Rest In Peace: Taj Abdul Randall of Narcotik

Taj Abdul Randall aka Tizzy T was 1/2 of Seattle group Narcotik, along with MC C-Note aka The Note. Narcotik, part of the Tribal Productions family, released their debut album "Intro 2 The Central" in 1995. Taj died in a house fire on October 16th 2011. He was 36.

Life isn't supposed to end like this. 

The last time that I saw my Uncle Dennis was at my Grandparents house, where he was living temporarily. I clearly remember walking in the door and seeing my Uncle Dennis standing at the end of the hallway. I think I said hi to him. I don't remember. What I do remember is that he didn't stop. Didn't say anything to me, just turned and started down the stairs. Gone was the Uncle Dennis that I knew as a child, built like a tree trunk, visibly strong in a natural way that seems to not exist anymore. Barrel chested with a full beard, in my child's mind my Uncle Dennis may as well have been Paul Bunyan. Gone too were the hours spent wrestling as a child with all of my uncles, Ben, Greg, Dennis, Steve, in the living room of the same house as where I last saw him. My Uncle Dennis was 40 when he died.

Life isn't supposed to end like this.

The "Intro 2 The Central" album is one of the most complete Seattle releases ever, in a way that most albums are no longer. With no distraction from spin-a-wheel-find-a-rapper feature appearances (other than Tribal mainstay and legendary God emcee Infinite) and a consistent vibe provided by Vitamin D and Topspin "Intro 2 The Central" packed 9 concise tracks worth of dope into it's cassette tape only format. With even a casual listen you can tell that Tizzy-T and C-Note knew exactly what they were doing in capturing a high density snapshot of what Central District living in the 90's was like. It is a fantastic goddamn album. Their collective talent and ability is staggering.

While commercial sales outside of the general 206 area may have eluded Narcotik along with any number of other groundbreaking Seattle groups, once again the lack of sales is not indicative of lack of impact. Trails were blazed. Methods were invented. C-Note and Tizzy T's vision in the early 90's resonated in the minds of men and women that have since continued to carve out a space for local Hip-Hop to flourish, spawning more artists who have stayed true to a particular Seattle style and aesthetic that the world at large is now paying attention to. 

I never got a chance to meet Tizzy T and tell him how much his music meant to me as a fan. I never got a chance to ask him what he thought about the lasting impact of Narcotik's debut album. I never got a chance to ask him if he still wrote rhymes - or if he even wanted to record music anymore. Maybe what he laid down in the 90's was all he wanted to say, but I doubt it. 

Contrary to popular belief, life is not like a movie. Sometimes you miss opportunities and can't get them back. Sometimes you don't get a chance to say goodbye. It's cruel, it's unfair, but it's true. As Tizzy T's friend since kindergarten and partner in rhyme C-Note said in the wake of this tragedy "Morale of the story...Always check on your folks. We can get back anything but time".

Taj Abdul Randall was an artist. He was a son, a brother and a friend. He will be sorely missed. My condolences to his family and loved ones.