It was an unusually sleepy night in downtown Minneapolis, but First Avenue’s Record Room was packed. With chains dangling around his neck, Taylor Madrigal bopped around behind the DJ booth, dropping contemporary bangers and ’00s rap favorites as old Cash Money videos ran on a projection screen.
Looking like a reptilian Marvel villain in a gold vest and goofy green sunglasses, Madrigal’s party-rocking accomplice Bobby Raps played turnt-up cheerleader, bellowing get-down encouragements to the crowd at one of their first Dequexatron X000 parties.
“I pretty much begged them for a Record Room night,” Madrigal recalled. “I was like, ‘Please! That’s all I want in life is a Record Room night.’ ”
It may have taken a year of pleading to land his first monthly party at the revered club, but Madrigal has earned it. Better known these days as Tiiiiiiiiiip (that’s Tip with 10 i’s, thank you), the 24-year-old has become one of the youngest, hardest working DJs and promoters in town.
Lately his excessively voweled moniker dots half the local hip-hop bills, but the Twin Cities first met Madrigal as a producer and ringleader of feisty rap collective Audio Perm a few years ago. Since the sprawling crew dissolved last year, the business-minded beat head has shifted his focus. Putting music production on the back burner, Madrigal has found his lane as a prominent party thrower.
As the official DJ for the Stand4rd, Madrigal accompanied the buzzy hip-hop group on its maiden tour last fall. After returning, he and Bobby Raps (also a Stand4rd member and another Audio Perm alum) launched their Dequexatron night. Now, Madrigal has added a second Record Room party with fellow DJ Slamdunkapher. The monthly R&B-themed the Love Below kicked off June 5 and returns Friday.
“I’ve just been constantly grinding, man,” Madrigal said. “All I do right now is work all the time.”
Between planning his own events, the chinstrap-bearded DJ also does graphic design and promotion for local hip-hop booker Basil Presents and regularly jumps on its shows. His ever growing music gigs recently allowed him to hang up a pizza delivery job he said felt like a distraction.
Even in his Audio Perm days, Madrigal was a relentless promoter. During the crew’s 2011 rise, Audio Perm stickers seemingly plastered every Uptown stoplight and venue bathroom stall in town.
Though he rejects the notion of any rap-party torch being passed, Dequexatron’s emergence came as First Ave mainstays Get Cryphy wound down its seven-year monthly residency this spring. His DJ skills don’t match Get Cryphy’s turntable tornado, but Tiiiiiiiiiip brings a guard-dropping, anything-goes swagger to Dequexatron. One minute he might have the crowd vibing on an unreleased track from one of his Stand4rd buds, the next he’ll mischievously play a Papa Roach song.
“I do that because, A: I want to. B: because it’s funny. C: because a lot of people got buck,” Madrigal explained. “Sometimes you take risks with DJ’ing. Sometimes it doesn’t work out at all. Sometimes it works out very well.”
All together now
While Madrigal’s DJ’ing and eclectic fashion sense have given him a very public persona in Twin Cities hip-hop, it’s the behind-the-scenes work that comes most naturally to him. Madrigal got his first taste of large-scale event planning when he threw a self-financed Audio Perm block party with Jake Heinitz of Greenroom Magazine in 2011.
Despite taking a financial hit, he credits the outdoor bash with getting their name out and using it as a steppingstone for his future endeavors. With everything he does there’s a bigger picture in mind — whether it’s filling a nightlife void or exposing the Twin Cities to new artists and subgenres — says Madrigal, who dreams of opening a venue one day.
Eventually, he plans to put his beat-maker hat back on after lessons learned DJ’ing. But Madrigal clearly relishes his role as an event organizer. For him, there’s a certain satisfaction in just seeing people show up.
“We made that happen. If we didn’t do it, these people wouldn’t be here,” he said. “It sounds corny, but it’s a special thing to me. We organized this great group of people and they’re together having fun.”
Michael Rietmulder is a City Pages staff writer.