Exclaim.ca chops it up with the homie Tona. Silverspring Crescent available now. Chyea!
Tona On Rap, Race and Scarborough’s Legacy.
By Luke Fox
The artist formerly known as Daetona has come a long way from spitting in a Kris Kross-styled kiddie rap crew in Toronto’s Chester Le housing projects, or from the battle rapper who slaughtered us with punch lines of a looped telephone dial tone. Soon after he nearly quit the rap game entirely, Tona hit the studio with fellow Toronto stalwart Rich Kidd and cranked out his most versatile work to date. Silverspring Crescent is the sound of an MC flexing his conceptual and sonic range. Over Long Island iced teas on the eve of his album release, Tona details his growth as an artist, his epic (rigged?) cross-town battle with Blake Carrington, and what the hell it means to “Jay Electronica a hoe.” Scarborough, stand up.
Why go with just one producer, Rich Kidd, for Silverspring Crescent?
The chemistry works. I’ve been working with Rich Kidd for a very long time. He has so many different directions he can take his sound, and it sounds so polished. He’s one of the best producers, period, not even talking Canada. His sounds fits my format so well, we started clicking. There’s not many people that would’ve selected half the joints I choose to rhyme over onSilverspring Crescent. But those are the ones I’m drawn to. And he’s consistent with his shit. As long as dudes like Rich Kidd and others are elevating their game to that level, I’ll always be able to put out quality music.
What is the working relationship like?
Now that he’s getting his artistry together, he doesn’t have as much time as he used to. He’s always been an artist as long as I’ve known him, but now, due to schedules clashing, he might send me a batch of joints and I’ll send them back to him. He’ll add to it, finish it up and we’ll put it out. That’s the way it’s been working lately.
Any worry that, since he raps as well, he might hog the best beats for his own project?
If I were him, I’d be doing that. I wouldn’t give rappers my best shit. [Laughs] But all of his shit sounds crazy, so how can you separate?
Does he ever give you guidance on the vocals?
You know what happens? He’ll give his ideas through beat titles; they’ll already have a concept sometimes. Especially with Silverspring Crescent, he’ll name the beat something crazy like, “She Can Get It,” and the way the beat moves, sometimes the title is perfect — this is what I’m-a call the track. That’s not a formula I’d recommend for anybody, but it works for me.
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