In 2016, TEDD.GIF released bags of music and established himself as one of Orlando’s top rappers. His most notable project of the year was Lil Mixtape, his take on the turn-up, commercial sound that’s flooded the airwaves as of late –exclusively produced by Lanlord Collectin.
Finder, a three-song EP strung together in a single track, is TEDD’s most experimental, cohesive release to date. (It’s also probably my favorite.) The sonics blend melty and harsh production seemlessly. And our man is doing what he does best, showing his confidence and desire to go against the grain. Because Lil Mixtape proved he can execute the current sound, now TEDD.GIF is showing more of his own colors. I can’t wait to hear what he and Lanlord cook up for Lil Mixtape 2, out later this season.
Like many local creatives, Henderson Nguyen came to Orlando to study at the University of Central Florida. For his first couple of years, he stuck with the label of “student,” until a block party in the Milk District brought the Orlando arts community into the forefront of his mind. Since then, Henderson has fully submerged himself in the culture, modeling and shooting for local brands (NoXcape & CHROMATIQUE), filming music videos (SugarPlum & TOKYOxP), and creating his own niche as a photographer. His style is perfectly posed, bright images that tell a short, impactful story. One of his favorite subjects to work with is cigarettes; the aesthetic of the object and the multiple connotations — death, counterculture, cool — associated with smoking are all explored in his images. Sadly, this talent is off to LA to pursue his dreams, but he’s leaving us with a bittersweet send-off this Sunday (TODAY) at Spacebar, featuring rapper TEDD.GIF, DJ EMRLDTRACE, and indie pop sweetheart, SugarPlum.
Each of the artists performing has deep ties to Henderson and his time in Orlando. TEDD.GIF was instrumental in Hendy’s introduction to the ORL creative community, and he says that the two share similar mindsets when it comes to personal branding. EMRLDTRACE and Henderson went to high school in West Palm Beach and grew close once they started at UCF — and they’re moving to LA together. Henderson heard SugarPlum before anyone else; she had always wanted to give music a shot but wasn’t sure if anyone would listen. We’re lucky she did. He perfectly captured her sunny, colorful persona in his video for her song “All the Time.”
Henderson plans to keep ORL on his tongue while meeting creatives in Los Angles. He looks forward to seeing the growth of (musicians) TEDD.GIF, SugarPlum, TOKYOxP, Tony Phat, Lanlord, (clothing brands) NoXcape, CHROMATIQUE, Phalse, (photographers) dy_n, daniel moncada, and (promoters) TSA Showcase. Come say goodbye to this awesome dude tonight at Spacebar!
A combination of glitchy VHS tapes and flashing colors, TEDD.GIF’s latest video is disorientating, fitting for the sloshed performance by the ORL MC. TEDD confidently slurs through one of the tightest hooks off Lil Mixtape, as LANLORD comes through with a slick beat. The whole joint sounds like it was filtered through some thick codeine. (When the beat stops then reverse, I’m like “oohh.”)
This video is raw. Footage of hazy, party-filled nights, no sleep, no fuckboys allowed. matthew warhol even makes a tiny appearance. S/O Retro Neon Records, TEDD.GIF, LANLORD, Jawl Nini, and Charles Wheatle for putting together another dope piece of art.
I’m standing outside of a two story apartment building, knocking on the door every 15-sceonds. An off-white sedan pulls up to the house and starts beeping at me. I dismiss it and continue knocking. Finally, a figure emerges, tells me his uber is here, and invites me to come with him.
Confused but willing, I ask, “You’re Ted, right?”
As I step into the backseat of this uber—captained by a 60-year-old grey-haired woman who’s discussing the status of her sickly 86-year-old mother with a hospital worker—my suspicions are verified. This isn’t just an interview with ORL rapper TEDD.GIF; it’s a story. Enjoy.
TVW: You’ve had mixtapes before, released on Soundcloud. With Lil Mixtape, there’s more hype around it; the image is tighter. What’s the difference between that and the rest of your work that’s come out so far?
T: This project is one of the more fun projects to me. You know, Lanlord Collectin produced the whole shit. He recorded it all. We did it all at his house. The direction of it was all organic. I didn’t have to think to much. Everything we did, we were just hanging out. It naturally came together.
If you check out the projects I’ve done, with most I work with one producer specifically because I like to catch a vibe and get chemistry. You know what I mean? We build a relationship. So, Lil Mixtape is me and Lanlord. And this is actually going to be a series because like, I love working with Lanlord. He’s one of my best friends now.
And Harryson – he’s my manager and shit – he told me to make some shit that you feel like is really going to connect with the people. “Give the people what they want.”
TVW: What do the people want?
T: With this project, I had a theme in my head. It’s kinda like The Qlone Wars. I was hanging out with my friends, and all of the music they were making, I was making my own version of certain tracks. I’d spit shit out in my own way. Maybe I’d listen to a track and be like, “I’m inspired by this. I’m going to make a track like this.”
TVW: Who were some of those inspirations?
