Internet Money keeps evolving.
What began as a loose collective of producers selling "type" beats on YouTube grew into a music industry powerhouse that helped break stars like Juice WRLD and Lil Tecca, racking up dozens of Billboard hits and platinum plaques in the process.
The majority of Internet Money's members live together in a Los Angeles house, and they throw around words like "family" and "brothers" when they talk about each other. The collective's founder, Taz Taylor, speaks proudly about their track record of plucking artists from relative obscurity and putting in the time to develop them into stars who put up ungodly streaming numbers. Meanwhile, Internet Money producer Nick Mira has become a juggernaut in his own right, earning credits on many of Juice WRLD's biggest hits, as well as placements with Trippie Redd, Post Malone, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Tecca, Polo G, and more.
Having accomplished many of their early goals, and recently partnering with Elliot Grainge's 10K Projects, Taz Taylor and the Internet Money team came up with a new challenge for themselves: make an album of their own.
Complex is happy to announce that on August 28, Internet Money will release their first album, B4 The Storm, via 10K Projects. It will feature some of rap's biggest artists, including Juice WRLD, Future, Gunna, Nav, Swae Lee, Trippie Redd, Lil Tecca, and more. The lead single, "Lemonade," dropped today.
We hopped on the phone with Taz Taylor and Nick Mira for a conversation about how the album came together, where the music industry is heading, the current state of the "type" beat game, Juice WRLD's legacy, and more. Continue for a first look at the album's tracklist and cover artwork, followed by the interview.
01. "Message" feat. Ty Fontaine
02. "Really Redd" feat. Trippie Redd, Lil Keed & Yung Nudy
03. "Lost Me" feat. Iann Dior, Lil Mosey & Lil Skies
04. "Right Now" feat. Cochise & TyFontaine
05. "Familiar" feat. The Hxliday
06. "JLo" feat. Lil Tecca
07. "Thrusting" feat. Swae Lee & Future
08. "Speak" feat. The Kid Laroi
09. "Blastoff" feat. Juice WRLD & Trippie Redd
10. "Take It Slow" feat. 24kGoldn & Ty Fontaine
11. "Somebody" feat. Lil Tecca & A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
12. "Giddy Up" feat. Wiz Khalifa & 24kGoldn
13. "Block" feat. Trippie Redd & Staysolidrocky
14. "Devastated" feat. Lil Spirit
15. "Let You Down" feat. TyFontaine & The Hxliday
16. "No Option" feat. Kevin Gates
17. "Lemonade" feat. Don Toliver, Gunna & Nav
For people who don't know, what is Internet Money?
Taz Taylor: It's a collective of producers and artists. It's also a management company and a label, and we have artists and producers signed to us. We develop artists that are signed to other labels, too. We broke Juice WRLD, Lil Tecca, Iann Dior, Trevor Daniel, and a bunch of other artists. We were the ones who kind of built their sounds and gave everybody their first hit records, then developed them throughout their careers.
When you started Internet Money, what did you bring to the industry that was missing?
Taz Taylor: Overall, we just brought more development. There are a lot of artists who are getting signed, but labels don't necessarily care about them. We take artists and build them up from nothing. We don't care how many followers they have, what they look like, or whatever. We're turning out all these different types of artists in different genres. Lil Tecca and Juice WRLD are not even the same type of artists. Same with Trevor Daniel. I think it's a real '90s way of doing it. Like, Dre and everybody used to be really be hands-on with music, and develop artists, and just craft records. I think we're bringing that back.
How has Internet Money evolved and changed since you started it?
Taz Taylor: When we first started it, we didn't even care about the music industry in general. We were all "type" beat producers, just selling drum kits and beats online. We never cared about what placements we were getting or anything like that. We got to the top of the beat-making game online, and it's like, "Well, we've got to go up from here, so what are we going to do?" Then I got a publishing deal and Nick got the XXXTentacion placement with "Fuck Love." Juice popped off. It was just one after another. We can't go a month now without having some crazy shit happen. We're working with the artists we've always wanted to work with. I just feel like the whole motive shifted, and everybody's focused on trying to build the next Interscope or the next Atlantic Records or the next Republic.
"We did the whole album in a month, top to bottom: features, big artists, beats, everything." - Taz Taylor
When did you decide you wanted to make an album?
