
While Garrett says there’s already another T.A.G. album in the works, his aspirations are not confined to just music. He also runs a charity organization called Tag Generation. He says he started it in 2008, took a break from it, and got back on board last year.
“I want to show love to people,” he says. Last December he gave away free winter clothes and meals, and hosted a benefit show. This year he’s planning a benefit concert and dinner to raise money for families that have fallen on hard times.
So Garrett is a rapper and philanthropist. He’s also a family man. His wife, Tirzah, is his manager, and they have three young children. “They’re a joy to be around,” he says. Maybe it’s these positive elements – family and friends – that makes T.A.G. stand out from hip-hop’s sea of negativity.
“I just live life. Life has a way of bringing songs out of you – of giving you something to say.”
T.A.G. will be at Courthouse Coffee on Frontage Rd. in Warsaw on Saturday, July 27 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. He’ll also be performing at the Lamb Jam festival in Linton, Ind., on Aug. 3. On Aug. 24, he’ll be supporting fellow rapper InClyne for his album release party.