In the words of CL…
“I reminisce for a spell, or shall I say think back…”
[Alot of folks call Octavis Berry “Tavis” (pronounced TAY-viss), but I always called him Tay because that’s what he called himself when he called me.]
To put it lightly, Tay had a boisterous and outgoing personality. He was exactly the type of in-your-face hip hop cat who would call himself “Esbe Da 6th Street Bully”. He was a family and community oriented man of the people who’d dealt with his share of losses.
Both of Tay’s brothers had already passed away, beginning with the oldest, Kenny, who was murdered in 1994. Kenny’s son, Lil’ Kenny, passed 10 years later at age 13 after returning to a burning car trying to save his little brother.
Tay’s other brother, LaDarrick, was known as his biggest supporter. “Everywhere he went he made sure people knew about his little brother,” said Tay’s sister-in-law Juanna. “LaDarrick was very proud of Tavis’ dream.” LaDarrick was killed in a home invasion in Illinois in late 2010.
“Tavis has been like a father to my boys [LaDarrian, Simeon] since LaDarrick and I divorced,” she said. “He had been a driving force in LaDarrian’s life, encouraging him to work on his own music and dream and Tavis was an awesome daddy to his kids.”
LaDarrian raps as DoWrong and, of course, rolls with the LOEGz.
Tay was the charismatic, free-spirited kind of guy that most people liked, and would do anything for. He had a hardcore, witty intellectual personality like a young Paul Mooney. Tay had the energy and candor of a Killer Mike or dead prez, both of whom he has recorded with in the past year or two as a member of Dred Skott.
The last time I saw Tay in Austin was at Reggie and I’s listening party for the SANCT EP. After leaving town I found out that another extremely talented Austin emcee, Young Nick, and his crew the GUUD, didn’t make it over because Nick had been rushed to the hospital after having a seizure. Doctors found a fungus the size of a plum behind one of his eyes.
When I last spoke with Nick, he sounded like he’s recovering well from surgery and very aware of his mortality. Last night, he and I spoke again. This time Nick was calling to confirm the rumors about Tay’s passing.
Life is short, precious, delicate and very much a gift. Octavis Berry has three children (Tavarious, Octavis Junior and Krystal) and a fourth on the way… He is survived by a sister, Angela, and five additional siblings on his dad’s side back in Chicago.