Taz Taylor: We finalized our deal with 10K Projects in like August or September of last year, but we had already been talking about an album for a minute. I brought it up to Elliot [Grainge] that I wanted to drop songs as an artist under Internet Money—just my favorite artists working together and putting songs together, like some DJ Khaled type shit. He was very encouraging of it. He's like, "I love it. I think it's great." So I had the song that Tecca gave me, "Somebody." He's like, "Yo, I'll give you this record, but I just want A Boogie on it." So I went and got A Boogie on it. Then we put it out with the video and everything. It went on Billboard for the first three weeks. It's gold now. It's about to be platinum.
That started the conversation for an album. Everybody was just like, "All right, cool. What's next?" Then we tried out a couple of different records. We have a song on the album called "Lost Me," which was originally called "Kobe," with Lil Mosey, Iann Dior, and Skies. But some shit happened on the business side where we couldn't release that for a while. Then we've got the Juice WRLD and Trippie song that's on the album now. It's called "Blastoff." I think I got that on December 6 or so, and got the go-ahead to start fucking with it. Then the Juice thing happened, which put everything on hold for a while. Every time we started ramping up and getting ready to do an album, something would happen that would just throw it completely off course.
Then like two months ago, I was just waiting on somebody to give me the go to do an album, but it wasn't coming. I was just like, "You know what? Fuck this. I'm going to do an album." I gave myself the deadline of June 1 to turn it in. So we did the whole album in a month, top to bottom: features, big artists, beats, everything. We mixed and mastered the whole album at least 50 different times.
What was the process like actually collecting and recording all these songs?
Taz Taylor: The crazy thing that people are going to find out about this album is, a lot of these songs are throwaway songs that artists didn't want. They're songs I'm hearing and I'm like, "Yo, this is fucking crazy. Why don't you put this out?" And they're like, "I don't know, I just didn't really fuck with it." And I'm like, "Okay, well let me get this record." Then we go and we strip it. We take the Pro Tools session, and we take the AutoTune off the vocals. We change everything. We'll change the key. We'll change tempos. We'll change whatever. Then we'll just make a whole new record.
That's how a lot of the album was made. That's how we were able to get it done so quickly, in a month. We had the respect from a lot of artists, so they were comfortable with us playing around with their vocals on shit that they were never going to drop. Then it turned into some of their favorite songs. There were some songs where I was like, "We need to get this album done. I would really love to do a Swae Lee record." So I set up a session with Swae. That's my boy. We made it all happen. And now I've got Future on it, too. So a couple of those records were done just to finish up the album and add a couple touches. It was a little bit of everything.
The "Lemonade" song with Don Toliver? We did that in 2017, bro. Every song has a specific story about how it almost didn't happen. If I explained the story of each song, you'd be like, "What the fuck, how'd y'all get this?" Or, "How did y'all get these two artists on the song together knowing that they low key don't really fuck with each other?" You know how artists are. They all say they fuck with each other, but whenever it's time to put them on songs with each other, it's a whole different issue. So the fact that we were able to get this done with all these artists, and do it in such a short amount of time, I think it's special.
When this album comes out, what do you hope it does for Internet Money?
Taz Taylor: I think we've already done it, bro. I don't ever look at the results of shit like that. It's more about the action of doing something that no one expected us to do. Everybody put their own projects on hold to make sure we did this album, from the label to me to Nick to artists that are signed to me. We all came together, bro. That's the only achievement to me. That's all that matters. Whether we sell one copy and it goes to my mom, or we sell 5 million copies and the world loves it, the important thing is that we came together like brothers and did something. We didn't worry about splits. We didn't care about how much money we're going to make from it. We didn't care about how much it costs to make the album. We just made an album that we were really happy making.
I know you don't want to describe this project as a "compilation album." Why is that?
Taz Taylor: Just because of the stigma with compilation albums. People look at them, like, "Oh, they just took a bunch of songs and threw it together." But we didn't just take songs and group them in a folder, like, "Well this is it." We chiseled out every fucking song on this album, bro. We stripped vocals. We went and changed shit around. We changed keys, bro. If you know anything about music theory and shit like that, if a song is in one key, you cannot put that shit in another. But we found ways to do it on this album. There's no rules.
The fact that so many people were involved, it's more meticulous than just a compilation album. This is a real album. If you look at DJ Khaled's albums and you're like, "All right, well this is DJ Khaled's album," then I want that same type of respect. The same thing with Metro Boomin. People don't look at Metro Boomin and think, "Is this a compilation album?" Because he's one person. But because Internet Money is a collective of like 40 people, they're like, "Oh, this is just a compilation label album." No, it's an artist's album. Internet Money is an artist.
Nick, is there a song on here that you enjoyed working on the most?
