Murder, music, cannabis, and karma — Ta Smallz is back with Bizzy Bone and a new Cannabis Anthem, and after more than thirty years he’s finally on his way to finding justice for his mother’s murder. Treating PTSD with cannabis and solving homicides with hip-hop — The Tale of Ta Smallz is no small story.
You may know his songs featuring members of Bone Thugs n’ Harmony, or seen him model for Tommy Hilfiger or Ed Hardy, or recognize him as a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block and Marky Mark. But Ta Smallz’ life story has a tragic beginning, one that led him to success fulfilling the family band dream, and put him on a mission of positivity.
Ta Smallz’ family moved from Ohio to California when we was 5 years old. His parents had a rock band called Koyna, and moved to the Golden State to pursue their music careers. Things got difficult in his parent’s relationship and as many parents do, his separated. In December 1983, less than three weeks before the happiest time of year for most families, Ta Smallz awoke to find his mother missing. What was left in her place was her bloody bedroom, a vicious crime scene where Marsha Carter was brutally murdered.
His Mother’s Murder
Ta Smallz recalls the night his mother was murdered,“He came into our house while we were sleeping, locked us in our rooms, stabbed my mother 25 times in the face, cut off her fingers, put a hole in her chest. My 3 brothers, I had a brother 9 years, 7 years old, and 11 months old, we woke up to this. We just saw blood and fingerprints all over the place, and blood all over the walls. I didn’t know what it was. My mom wasn’t there, so me and my brothers sat around, then went into the bedroom. I didn’t know that blood congealed. It looked like jelly. I’m only 11 years old, and so I touched it and put it in my mouth. [I’m like] That’s blood. We gotta get out of here.”
“So I ran across the street to a neighbor’s house to call the police. It was just my two brothers, I had our 11 month old that was underneath the bed that we didn’t know. When the police came, they went into the house, it was ransacked, blood everywhere. They looked under the bed, and my little brother was there covered in blood. My mother’s body was missing for two weeks. It was Christmas at that time, it was December 6, 1983. Two days before Christmas, they said they found my mother’s body and we had to go identify her. We had to drive to Sacramento. They drove her body two hours away, from the Bay to Sacramento. We found her in the trunk of the car. We didn’t get to go to the funeral unfortunately (it was in Ohio). They shipped her body back to California.”
“For a lot of reasons, my mom’s mom and my father had some differences, so we didn’t get to go [to the funeral]. So we had to go see our mother, because the psychiatrist said it was best to go see my mother dead than us wonder… This is what they said, I’m a child, I didn’t know. A year later, we were just really having some hard times. My father was taking care of us. He was going through a depression because he broke up with my mom. We were in East Oakland and we were really struggling, like we were starving. Homeless. My grandparents, said ‘Get em back here, Papa’ (that’s what they called my father). ‘Get em back here, you guys can’t make it out there.’”
“I was always an entertainer and wanted to fulfill my mother and father’s dream. So when I moved back to Canton, Ohio, I met a group Gerald Levert & the O’ Jays, from Cleveland. I started dancing for them. I was choreographing and started dancing for New Kids on the Block and Marky Mark. So we were background dancing for Mark [Whalberg], then we secured a deal with Island Records, in 1993 as little kids. It was me and my brothers, a group called School Boyz. Then we eventually called ourselves Life, which I ended up keeping the name and turning it into my label. We ended up getting that deal in 1993, and that didn’t work out. So I started a home record label. In 1999, I signed and I put out some albums and singles, and then my father died. He died from kidney failure, on dialysis. When he died, there was still a lot of tension with my mom’s mom and my father. I said I’m moving out here [California], to start my record label. I had an album called Have it My Way. I moved my children and my mother came to me in a dream.”
“She said, ‘You can do this. Everyone thinks that I’m scared of him [her murderer], but he is scared of me.’ She said [in my dream], ‘if we try to do this, we could find out who killed her.’”
“So I quit my album, Have it My Way. I stopped the album. I said, you know what, I’m gunna name the album Who Killed My Momma?”
“I would shake at night. I was having bad dreams, and I couldn’t sleep. My baby’s mother was like, we need to get some help. I said, ‘Well, I’m gunna find out who did it.’”
He started calling the Richmond police. “I told them I wanted all the information. I want anything you can find out about my mother. They were like, ‘We can’t just give you that information.’”
