The world of hip-hop media is vast these days, especially compared to when podcasting began to take off. Platforms like Drink Champs and The Joe Budden Podcast remain authoritative platforms that provide insightful commentary on the industry. However, Taxstone played a pivotal role in developing the current climate of hip-hop media. The 37-year-old’s charisma, honesty, and sometimes callousness turned Tax Season into one of the most refreshing podcasts in hip-hop when it debuted eight years ago.
Unfortunately, his career in podcasting was cut short in 2017. On May 25th, 2016, a lethal shootout broke out at Irving Plaza in New York City during a T.I. concert that left Ronald “Banga” McPhatter dead. In January 2017, Taxstone was arrested and charged with the murder of McPhatter, who worked as Troy Ave’s bodyguard. Following the contentious trial in early 2023 that included testimony from Troy Ave, a New York State Supreme Court jury found him guilty of weapon possession charges, assault, and manslaughter for McPhatter’s death.
A judge handed down a 35-year sentence on June 20th, 2023. In response to his sentence, Taxstone shared a message on Twitter. He wrote, “Just got 35 years for being victimized and reversing the situation the beauty in it all is .. I’m not doing 35,” he wrote before signing off with his catchphrase, “Be safe tho.” For those that aren’t aware of Taxstone, we’re breaking down his career and legacy.
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Who Is Taxstone? His Beginnings
A native of East New York, Brooklyn, Taxstone was born Daryl Campbell on August 14th, 1985. His beginnings, however, weren’t entirely typical of the average upbringing in the Brooklyn neighborhood. He was affiliated with the Bloods (which he has since denounced) in his younger years, even though he was academically gifted. His mother exposed him to the entertainment industry at a young age. He became a child actor that served as an extra on shows like Law & Order, New York Undercover, and Die Hard 3. Unfortunately, when these extracurricular gigs didn’t pan out, Taxstone found himself getting into trouble. Eventually, he was sentenced to jail time before his release in 2012.
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Start In Podcasting
Following his stint in jail, Taxstone came home revitalized with a new plan. He grew a massive following on Twitter, thanks to his hilarious takes on pop culture and hip-hop. He met people like Kid Fury and began appearing on The Brilliant Idiots podcast with Charlamagne Tha God and Andrew Schulz. Fury, who also had a podcast on Loud Speakers Network, then recommended Taxstone to Combat Jack and Chris Morrow, who would later give him his own show. His podcast, Tax Season, debuted on March 18, 2015.
“I always knew how to talk, I was always witty and I just knew that I could make money from being myself. So when I met Kid Fury, he was telling me, ‘Yo man, you should get a podcast!’ I was considering it because I was seeing the money he was raking in off the live shows, and I was like, ‘I need to be part of this! I know how to talk!’” He told Bevel. “So I met Charlamagne [Tha God], then did Brilliant Idiots with Charlamagne, and then he just pushed it forward like, ‘Yo, we gotta get you a podcast!’ It just worked out since then.”
Read More: Troy Ave Testifies At Taxstone’s Murder Trial
The beauty of Tax Season is that it provided a breath of fresh air compared to other hip-hop podcasts. Taxstone’s curated talent for his show was based on his personal preferences rather than pressure from labels. Ultimately, this led to classic moments with people like Meek Mill and Kodak Black, who both appeared on his show.
Undoubtedly, he could’ve been miles ahead of the game if he wasn’t incarcerated. The podcast also gave him an incredible opportunity to showcase his A&R skills. He was ahead of the curve when it came to new New York artists, such as Desiigner and Bobby Shmurda. In fact, he played a pivotal role in bringing the Milly Rock to public cognizance.
Read More: Ebro Responds To Taxstone’s “Million Dollarz Worth Of Game” Comments, Explains His Issue With Him
Irving Plaza Shooting
The podcast personality was found guilty of shooting and killing Ronald “Banga” McPhatter” on March 23rd, 2023. Upon his 2017 arrest, he was charged with person with felony convictions in possession of a firearm and transporting and receiving a firearm and held in custody until trial. U.S. Attorney Hagen Scotten claimed Taxstone was responsible for being the one who “shot the fatal shot” that killed McPhatter.
Troy Ave was expected to take the stage at the concert when a fight broke out in the VIP section. Eventually, tensions escalated to the point of gunfire. Three people were injured, including Troy Ave, who suffered gunshot wounds to the leg. The rapper explained that he got into a tussle with Taxstone over the firearm. Troy Ave claimed self-defense in the matter. Police later discovered the weapon with Taxstone’s DNA allegedly found on the semi-automatic weapon. Regardless of these claims, Taxstone insisted that he was the one who was attacked and acted in self-defense.
Read More: Taxstone Defends Nicki Minaj’s Decision To Work With Tekashi 6ix9ine
Taxstone Found Guilty
On June 20th, 2023, Taxstone was sentenced to 35 years in prison after he was found guilty of four counts. These include one count of manslaughter in the First Degree, a class B felony, two counts of assault in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count of assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, and two counts of criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C felony.
Per Shawn Setaro, Taxstone dished out defiant final words targeted toward Troy Ave’s testimony on the stand. “Half the stuff that was told on the stand by Troy Ave is a complete lie to protect himself from going to jail,” he said. Still, the judge claimed that it was clear that Taxstone was “obviously” engaged in “the procurement of a false testimony.”
Despite the sentence, Taxstone said he doesn’t plan to be behind bars for three and a half decades. After berating the Manhattan district attorney, Christine Kennan, who he described as Troy Ave’s co-defendant, he stated that he was the one who was attacked. “How can you testify in open court that you and your friend decided to beat me up then beat me up and I protected myself and u claim self defense ???” he wrote. “Don’t worry my appeal will be swift.”