Nick Mira: Yeah. "Really Redd" was one of my favorite songs to work on, because it was originally just on my Twitch during a live stream. Taz got Trippie to send vocals through, and I made the whole thing in front of like 20,000 people. We didn't know what we were doing with the song in the moment, but then we figured out later that it fit the album perfectly, so we threw it on there.
"Lemonade" was a really fun song to work on, too. We made it in the living room of our old house, and it was just really chill. My favorite song on the album just to listen to is "Devastated" by Lil Spirit. That was like any other day when we would make songs, but that one just came out more special. Those three songs were all really fun. And "Thrusting" with Swae Lee and Future was also a really cool song to be a part of. Cxdy let me do some stuff on it very last-minute, and I'm really grateful for him to give me that opportunity. I was in the studio with him and Taz just finishing it, and it was really fun. So, that one, too.
Taz, you tweeted, "Yo Swae Lee, I need u on the album." Then you made it happen. What was the story behind that?
Taz Taylor: Man, this goes way back. My manager Bird is really cool with Mike WiLL and Ear Drummers and Swae Lee's whole team. So the past couple years, it's always been a goal of mine to work with Swae. I had only been in one session with Swae before, and it was a Post Malone session where they were mixing "Sunflower" or some shit like that. I never got to introduce myself or anything like that, but we've always known about each other through Bird. So when I was doing the album, I was just like, "Look bro, we've got to make this happen."
Of course, it's at the worst time, because all this corona shit's going on and the George Floyd stuff and everything. No one wants to work right now. Nobody's really sending verses. Nobody's really wanting to get in the studio. Some studios are shut down. So Swae was in Miami and—shout out my boy Resource—he FaceTimed me and Swae. Then Swae was like, "Yo, they told me you wanted to get in the studio. I've got to be on your album, bro." Come to find out, Swae has actually been following me on Twitter for like six years. I had no idea. After we get off FaceTime, he just DMs me. He's like, "Bro, I'm serious. Don't turn this album in without me." So, we got in the session literally the next day.
We almost got kicked out of the studio because of corona rules: you can only have five per room. And of course Swae Lee shows up with a fucking whole team of people. The studio's tripping, like, "Yo, we're about to kick y'all out." So "Thrusting" almost didn't fucking happen. We made it happen, though. My artist TyFontaine was originally on it, and Swae Lee's a Ty fan. But I was just like, "Bro, this is the only song Swae gave me. Y'all going to have to do something else, bro. I need this record, bro." So I put Future on it. He understood. It's about the overall thing. And if Internet Money gets a big record, that's a win for him, too.
Nick Mira: Yeah. He also was all over the album, too.
Taz Taylor: Yeah, he's on like five songs already.
Another song that's going to a fan-favorite is "Blastoff" with Juice WRLD and Trippie Redd. How did that come together?
Nick Mira: That song was done about a year ago. I remember one day Taz told me that Bibby sent it to him, and he just wanted us to rework it or whatever. I remember spending the day working on it, and we weren't sure what was going to happen with it. We were just making it for us to listen to. We stripped the whole song down. We created a whole different vibe around it. It wasn't on the same sort of feeling that it is right now. And that was only the first version. After we made the first version, we had to go back and fix new stuff months later.
With that song, there are literally like 41 or 42 versions. Just different mixes, different layouts, different everything. Then, on the last day of submitting the album, we were like, "No, let's do it again." We switched the guitar around and switched the melodies. We fixed a bunch of stuff. We just wanted to make sure we carried it out the right way, and the way that the fans would like. I feel like it was handled delicately.
“If you look at Tupac and Biggie, you could look at X and Juice the same way for this generation.” - Nick Mira
As people who worked with Juice WRLD closely, what do you think he did musically that separated him from everyone else?
Nick Mira: I mean, honestly, with Juice on that song alone, it was really effortless. A lot of people like to talk about the whole freestyle thing, but it's even deeper than that. You can tell when somebody just goes in, starts recording, and it's natural for them. Whatever is on the brain is automatically good. When you go on mic and automatically make a song like that, it's just effortless. It shows how talented you really are. [Juice and Trippie] made the song together, too. It wasn't a forced song, trying to do it for anybody. They literally talk about being together in Bahamas in the song and all that. They were good friends, too. They had a bunch of songs, and this was just one that flowed a lot.
Where do you think Juice will go down in history? What will his legacy be?
Nick Mira: Everybody doesn't really want to make comparisons. But if you look at Tupac and Biggie, you could look at X and Juice the same way for this generation. No matter how long you're here for, the impact that you leave in such a short amount of time really speaks for who you are as a legend. Just that alone carries a lot of weight. He's one of the best ever to do it in my eyes, and obviously the whole world's eyes.