“I replied, ‘Well, I’m just gunna do it myself.’ I got with Cash Money, and 50 Cent, Juelz Santana, and all my star friends. We used sound power, basically saying, Can ya’ll help us find out? We did a DVD. I actually drove my tour bus up to the place where my mother was killed, and just knocked on the door. I’m like, ‘My mother got killed here, and I wanna know, can I come in here?’”
“He [the new owner of the house] said, ‘I knew you were gunna come,’ and he starts crying. ‘I knew you were going to come back one day. I remember you.’”
“The people who killed my mom were calling us and threatening us, like screaming, ‘I’m gunna kill you!’ I’d answer the phone, and my mom would be going crazy. My mom was trying to move. We were moving away. But she didn’t move fast enough. So anyway, I came to the door, he’s like, ‘I bought the house when you were a little kid. I bought it two months after it happened, cause it went down low, no one would buy it.’”
“He invited us in, walked us around the house. He said, ‘That’s the knife marks in the floor where your mom was.’ Then pointed at the back door and starts shaking and says, ‘For 6 months your mom’s blood was on the back door, and I just left it there. I just didn’t even want to believe that’s what it was.’”
“We went through a lot. I was filming this for my DVD. When I packaged my album, I made a song called Life, featuring Lazy Bone and Bizzy Bone. Shout out to Lazy Bone and Bizzy Bone! We started a record label together. The song Life was about my mother. It really blew up over the internet. I just asked the world, ‘If you have any ideas, or if you can pray for me in anyway, call my number, email me.’ It took 2-3 years, then someone called. And then they said they had a DNA hit. I started the Who Killed My Momma Movement.”
Murder Cold Case Solved 33 Years Later
Ta Smallz album and songs about his mother’s murder made waves in the universe, and the universe responded 6 years later. Calvin Featherson, who was an original witness in the case, came forward in late 2016 offering his testimony to help convict Marsha Carter’s murderer, Sherill Smothers. According to Ta Smallz, he came down with cancer and a case of a guilty conscience prompted him to come clean to authorities.
In 1983, Calvin Featherson, an acquaintance of Smothers, came forward with his story as police searched for Marsha’s whereabouts. Featherson told police that weeks earlier, Smothers had offered him $500 to help him kill Marsha. He said Smothers told him he wanted to break into Carter’s home, kill her and dump her body in a Sacramento hotel parking lot. He said Smothers showed him a map of Sacramento, and pointed to a hotel parking lot where he wanted to dump her once murdered. Police searched that parking lot and that’s where they found her body stuffed in the trunk of her car.
Sherill Smothers was an original person of interest, someone who Marsha Carter dated and had broken up with. Ta Smallz recalls his mother telling him in his dreams the identity of his killer, but without hard evidence it couldn’t be proven to authorities.
After Featherson came forward, a Richmond police cold case detective took a second look at the case and was able to successfully link Sherill Smothers to the crime scene through blood DNA evidence. Smothers was originally questioned by police about Marsha’s murder in 1983. He said he had an alibi which was a friend he’d gone out for ice cream with. The friend, who Featherson said Smothers recruited, backed up the alibi, and because of that alibi the investigation went cold for 33 years.
Featherson testified under oath, that he was planning to tell police about Smothers’ scheme before Marsha was killed, but he was worried they wouldn’t believe him. He said his plan was to get the $500, then tell police, and show them money as evidence. He said he didn’t hear from Smothers for a few days, then turned on the news one night and realized Carter was a missing person.
“I’m so sorry that I didn’t go to the police sooner,” he said to the grand jury.
Featherson’s word, on its own, wasn’t enough to charge Smothers with a crime. Featherson secretly recorded conversations between the two. In one conversation, Smothers asked if Featherson had told police “about the maps” but never confessed to killing Marsha.
In August 2016, Sherill Smothers was indicted by a secret grand jury in Contra Costa County . September 14, 2016 he was arrested at his home. He awaits sentencing and faces additional penalization for murder with the use of a knife. He is currently out on a $1.3million bond right now.
Karma Really Does Exist
With a karmic twist, five years after the brutal slaying of of Marsha Carter, her murderer got into a car accident with his family. His family was thrown out [of the car], ended up safe without a scratch on them. He got paralyzed from the neck down, so now he’s a quadriplegic. He was hit by a drunk driver, but the Corvette convertible roof flew off during the accident. He sued General Motors and was awarded $6.1million.
