On April 5, Union Board hosted its annual Big Show at Goodrich Chapel. An up-and-coming, Grammy-nominated Latin duo, Rey-n-Raey, opened for well-established rapper MadeinTYO.
When the duo came out on stage, the crowd was small but energetic. The pair played into the crowd’s energy – citing a slew of artists as their inspirations, SZA among them.
Dallas native Rey Santana, the first half of Rey-n-Raey, referred to their duo as “genreless” in a pre-show interview.
“We do a lot of types of genres. We blend everything. We love experimentation,” Santana said. “If you haven’t heard us, up there you’re going to hear a lot of different stuff.”
David Raey, Santana’s partner, and the latter of Rey-n-Raey, grew up in Sandona, Coloumbia and says that they pull from different “tropical sounds,” like salsa and cumbia, which are “really fresh” in music right now.
The pair experiments with sound in their own music, but also in collaboration with others. Their most successful collaboration was with Daddy Yankee, Ruaw Alejandro and Nile Rogers, for Latin Grammy-nominated song, “Auga.” Rey-n-Raey wrote and recorded vocals for the track. Now that the two are Grammy nominated, they say next on the bucket list is to win the Grammy, and they intend to win it with fresh music.
“Stay tuned if you want to listen to something new, something fresh,” Santana said. “We’re always trying to create something different. If you ever want fresh music, we got it.”
After the duo exited the stage, MadeinTYO’s DJ warmed the crowd up with some music. After some apparent technical difficulties, MadeinTYO ran on stage and the crowd screamed.
MadeinTYO started with his popular hits “I Want (Skrt Skrt),” “Outstanding” and “Chucky Cheese.”
When he finished, he said all he really wanted when he got to Albion was some good food.
“I go on Uber Eats and nothing,” said MadeinTYO; he asked the crowd, “So… what do y’all eat?”
Then, he transitioned into his smash hit, “Uber Everywhere,” which launched him into the public eye in 2016.
After performing “Uber Everywhere,” he played music by deceased rappers in their honor. He started with “Lucid Dreams” by Juice Wrld, who died 8 days after his 21st birthday in 2019. Then performed “Look at Me” by XXXTentacion who was murdered at age 20 in 2018. Then, he performed his collaboration, titled “Learn How to Watch,” with Carnage and Mac Miller who died when he was 26 years old in 2018.
“Playing my homies’ music is always bittersweet,” MadeinTYO said. “Like, you can’t get off the stage, you can’t go text them. It’s just only for that moment, for the music. So I appreciate everybody who listens to the music or takes it in.”
MadeinTYO then transitioned into performing some of his other collaborations. Including, “WAM” with A$AP Ferg and “Hot Shower” with Chance the Rapper and DaBaby. After some more songs, he said he hoped the crowd was doing well. He said that he makes sure to check on his friends daily and message people back; even if it’s simple words of encouragement.
As the performance came to an end, MadeinTYO picked up his son, True, and danced with him before exiting the stage.
Following his performance, MadeinTYO sat down with Union Board and members of the Pleiad to have a conversation and answer questions.
MadeinTYO said his stage name comes from his love of Tokyo, Japan. When he was in his first year of high school, his dad took him to Tokyo and he’s loved it ever since. While his love for the city remains, his love for some of his music has faded, as he says he has outgrown it.
“I like the music, but I’ve grown so much that now with the music that I’m making,” said MadeinTYO. “I’m excited to work with the artists I get to work with. Because I feel like either I grew up enough in following or respect.”
MadeinTYO said his music taste and creation have shifted so much that he feels like his “new music is in a whole new playlist,” and feels like he has to change his “whole performance style.”
He said he takes a lot of inspiration from both the new and old music he listens to.
“I love all types of music. I grew up on like backpack rap. I love just like real music,” MadeinTYO said, adding that he gets “so inspired by these people that are so far in their career that they can put out whatever they want to put out.”
Watching artists he’s inspired by has helped him to understand that his own music is far enough that he can start making whatever he wants, he said.
“I’m at the point now where I’m at 3 million monthly, just on Spotify, and people are always going to listen to that,” MadeinTYO said. “And I eat off that, and that’s cool. So now everything else that I make is – just like automatic”
He said that during his time in the music industry, he’s seen many of his friends die and have their music released posthumously.
“Certain people only got to put out, certain tracks, whatever they got to put out,” MadeinTYO said adding that it’s up to whoever owns the artist’s estate to release the rest of their music.
This realization, he says, has inspired him to make music and art that speaks to him.
“You’re only as big as the art you make and the stuff that you got on tuck,” he said, referring to the music he has waiting to be released.
MadeinTYO said for the last six months he’s been working every day, making music like it’s a nine-to-five job.
“If I don’t take it that way, then I’m not gonna be here, I’m not gonna have this stuff tucked. Either I’m dropping it, or it’s tucked and it’s ready and it’s value because I’m an artist,” MadeinTYO said.
Liam Rappleye contributed reporting to this story.