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Go T-Mac: A YouTube Retrospective of Smash’s Career

March 5, 2013

After Baltimore rap star “Smash” Taylor sadly, unexpectedly passed away last Friday, and I fast-tracked a brief obituary that ran in this week’s City Paper, I found myself wondering how to best sum up his musical legacy for those who may not have known his music when he was alive. Should the focus be on his string of singles that made into 92Q rotation, or his catalog of mixtapes? Then I realized that the answer was YouTube: Smash’s career, which reached its peak of activity in the past five years, with a few years of lower profile releases before that, overlaps nicely with the era in which YouTube has become one of the best ways to follow regional and underground hip-hop. And Smash’s first big splash on the scene, the 2008 hit, “A Bit Too Much For Me,” came along just as Baltimore rappers were getting more savvy about videos, and the track became one of the first clips directed by local rap video MVP Gearie “The Grench Bowman” of Sleepin Giant Media. Besides, Smash’s infectious smile and flashy sense of style in videos always made for a charming contrast with his deep, raspy voice.

So I assembled a YouTube playlist of every music video by or featuring Smash, 15 videos that run an hour and span his entire career. There’s plenty more Smash on YouTube, from live performance footage to uploaded mixtape tracks without visuals, but I stuck just to proper music videos with Smash rapping in front of the camera, though production values vary widely from one clip to the next. Things run chronologically, starting with the pre-stardom 2006 video for “Daddy Gettin’ Money” and ending with a clip released just a few weeks ago for Smash and Hello Rello’s remix of T.I.’s “Ball.” In between, there’s DJ Gemini’s posse cut “D.M.V. Dream Team” with Mullyman and Skarr Akbar, the 2011 tribute to the home team “Ravenstown,” and multiple collaborations with Caddy Da Don. Two of the videos from last year, “Thank God” and the collab with Atlanta’s Alley Boy, “Goons,” had over half a million views, demonstrating just how large Smash’s fanbase was growing before his life was tragically cut short.