Cannabis & PTSD
“Since I do suffer from post traumatic stress, I use medical marijuana. I eat foods infused with medical marijuana. I have my own strains Life OG and Carter Kush. She [my daughter Mikkel] has one coming out called Rose Buds.
It relaxes me. I moved around a lot. I’ve had a couple of accidents. I have neuropathy in my legs, and I was shot. It helps with that and the whole PTSD thing. It just gets my mind right. That’s why I smoke a lot of indicas, because it just relaxes me and keeps me calm. It keeps my thoughts and vibe positive and good.”
The Inspiration for High Off Life
“High Off Life is my new album with my kids. The group is called The Carter. The inspiration of this album is to let people know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I put out the Who Killed My Momma album. We were going for it, it was something that had never been done. I was using it to create a result. On this [album] the result was created. Now we’re High Off Life. It’s a triple [meaning]. It’s the name of my group, it’s the name my medical marijuana and I’m high off life of the world. The most high of everybody.
This is what this album is. It’s a celebration of life and love and spreading the word of love and peace. The Carter’s [album] is called Universal Service. Our goal with Life Entertainment is to spread love, peace, joy and understanding to the world. And that’s what we do. That’s our mission. That’s our crusade. We’re about love and positivity. We’ve been through a lot, this family, and this record label. We’re still here. I’m blessed.”
What’s Next for Ta Smallz
His new album is called Euphoric Audio, featuring a 12 person band of his family members. Ta Smallz penned a book called, “Who Killed My Momma,” and he says after the book comes out he will be making a feature film to follow it up. He currently has Mark Whalberg, 50 Cent and Ice Cube involved in the project.
High Off Life features artists like Lil Wayne, Birdman, Too Short, E40, The Carter. He also has his clothing line Life Line, in addition to modeling contracts for brands like Pink Dolphin.
He has inked partnerships with Culinary Bud Delights and Reefer City Farms for his Life OG strain of flower and edibles line coming out. Additionally, he has a brand of vapes called Life Lite Vapes by Rokin and a glass line called Life Glass.
“[We plan to do] tours and conventions [especially in the states that have just legalized] so people have awareness how to use it and be safe with to and not to break any laws. And also to let them be aware and healing that it does, a lot of people don’t know. You can eat it vape it, some people just really don’t know,” he said.
He wants to spend time educating places like his home state of Ohio, to spread the knowledge
You can expect to see “The 420 Roll Up” music video released June 2018, featuring Bizzy Bone and Mikkel Carter (and Edibles Magazine). He says, “We wanted to do it on 4/20 to show a day in the life. I wanted to show what we’re actually doing on 4/20.”
In addition to Culinary Bud Delights, Chef Nuha catered an infused lunch for the music video shoot at the Hollywood Hills mansion. They went on to film a live performance at the 4/20 Friday Night Sesh at The 420 Nurses offices in Canoga Park.
Family Marijuana Use
When asked what his views were on using cannabis as a family, Ta Smallz says he waited until his children became of age to share the cannabis plant with them.
His daughter Mikkel says,”I started after high school. I moved out to LA and became a stoner.”
Ta Smallz says, “I’ve been smoking since I was 12. That’s when it happened for me because I was going through a lot.”
Future of Cannabis
“I’m a recording artist, but I’m a philanthropist. I just want to get the awareness out there of what it can help [with] and do. That’s why I’m so strong. We’re doing a couple events with NORML. My thing is, to bring the awareness of how much it can help people. We don’t have to use all these pills. We don’t need like a percocet, or a darvocet or a quaalude. You can smoke, you can vape, or whatever [you like]. That’s my mission with it.”
“But I do think it’s going to go public. We’re going to see a lot of people from sports figures to celebrities, and just a lot more. Get ready for it. Do I support that? Yes, I think so. But I think it should be done tastefully. I think it should be done right. And that it should be focused on the awareness that we can’t forget what we’re here for. I know for me, I’m a reminder. I know what I’m here for, and that’s Universal Service, and to spread love to the world.”
Favorite Way to Medicate
“First and foremost flower. I really like the oils and I really have been enjoying medicated soda lately. Sprig hit us up!”
You can find The Carter, High Off Life and Ta Smallz on Facebook/Twitter, LabelLife.co
B. Le Grand