I was listening to a lot of SoundCloud rap. Made in Tokyo. I fuck with him. Lanlord, he’s a DJ as well, so he plays a lot of music like that. So I was listening to a lot of new shit. We throw an event like every week or every other week, so I feel like it’s just influenced by the vibe of us and our friends n’ shit.
TVW: So like most of the lyrics, are they off the dome? It seems like it’s about the energy, like you said.
T: Most of the shit was really off the top of the head. But in the moment, we’d play music and I’d have an instant, a certain feeling like “this is it.” I’d have a concept and boom, we’d lay it down.
Landlord is a beast too. We work a certain way where we get shit done pretty fast. There’s like seven tracks on there. It’s not a lot, but those are the ones. We had a couple more. They might come out later, but they just didn’t fit. I didn’t want to give out too much because of people’s attention spans, nowadays. People just eat shit up, you know what I mean?
TVW: Features? Anybody else on there?
T: Yeah there’s a couple, not too many. It was on some gang shit. The people that I was really fucking with. I got Nick Prosper from Dark World. I got a track called “Sobriety Test” featuring RAELY, Young $ino, DeadMonBernz…
TVW: Yes! Yo, I love him. I’ve been fucking with his SoundCloud shit for a while.
T: Word. I’ll definitely link y’all up n’ shit.
TVW: He’s got some real connects on that art shit.
T: Naw, for sure. That’s how it is too. I do lots of other shit besides the music. I’ve built a lot of relationships that don’t have anything to do with music. You can branch out with other shit.
TVW: Nobody is doing one thing.
T: There are no excuses. All you really need is a laptop. That’s all you really need.
TVW: Question I wanted to ask you, so you opened for Sales, right? Why can you open for Sales? Like, Why does that work? Because that shouldn’t work.
T: I was actually surprised they wanted me to be on the show. You know, it was sold out and shit. I guess, you know, music is going in a lot of different directions. There’s a lot of culture being mixed together. There’s a lot of people coming together and I guess they wanted to show that. To expose people to something there not used to. And it was dope. People really enjoyed the set. And I’m really appreciative of them considering me for that. I actually have some music coming out with J SHIH from SALES.
TVW: The reason I think it works is because your music stretches beyond hip hop, into electronic and even ambient music. Is that because you listen to a lot of that?
T: Honestly, yeah. When i graduated high school in 2012, I was listening to a lot of electronic music because it was different. I used to write a lot of songs to those songs, low key. A lot of the songs the I write to certain beats, I put on a different type a beat. That didn’t happen with Lanlord. Because we were just creating these songs on the spot.
But, like I said I’ve been listening to electronic music for a while. I didn’t even listen to much rap at one point. I try to branch out. I need ideas. And like rap nowadays, a lot of the shit is repetitive so it’s hard to get inspiration.
TVW: So who have you been fucking with both in and out of the rap world.
T: I like different shit. Where you kind of question it, but the shit’s fire. You can’t really say anything. This is shit that somebody else couldn’t pull off, but they’re pulling it off.
TVW: Is that what you want to be too?
T: I feel like my shits different. I feel like a lot of the shit I say gets overlooked. Like, I’ll say a certain line and people don’t get what it means, don’t understand the reference. But I feel like people are starting to wake up.
I’m very in tune with everything that’s going on in the underground.
TVW: Is there a certain place that’s coming up?
T: Florida is definitely running shit right now, too many artists.
TVW: who do people need to know about?
T: TEDD.GIF. *laughs* There’s too many to name. I feel like I’d be leaving people out.
TVW: Follow him on SoundCloud! See what he’s listening too.
T: I actually don’t like too much on my TEDD.GIF SoundCloud, but I have a secret SoundCloud called xx80spy. I also do uploads to YouTube, very low key. I like to curate shit, have little things that people can follow-up on and find cool shit.
TVW: What you mean? What’s going on YouTube?
T: I can show you, bro. This is one of my channels, it’s called xx80spy. I just started this project a couple months ago. I got 21 Savage on here, SKI MASK, Pollari, Nessly.
TVW: Speaking of 21, I saw him and Lil Yachty on XXL Freshman Class. Yachty was talking about that he’s all about positivity. He wants to make people feel good. And how 21 is on the opposite side of that spectrum. You know like, murder music. Where do you fall on the spectrum?
T: I think I’d be closer to Lil Yachty. I like to make music people can have fun too. Even though certain songs are inspired by negative things or I feel like I’m releasing anger, but this project is not that. The Lil Mixtape project is more positive.
TVW: Would you say it’s your biggest, most official thing to date?
T: Yeah, it does feel like that. There’s some songs on there where I tried a lot of new shit. Honestly, I haven’t even heard the final version of the project. I’m just waiting for it come out tomorrow so I can listen to it just like everybody else.
TVW: What’s next?
T: A lot more music. Lil Mixtape, it feels like the past because it’s already been created. I’m trying to do a video for like every song. More mixtapes. I’m actually working on an EP now.