The Memphis’ duo LAE, is next up on the Memphis’ rap scene.
The rap group consists of Latevious Rayford and Joshua Sandlin, who go by the stage names of Tay9 and Ghost, respectively. The childhood friends both played football at Bellevue Middle and at Central High School, where they developed a brotherly bond. And even after they played collegiate ball – Rayford at Vanderbilt and Sandlin at Alabama A&M – they decided to pursue music as a team.
“All our lives, we were football players –we would freestyle in the locker room, but nothing serious,” says Tay9. “But once football ended, we needed something to release that energy and passion into. And music was it.”
LAE, which is short for “Loyal Arsenal Establishment,” settled down and began working intently on their musical career, exploring different styles, creating samples and developing their unique sound. They released their first project, “Round 1,” in October 2017 to see if they were just fantasizing about a career in hip-hop.
“‘Round 1’ was basically to see if we had an audience,” Ghost said.
“It was our first project, we were new to the industry,” added Tay9. “It was what you would usually expect from a new independent group.”
After realizing they had something special, they returned to the studio for “Round 2” – 14 tracks of slippery delivery, silly punchlines, vivid aggression and smirking charisma.
“Our flows, delivery, topic, and beats matured a lot on ‘Round 2,’” Tay9 said.
Ghost said the duo found their artistic identity as an act in the process.
“We’ve grown independently and collectively since ‘Round 1,’” he said. “I look at ‘Round 2’ as the true start of LAE, because we knew more of who we are as artists.”
And if Round 2 sounds like a love letter to Memphis, well, that’s intentional. It’s considered a well-rounded representation of the city’s personality. But the duo also weaves in other nuances as well.
“Our rap style is influenced by being from Memphis and you can definitely hear the grittiness in our raps,” Ghost said. “However, we rap about so many various subjects that you can hear a distinct difference in our music than other rap artists from the city.”
“We both work day jobs, as well as been athletes all our lives, so our raps depict our lives, experiences and what we’ve been exposed to,” Sandlin said.
To celebrate LAE’s second project, Tay9 and Ghost are hosting a “Round 2” listening party on November 17, 2018 at Jeffro’s Sweet & Treats Sports Bar. The event starts at 7 p.m.
“It’s just another way of dropping great music,” Tay9 said. “We don’t ever overthink it; when we decide we’re gonna do something, we do it. Some people think about it too deep. We just want to make good music with various vibes.”
LAE’s “Round 2” is available on all social music platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube. For booking or other info, email [email protected]. You can also follow LAE on Instagram (@laeloyalaresnal); Tay9 (@tayninehunnid); and Ghost (@_laeghos).