If Daryl Campbell, better known as Taxstone, wasn’t in jail, he’d probably be a top contender in our Hip-Hop Media Power Ranking list. Campbell was one of the first to present off-the-cuff commentary on life, hip-hop, and hot topics with his Tax Season podcast that launched in 2015 as part of the Loud Speakers Network, a platform founded by the late Reggie Osse, better known as Combat Jack, and Chris Morrow.

Taxstone cut through with his gravelly voice, direct yet funny opinions, and outside-of-the-industry perspective that many could relate to—along with his signature catchphrases like “Be Safe Tho” and “Beloved” that peppered his podcast and Tweets. At one point his podcast was receiving up to 300,000 listeners a week and he was starting to draw in guests like Meek Mill, The Lox, and Lil Uzi Vert until everything came to a screeching halt.

On May 25, 2016, a shooting at a T.I. concert, which took place at Irving Plaza, left three wounded and Ronald “Banga” McPhatter, rapper Troy Ave’s security guard, dead. Shortly after the shooting Troy Ave was arrested and charged with attempted murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Weeks later he was released on $500,000 bond, and Taxstone was then arrested and charged with the murder of McPhatter, which he has pleaded not guilty to, and two federal weapons charges, which he has pleaded guilty to. He’s been in jail on Rikers Island for the last five years awaiting his trial, which recently ended on March 23, 2023. He was found guilty of manslaughter in the first degree, but not guilty of murder and attempted murder. He will be sentenced on April 19th

The trial, and the incidents leading up to it, spoke to many things, but it emphasized how the hip-hop media landscape has shifted and certain personalities, not just legacy platforms, started to become highly influential. Being cosigned by Taxstone was a stamp of authenticity that artists wanted.

Right before the trial started, we caught up with Taxstone, who was in good spirits.

“Mentally, I stay sharp and I stay on point because Rikers is a jungle. It’s probably one of the most unsafe places to be. And I’m from East New York, Brooklyn, and it’s like the wild, wild West. Being able to survive there, I feel like Rikers Island is like a cake walk. But it becomes a mental drag,” says Taxstone over the phone.

Despite being in jail, he’s well aware of everything that’s happening in the world, including the podcast space. He says he regularly listens to Gillie and Wallo’s Million Dollaz Worth of Game, and he’s heard what Noreaga has said about him, Combat Jack, and his IP on Joe Budden’s podcast.

“I didn’t really address it because that shit is not even true,” says Taxstone. “Like if you really do your due diligence to look at the Tax Season podcast, I didn’t post videos on YouTube. And that was intentional because I wasn’t getting paid from it.”

Here, we speak to Taxstone about the state of hip-hop media, podcasts specifically, his case, the importance of prison reform, and if he would return to podcasting once he comes home.