Artist Spotlight: Taiyamo Denku

Rambunxious (left) with Taiyamo Denku (right).

Hip hop artist Taiyamo Denku hosted a CyphaDen Music event at Walker’s Point Music Hall Sunday evening that featured a myriad of unique, skillful lyricists including Spade-One, Rizenhower the Great Poupon, and Mr. Lloyd of Milwaukee, Madison’s Rambunxious, and New York-based Chuckie Campbell and The Black Den. Being a Sunday night show it was more intimate, but the energy was still there.

“I feel like everyone that performed was really into what was going on. The energy was high from all the artists regardless of the turnout of the crowd. Everybody was engaged. I felt pretty good about it.”

CyphaDen Music, run by Denku, hosts alternative hip hop-focused showcases of both local and touring rappers several times a month. Rambunxious and Denku are touring together this fall.

“I don’t like to put the same artists on shows all the time, but I also need to put on artists that follow these standards I go by: no rapping over vocals, stick around till the end of the show, and show up on time. All the artists for the most part did that. Some people gotta dip out early – it is what it is – but I appreciate when people stick around. Live hip hop bands, as much as I’d love to be in one, it’s not really my thing…but when they’re put together well, they’re dope as fuck.”

Denku is among Milwaukee’s most prolific, seasoned hip hop artists – he has been active in the scene for over twenty years. His trademark is freestyling between sets, asking audience members to give him random things to rap about such as objects in the room or what they did earlier in the day. He incorporates as many as fifteen different words into a prolonged freestyle that amazingly intertwines everything together. Sunday night’s freestyle saw him rapping about peanut butter, leopards, the name “Jennifer,” Trump, Sundays, and Komodo Dragons.

“I try to do the a cappella (freestyle) where I get people to give me words every show. It’s definitely a highlight. The idea of being able to do more than just rap your songs on stage – everyone’s a rapper now – you gotta do more. My dude Carnage the Executioner pushes that idea to me every time I see him. He’s still trying to get me on the loop pedal and I feel weird about it cuz that’s his thing. I try to throw in beatboxing, vocal scratches, the off-the-top freestyle shit…I might throw in some singing sometime soon…I don’t know.”

Taiyamo Denku has a ton coming up – he embarks on part two of his Bigger Than Local tour this fall doing seventeen shows. The animated video for his song “Red Lipstick” with Snoop Dogg and Rambunxious drops Wednesday. His new record drops September 3rd. CyphaDen hosts E-Turn & Lisa Vasquez at Cactus Club on the 27th, Poe Mack & Case Jones at Riverwest Public House on Sept 6th, and Poe Mack & Case Jones again in Oshkosh at Reptile Palace the following day.

“I have enough music where I could put out a song a week for the next twenty years.”

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