History has shown that the most successful artists in hip-hop history have worn multiple hats. Whether that means heading label, businesses (like Rick Ross’ Wing Stop for example) – or even making a go at other forms of media such as film, TV or radio. In today’s fickle marketplace, and as hip-hop/music has evolved into a billion dollar industry, not diversifying your portfolio seems almost irresponsible, especially if your goals involve longevity and financial stability.
Meet Son of Tony, whose stage name is in loving memory of his late father. He’s quite an interesting artist – especially when we’re talking about “diversity.” Aside from multiple releases, including his most recent The Son And His Father, he’s also a veteran radio host in Ohio, who helped start and co-host Flip & Flex Radio, and Xclusive Vibe Radio on Power 109.9. He’s a well-rounded cat, with a determination to get his messages out to the masses – by any means necessary. AAHIPHOP caught up with him to chat about his career and his latest music. Check the interview below.
How did you get involved in hip-hop music?
I got involved in music through my family. Always hearing what they were playing around me – and songs that caught my attention during big scenes in movies. It helped to influence me. I started writing at ten. I just never saw myself serious about it until 2014. The most natural gift I have, I never chased. I got involved in music to change my life. Something in my confidence changed. I just know I make the kind of music that can compete with what’s being played today.
You’re an interesting artist because you’re also an established radio personality. How does that influence your approach to music?
Radio changed my approach to music. I listened to so many submissions for the station, I heard so much lack of respect, copycatting, and false promotion of the unworthy, I set out to change that. I focused on releasing a project I knew would get a response. I hosted a radio show on Power 1099, Flip & Flex radio, in Ohio last year called Xclusive Vibe Radio. This was a significant turning point for me. Not just because of the profession or listeners, but because of what was being said in so much of the music. So, I started writing and recording about my life. It’s personal, it’s Hip Hop, but I’m in it for the money and the opportunities. Somebody, somewhere, can relate to at least one song on the project. It was written with a worldly view. Having radio and product to sell is a force to be acknowledged. It changes the odds a little.
How did you get into radio? What is your take on the role radio plays in today’s hip-hop landscape?
What radio considers to be hot today is not a true reflection of the total climate of Hip Hop. It focuses more on sound, hook, dance, and fashion. Not substance. Not the message. Sometimes we have to remind people that Hip Hop originates from the streets of New York. That Hip Hop will always belong to the streets. No matter how much globalization you attach to it. This music landscape is fickle. So many underground artists never get the shot for that great talent because it’s about how much can be made off you and your image. It’s about money, not talent. And this makes it tougher for us all.
Tell me about The Father & His Son project.
The Son And His Father Tape is different. The aggression. The beat selection. The content. For a debut project, it’s incredibly versatile, while remaining true to the messages. It’s real life. It’s cinematic. It’s violent without overkill. Raw and honest. My life put out there for all to hear. The pain and glory of it all. Somebody has to carry the torch for the people who make music this generation can relate to. So many concepts to choose from. Any one song is full of discussion matter. They will all understand the strength of this project in due time. There’s a lot of new music that’s out to compete with. I’m holding steady.
What are your goals as a music artist?
My goal is to reach the underdog. The downtrodden. The abused and forgotten. The poor and rich alike, though. There’re levels to my music. I want to sell out arenas. Collab with greats who helped to mold the culture. I want to be known as one of the authentics. The one with original style, sound, and subject matter. In short, I just want to be the best artist I can be, without selling my soul. That’s not negotiable.
Do you see yourself remaining independent – or pursuing a major deal? Do you think labels still matter in 2015?
Who’s to say if the right situation comes along that I won’t sign with a major. Until then, I’m independent. I’m unsigned. I’m hungry. If you’re not in this for the money, why be here? I’m writing, recording, and performing until I amass a fortune. And yes, labels still matter. Those are machines with all the avenues and unlimited resources, but independent still matters too. We still set trends and the “bar” as well.
Do you have any last words you’d like to leave our readers with?