"Lemonade" is the single. How did that come together?
Taz Taylor: In 2017, I did a song with Jozzy and Johnny Yukon called "Lemonade." Don [Toliver] ended up working on that same song, too. This was before the Astroworld album or anything like that. So, when I was actually working on my album, I talked to my A&R at my label, which Don is signed to. I'm there through publishing, at APG. He's signed as an artist. They were just like, "Yo, if you want Don on the album, I have a couple old records he did from 2017, if you want me to send them through."
They sent through "Lemonade" with the original version that we did back in 2017. I was just like, "Damn, if I was to switch this up now, it'd sound crazy." So I got the a capella, and Don had no idea that I was even fucking with it. I had Alec play some guitar in the living room, which ended up being the actual guitar you hear on the song. It reminded me of the Astroworld shit with Travis, the "Yosemite" shit. I originally wanted Travis to get on it, but then we just finished it. I was like, "Man, Gunna would be hard on it." Then I was like, "Well, I'll put Nav on it, too."
We just reached out to XO, and they were really helpful. They got Nav on it. The label has a really close relationship with Gunna, obviously, so that wasn't a problem. And then me and Don, we've known each other since he signed his deal. So I was like, "Hey, bro. If you're not doing anything with this, I'd love to turn it into a hit." He gave us his blessing and let us turn it into something, man. It's kind of crazy, because the song "Cafeteria" by Don was getting worked on at the same time. So Gunna thought he cut "Cafeteria" for Don. But in reality, he cut "Lemonade." So he had to cut "Cafeteria," too. It's just a big ass mix-up. Luckily, he did both songs, and both are about to be out. It's just a crazy story. That song has been going around since 2017.
You guys shot a video for that with Lyrical Lemonade. What was that day like?
Taz Taylor: It was hot, man.
Nick Mira: It was like 120 degrees.
Taz Taylor: It was just hot, bro. And on top of that shit, the trailers' air conditioners and shit weren't working. So obviously the artists are going to be mad. [Laughs]. You've got to fuel everybody's shit and make sure you control everybody's temper and everything. Cole Bennett and them did a good job of that. From seeing the shots happen to seeing the actual video, it's crazy. How they got that from that, I have no idea. It was fucking insane. That just goes to show you, Cole knows what he's doing. You've got to put that trust in certain people's hands to go and take it to the next level. Thanks to Cole and Jake and Sal and everybody at Lyrical for such a fast turnaround. They agreed to do the video, then we shot it and everything within a week. Just imagine the fucking hurdles.
Just to have this fucking song out is the craziest shit to me right now, especially with Cole doing the video. I didn't know if that would happen. And Cole said he really loved the song. He had the album before anybody, and he came to me in the trailer at the video shoot. He was like, "Bro, I just want to let you know, I'm listening. I love it. It's a really good album." So I think if anything, this whole "Lemonade" shit brought the relationship between Internet Money and Lyrical Lemonade together a little closer. I think we're the two collectives pushing the culture a little bit, and developing artists, and breaking artists, and finding different ways to do shit. We just do it on the music side, and they do it on the video side. This is going to be the first of many things we're going to do together. I'm excited to see what all comes from it.
How would you kind of describe what Lyrical Lemonade is doing right now? How is it similar to what you're doing?
Taz Taylor: I think it's exactly the same thing we're doing. They think the same way we do, and they move similarly. They don't care about labels or budgets or funding. They just care about finding artists they fuck with and putting them on. They're going to do everything possible and exhaust all options to put these artists on and blow them up. They don't depend on anybody, and they still get the job done at the end of the day. That's the same way we are. That's why we're so powerful. We rely on ourselves. Our paths are very similar. It's just two different worlds.
We kind of came up around the same time. People don't understand that Internet Money hasn't even been out for three years yet. August 31, 2017 was when we all got in the industry officially. It's kind of the same timeline with Lyrical Lemonade a little bit. We kind of come up together, and a lot of people respect us in similar ways. We just run shit, both of us.
"Until another platform comes around that makes it as easy for artists to put themselves out there, SoundCloud is going to keep running the shit." - Taz Taylor
You guys were closely associated with the SoundCloud rap era. But in 2020, we've moving away from that era a little. How would you describe where things are at now?
