If you know hip-hop, then you're already well aware of the up and coming hit producer Tay Keith. He's swiftly risen as a beloved DJ, procuring hits for the likes of BlocBoy JB, Eminem, Drake, and Travis Scott. At only 22, Keith has already made a name for himself in the music industry. However, he's done something else, too—graduated from Middle Tennessee State University.
In December of 2018, Tay Keith proudly walked across the stage, earning a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in Media Management. Keith worked to balance school and his blossoming production very efficiently. He told FADER, "My classes are only Monday through Thursday, so that gives me Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to travel and work." Tay Keith has become an anomaly; while building his production career, he's also put MTSU and higher education in the spotlight for countless young fans.
Diligence and determination are two characteristics of Tay Keith that could inspire even the most motivated. Keith started recording music around 14 when he was rapping on a Rock Band mic. Unsatisfied with the beats he was finding, Keith decided to begin creating his own. With practice and advice from other Memphis producers like Drumma Boy, he began making music with Moneybagg Yo, Blac Youngsta, and Blocboy JB. After being contacted by Drake, Keith produced the hit single "Look Alive," and his popularity began to skyrocket. Despite this huge win, he wanted to finish his bachelor's. He told Nashville Tennessean, "I just feel like if I didn't finish, I was going to feel incomplete". Plus, he was DJing for First Flight Entertainment, a party promo group run by MTSU students and alumni. This is how he helped out with family finances, ensuring his parents and sibling were always taken care of.
At graduation, Keith was also awarded his first #1 record for Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode," premiering at the top of Billboard's Hot 100. The single also garnered a Grammy nomination. He's now positioning his finances to invest in real estate and stocks, according to Forbes. He also plans to open a scholarship foundation in Shelby County, TN, to help make others' dreams possible. Keith's ambition has and will continue to inspire his fans for years to come. "I want to prove that you can go to school and still chase your dream, too" he explained to Nashville Tennessean; "There's a lot of entrepreneurs out here who are in school, who just don't know what's next, or can't figure out what direction they should go in. And me graduating motivates them".
Pictures and videos of Tay Keith in his graduation gown walking across the stage as a first-generation graduate and holding his platinum plaque will definitely become images of success to many younger fans. He stands in the face of racial stereotype, something that young black men will notice and admire about him. A young, successful black man, earning his college degree and a platinum record—that's pretty amazing. Hopefully, Keith's success will inspire them to go on to higher education, including HBCUs.