Viral Rapper Tay-K: A Rundown of the Tumultuous Journey of 'The Race'

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One of hip-hop's hottest young stars has been on the lam and in jail since his single dropped in June.

“Life imitates art” is an expression hip-hop is all too familiar with.

We’ve seen the phrase play out during the rise of Bobby Shmurda, who emerged in 2014 with his inescapable hit “Hot N---a” and the equally ubiquitous “Shmoney Dance”. But before Shmurda’s career could actually take off, the Brooklyn native and his GS9 crew caught the attention of police officers and were later hit with a heap of charges from weapon possession to conspiracy, bringing Shmurda’s rise to a standstill.

Fast forward a few short years later, hip-hop now has another up-and-coming star on its hands, Tay-K, whose new song “The Race” has become a viral hit, notching over 20 million views so far on YouTube since its June release and made its debut on the Billboard Hot 100 this week at No. 70. While these feats would normally call for celebration, Tay-K, like Shmurda, has had his fair share of run ins with the law and is alleged to be a suspect in a string of crimes including murder and robbery.

The Arlington, Texas, transplant was born in Long Beach, California, but moved East after his father was released from prison in hopes of finding a "a better environment," as Mcintyre said in a recent interview from jail. In that same conversation, the rapper rated his relationship with his parents a mere 6/10, revealing that he had to teach himself how to survive from a young age. The result? A pattern of criminal activities ending with the 17-year-old rapper behind bars. And while Tay-K is currently sitting in prison, the teenager has been gaining notoriety thanks to the high-profile co-signs from some of hip-hop’s biggest artists, from Kodak Black to Lil Yachty

Scroll below for a brief rundown of Tay-K's journey to the Billboard Hot 100. 

Daytona Boyz/Soundcloud Rise

Before "The Race" catapulted Tay-K to the charts, the young rhymer was a member in his hometown collective Daytona Boyz, consisting of Tay-K, Pimpyz and Santana Sage. Tay-K went on to release tracks like "Sly Cooper" and "Megaman" on Soundcloud, the latter racking up over 1 million plays. Tay-K, Pimpyz and Sage are all currently facing their own charges.

Run Ins With The Law

In 2015, Tay-K was riding in an SUV with a few friends after leaving a party and attempted to speak with a few females riding in a vehicle they approached at a stoplight in Denton, Texas, a Dallas News report states. When the ladies weren't as receptive as they men hoped, things took a turn for the worst with the New Year's Eve altercation ending with the death of 20-year-old Sara Mutschlechner and marking the beginning of Tay-K's criminal woes.

K's friend Santana Sage was eventually convicted of the murder but K would later find himself entangled in a few criminal cases. In June 2016, Tay-K was a suspect in a home invasion that resulted in the killing of 21-year man Ethan Walker. K was just one out of seven people connected to the home invasion and was later arrested and placed under house arrest. The teen was also charged for a brutal attack on a 65-year-old man. While under house arrest for his criminal charges, the rapper took to Twitter on March 27, 2017, and wrote: "f--- dis house arrest s--- f--- 12 they gn hav 2 catch me on hood". 

"The Race"

The "Megaman" rapper removed his ankle monitor and fled Texas in an attempt to escape the aftermath of his actions. "F--- a beat, I was tryna beat a case/ But I ain't beat that case, b---- I did the race," he raps on his now-viral hit, which was released the same day McIntyre left Texas. On June 30, 2017, authorities caught wind of the teen's whereabouts in New Jersey and brought the fugitive back to Fort Worth, Texas, where he awaits his sentencing. 

Hip-hop's Stamp of Approval

Since the release of "The Race", Tay-K has received the ultimate stamp of approval from a slew of rap artists. Lil Bibby recently tweeted, "Free lil Tay K", followed by Travis Scott tweeting out a line from the viral smash. 


Kodak Black is another one of Tay-K's biggest supporters and revealed in an Instagram livestream that he's thinking about signing the budding rapper. 


#kodakblack wants to sign #tayk -- #therace

A post shared by Kollege Kidd (@kollegekidd) on


Joining the growing pool of Tay-K supporters, Lil Yachty dropped a freestyle on Tuesday night, putting his own spin on "The Race" and shouting out "Free TK" in his verse. "It’s Young Boat put a n---- in they place/ Rich as f--- out the window, free Tay-K," he rhymes. "First show I did I got less than 10K/ Saw Tay-K now he who he is today."