Tonedeff – The 730 Interview
Tonedeff is the hip-hop incarnation of WebTV. Go with it for a second – something that was way ahead of its time, brilliant, and underappreciated as hell. Before any MC was worried about connecting with fans on a more personal level, before Twitter’s parents even met, where was Tone? On the QN5 message boards, building the brand. Oh, before rappers were talking about their brand, what was Tone doing? Building his brand, slanging one baby blue QN5 shirt at a time. Oh, merch? Yeah, Tone did that too, whether it was for QN5 artists like PackFM or the supergroup Extended F@mm (which may be coming back – check the interview), yeah, Tone did that too. The guy is always stylish from his feet to even his laptop, which was customized with Mac Decals. And don’t forget the huge QN5 Mega Shows, touring the country, or putting you on to dope acts like Kokayi. Tone did all of that too. And that’s not even mentioning his solo project Archetype, an underground classic. But Tone didn’t die off the way of WebTV. He just evolved. Got stronger. He’s like what the next generation of Chromecast would be. But he’s it now. Something like that.
But while Tone’s early accomplishments and innovations are all revolutionary, it’s also in the past. Today Tone is focused more on himself and his new artists, Fjer and Lucy Camp. Having just dropped his second solo album Polymer this summer, a confessional that is the most introspective Tonedeff’s ever gotten, and if you listened to songs like “Porcelain,” that’s saying something. Musically, it’s ambitious, as Tone does a little bit of everything, including the wall of sound. It’s an album that you can’t just listen to once or give a cursory interview about what it was like to make it and what’s your favorite track and thanks for stopping by. It’s an album that requires a dissection and in that process, one has to step back and ask themselves if it’s the music or themselves that’s under the microscope.
That’s why you’re getting this super-long interview with someone I’ve always respected for not only putting his own blood, sweat, and tears in the game with no rich relatives, but someone who wears their heart on their sleeve and is always finding new ways to be innovative. There’s not too many artists left that I can honestly say that about, so it’s kind of a big deal when I get to interview one of them. Need anymore reasons to check the interview?
Oh yeah. Find out the answer to that one question you know you want to ask but you just can’t because it’s been asked so many damn times before and if I ask the question and Tone gets pissed he’s gonna hang up and that’s going to be embarrassing and ruin all the questions I agonized over prepping for this and then how do I edit the interview to make it sound like it’s all good and really, it would just be a huge mess. I didn’t even ask it, but still got you an answer. These interviews are just that good.
Cop 730’s debut interview collection Words, featuring some of his best interviews, here (Kindle) or here (physical).