A veteran MC and beatsmith of Detroit’s hip-hop underground, Ta’Raach (aka Lacks) put in a lot of work over the course of the ’90s and early 2000s, producing and performing on countless tracks that have become rare niceties because of industry politics in his hometown.
He loved music but couldn’t afford to amass large record collections like many producers do, and so he got them from others in his neighborhood.
He later wound up moving to Lansing, MI, and took a few courses at Michigan State University in 1996.
There, he linked up with the student radio station, adopting his first pseudonym, Lacksi-Daisy-Cal.
He turned into somewhat of a point man for the town’s local hip-hop scene, hosting freestyle nights at a local café.
Inspired by the experience, he returned to Detroit, but attempts at releasing an album with friend Big Tone were thwarted.
They lent the producing pupil his first MPC and SP-1200 samplers, which he quickly grasped how to use.
Craig‘s consummate ability to meld jazz and hip-hop with techno made an indelible impression on him, informing his own skills and craft from there on.
When he came back to the U.S., McMathis helped put together the Breakfast Club, a collective that would support struggling Detroit artists and included Big Tone, Dwele, and MC Elzhi (who later joined Slum Village).
As most of the music he made before, however, the group’s recordings were scrapped.
With prospects seeming bleak and too many promises broken, he was forced to move to Atlanta.
At that point, he had close ties with Detroit’s pioneering producer Jay Dee (whom he met around the time of Craig and Rice), contributing vocals to his Welcome 2 Detroit solo debut, and another Detroit upstart, Waajeed.
In 2004, McMathis moved out to Pasadena, CA, to be closer to Los Angeles, where opportunities just seemed to keep rolling in.