Taz Taylor: I think it's kind of still SoundCloud. Everybody looks at the golden years when the bigger artists came from there. Because they're not on there anymore, and they're on DSPs, people think they're not a favorite little secret anymore. They're like, "Oh, it's over. It's dead." But in reality, SoundCloud is the one place where, if I made a song tonight and I really fucked with it, I don't need no labels. I can just go put it out tomorrow, and it can still go up. Even with YouTube and all that, you still need to go shoot a video. But you can literally just record a song in your bedroom and still put it up tomorrow. If it's good and it reaches the right person, you could really change your whole life off that one record.
I don't think it's ever going to leave from the SoundCloud era, because it's so accessible. Until another platform comes around that makes it as easy for artists to put themselves out there, SoundCloud is going to keep running the shit. That's just what it is. Then when you're signed and you have label backing and everything, then it's a DSP and playlisting game. All of that is really important, but it's more about the accessibility to your fans.
One thing you guys helped blaze the trail for was YouTube "type" beats. I know you've moved away from that now, but what are your thoughts on the YouTube "type" game as it stands now?
Taz Taylor: It's always been saturated, but now it's overly saturated. We were running it up back in the day, bro. We were making crazy money off YouTube, just selling "type" beats and all that. I feel like we kind of sold the dream a little more than we should have. [Laughs]. There's obviously still people providing for their families and doing that shit. But I don't know bro, I feel like we kind of exposed it a little bit and made it a little more popular than what it should have been. It kind of ruined it for some people, I feel like.
There's a lot of people who are still grinding and doing their thing off that, though. If you have the ability to change your life and make an income off of beats on YouTube or selling them on Twitter and Instagram or whatever you've got to do, then do it. Just keep going. It's going to lead to something bigger than that. But the fact that there's so many people doing it now, and a lot of people heard about it from us, I guess it's kind of flattering.
What's the biggest thing you think still needs to change about the music industry?
Taz Taylor: Oh, boy. I just feel like it's kind of outdated, bro. Just how the overall industry is run, from people getting paid to how you've got to schedule songs months in advance if you want them to come out. You can't mix things last-minute. You can't change cover art. You've got to be pretty set in stone with what you want to do, well in advance of actually putting it out. I just wish that everybody would get more hip to the times. If an artist can record a project in a month, why can't they change it a week before it comes out? Or even when it comes to politics of just getting support from different people or even DSPs and all this. It's just a big political game.
I wish everybody was just more for the love of artists. I wish everybody understood that you can't get mad when an artist shows love to a specific platform or a specific thing. That's the point of being an artist. You're one of many platforms. They're going to show you love. You can't be stingy about it. It's about the artist at the end of the day, not the platforms or the people in the industry. It's just all about the artist and the music. People care more about that than the business side of it.
"We're beyond music at this point. We're trying to be the Apple or Tesla of the music industry." - Taz Taylor
What's the most important thing each of you want people to know about Internet Money right now?
Taz Taylor: Internet Money is a label, and we're artists and producers and everything. But outside of all that, this is who I spend my life with. I'm not really close to my family. These people essentially are my family. I look at everybody in Internet Money like my brothers. The fact that we are so close and we get each other on a personal level makes it so easy for us to work on music. We know whenever we're really passionate about something, we don't ever let it escalate to anything more than us just being passionate about a song or something. We have such respect for each other on a personal level. We do really fuck with each other. It's just a brotherhood and we all decided to get money together. That's really what Internet Money was about, bro. Since then, it became something bigger, but I don't want people to try to put us in a box or tell us what we are. That's why I didn't like the "compilation album" comments, because you're putting this in a box. You're not even willing to hear us out. We could be artists. If Daft Punk can be an artist and they don't sing on songs or write records, why couldn't we do it? I just want that.
I noticed you've been intentional about using Internet Money as an artist name on these releases.
Taz Taylor: Yeah, because who's to say that me and Nick won't want to go DJ a year from now? We can go do whatever we want. The name Internet Money is universally known. It's a brand. We can go do Internet Money clothing brands. We can go do Internet Money whatever. We're going to be getting into everything. We're going to be getting into fucking food, clothes, drinks. We're beyond music at this point. We're trying to be the Apple or Tesla of the music industry, if that makes sense. There's nothing we can't do.
Nick Mira: Internet Money is a huge family that you can't recreate. You can't really understand how organic it is. It's hard to understand the chemistry of the actual relationships, and how natural it is. We want to show that there is no limit to what we can do. Just like Taz said, we could do food, we could do drinks. We could do a store with equipment. We could literally make whatever. The people will support us, because of the way we started on the internet, collecting all the producers and everything. We have a whole community behind us, and a whole team. With the platform that we have, we're able to constantly give back and show everybody else that they can do the same thing.