Jeanne Sager | Democrat
TASHAN TURNER OF Liberty (and Monticello), aka “Metafore”
Introducing Metafore: Sullivan's Own Home-Grown Rapper on the Rise
By Jeanne Sager
LIBERTY December 18, 2007 Looking back, he says it was kind of corny, but there was something prophetic in the first song Rebecca Reshefsky heard from this kid from upstate New York.
Mixed up on a karaoke machine he got for Christmas from his mom, Doreen, Tashan Turner’s “Knows Ya Name,” begins with the familiar theme song to an ’80s TV show.
Switching to the instrumentals, the opening for Cheers quickly becomes a backdrop for the lyrical talents of Metafore.
Talents that blew the now 30-year-old Reshefsky out of the insurance biz and out on the road to start Lucky Bug entertainment company, signing 15-year-old Tashan “Metafore” Turner as her first client.
Talents that earned him a spot this week among the 10 semifinalists in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Contest. The popular vote will decide whether he’ll be in the top three sent to Phoenix, Ariz. for the Super Bowl and a shot at a recording contract.
Back at the Beginning
Doreen was working for Reshefsky’s father when the latter learned her co-worker’s son could drop some serious rhymes.
“I didn’t know anything about rap,” Reshefsky recalled with a laugh. “I’m a white, Jewish girl from Boca Raton, Fla. what do you think?”
But “Knows Ya Name” was coming from a 15-year-old with a karaoke machine, and it took musical sampling to a whole new level.
“His lyrical content was amazing, and he had books and books and books of his music,” Reshefsky said.
“It’s a corny song, but I credit that with everything,” Metafore said, breaking out one of the lazy grins that’s made him that much more marketable to teenage girls.
Reshefsky had worked in the business. She’d been in promotions at Universal Records.
She called on her friends and asked.
“Do I have something here?”
They took one listen to the teenager from Monticello and told her “yes, you’ve found the one.”
They didn’t have long.
Living in Hollywood, Fla., Doreen got a call in mid 2005 that her father was sick she had to move the family back to Sullivan County where Metafore (as he was known in the halls of Monticello High School) had lived until they moved south when he was 14.
By 16, Metafore was back in Sullivan County, enrolling in his junior year at Liberty High School.
Reshefsky was still in Florida, managing his career via the phone and frequent trips north.
Tragedy turned out to be Turner’s friend.
Living two hours from New York, Metafore started boarding the bus in Liberty at the end of each school week to head to a small recording studio in the Bronx where the late Notorious BIG once recorded.
He grew up in those weekends.
Leaving behind teenage troubles in a small town, he grew into the nearly 19-year-old who has been dubbed part of hip hop’s youth movement that’s on the rise.
“It was tragic, but if we didn’t move up here, I wouldn’t be as far in my music career as I am,” Metafore said. “New York is the mecca for everything.”
Portrait of an Artist
In two years, he’s recorded a mix tape with the sponsorship of New York City’s Hot 97’s DJ Envy and an EP with songs produced by some of the hip hop world’s biggest names including the Alchemist, Knobody, Heatmakerz and NO I.D.
“Nah Mean,” a song written by Metafore when he was just 16, was produced by Grammy Award winner Charles Roane, and the edgy video was shot in April at a club in Miami.
Tastes of Success
It’s been featured on BET On-Blast, added to the MTV Jams Weekend Mixtape and spent two months on the Music Choice On Demand video channel.
The video took Metafore to Las Vegas, Nev. for the finals in the XM/Myspace Show Us What Ya Got’ Contest.
“I didn’t win, but there were like 6,500 artists voted down to 20, then DJs picked and chose five they liked,” he explained.
Put up on the Web-site and subject to the popular vote, the five were whittled to three who were flown out to Vegas including Metafore.
“Out of 6,500 artists to be number three is phenomenal,” he said, flashing his pearly whites again.
Sitting down for a chat in the small apartment he shares with his mom and 8-year-old sister Sierra in Liberty, Metafore was big on smiles.
He’s got good reason.
His single’s been played in the top 25 radio markets around the country, and he’s earned his own artist page on mtv.com.
He’s been confirmed to be the “Unsigned Hype” artist in an upcoming issue of The Source Magazine and Hip Hop Weekly, and he’s still just 18.
Understanding the Metafore
Music is in his blood Doreen and Metafore’s father, Shannon, were both DJs in the military and filled his childhood with everything from classic R&B to AC/DC.
Rap battles in school earned him his moniker.
“People said I used a lot of metaphors when I rap,” he explained. “Most of my inspiration comes from music that’s out already.
“Some of it’s good, some of it’s not so good,” he continued. “That’s where the attitude, the cockiness of ‘I can do it better’ comes into play.”
Ironically, cocky is something Metafore is not.
He’s still a kid from the sticks trying to make it big in a whole new world.
Raised in a lower income family, he couldn’t believe it when Reshefsky paid $2,000 for a beat they never even used.
And he’s not afraid of his roots in the East Coast/West Coast rap culture.
“I love that,” Metafore explained. “There are so many people from down [in the city] trying to do it it’s oversaturated.
“I have the opportunity to put another place on the map,” he boasted. “I’m definitely from Monticello!”
Asked to map out his ideal future, Metafore doesn’t stop to think.
“I see myself being signed I don’t think I’m whack. I think I have the opportunity,” he said.
Meanwhile, he’s not resting on his laurels.
He graduated from Liberty High School in June, just earned his driver’s license and has signed up for the spring semester at Sullivan County Community College.
He’ll study business management and marketing because, as he says, “it’s always good to have something to fall back on.”
Factoring in the coveted record deal, Metafore’s goal is to one day step into the shoes of hip hop mogul Jay-Z, who’s still rapping at 38 with a host of successful business ventures to fall back on.
“My biggest dream is to be a household name, to be somebody like Jay-Z, to have the business mind and still have the music in me,” he confessed.
For now, Metafore is savoring his star moments invitations from record labels Interscope, RCA and Universal to show them what he’s got.
Requests for his autograph from two girls in the ShortLine terminal in Monticello.
“That’s crazy,” he said, the 18-year-old coming out for a moment. “For someone to ask you for your autograph in your hometown!
“A lot of people don’t go back to where they came from, but I will,” he said. “It’s what made me.”
If his music is commercially successful, Metafore said his plan is to build a recreation center for teenagers in the Liberty and Monticello areas.
“There’s not a lot of stuff for kids to go to up here,” he said. “That’s why a lot of people get in trouble.
“There’s a whole ton of trouble I could have been getting into if it wasn’t for music,” he said.
That’s when the serious Metafore, the out-to-conquer-the-world musician comes out.
He wants his hometown in his corner, but he’s knows he’s got what the nation wants.
“It’s not something that you’re always gonna hear,” he explained. “You’re not going to hear the same type of track over and over.”
This Sunday, Dec. 23, Sullivan County can get a taste of Metafore when he opens the Myspace Indie Underground Tour at Rockbar in Liberty. He’ll be back to Rockbar for Teen Night on Dec. 30.
His single, “Nah Mean,” is available for download on iTunes.
To keep up with the rising star, visit www.teammetafore.com on the Web.
And to vote for him in the Crash the SuperBowl Contest, go online to www.myspace.com/doritos crashthesuperbowl before Dec. 31.
He’s on the top row of performers, all the way to the right.
Only the top three will go on for a 60 second spot during the Super Bowl with a shot at a contract with Interscope.