“This just turned into a high priority, labels try ignoring me
I’m one man who can’t make up the whole majority
Cleaning up this whole rap game is just a chore to me
So people be prepared for war, cause I clean often” (Major)
Not only am I from Toronto, but more specifically, I’m from Scarborough, which is a region that used to be (and is often still looked at) a city that stood on its own. There’s a passion that thrives from Scarborough that I can only put into comparison with the passion that any of the 5 boroughs of New York hold true to themselves. People from other regions in the city are not as die-hard (no pun) loyal to the city, and the reputation that Scarborough has is often a misconception that has been negatively influenced by the media outlets in the city. People who reside in Scarborough for long periods of time (not including myself here) can attest to that statement. With that being said, it gives people a chip on their shoulder and a boost of confidence that they take into their field of choice (whether they’re ambitious enough) to represent their region to the most high.
I grew up in Scarborough, and I had a lot of friends that rapped. Freestyle battles, beatboxing, discussing new music, and even recording their own was a common past time – as it is for many urban (okay, let’s just say Black) communities. There are a few Scarborough rappers that I’ve been listening to for a while and they’ve had their share of success, but one of the rappers that had an immediate impact for me was Tona. I was introduced to Tona’s music in 2009 when I heard his second mixtape, Direct Deposit. The vocal strength and production is what wanted me to listen to him more, because having heard the same generic ‘Toronto’ rap over and over again, you’re in dire need for a change, and that was it – mind you, I wasn’t the analytic type then that I am now, so times have changed. The beats that were provided by Lyve were hard hitting and they complimented his lyrics well (Major – the lyrics quoted at the top, is one of my personal favourites). I think the thing was that he didn’t sound Canadian, but he sounded like he was from New York a little bit, and on the track ‘U Know It’ with Skyzoo, it’s evident that if it was the first time you listened to him, you would have thought the same.
After D.D, there was a major break in his music, but if you look at his whole catalogue, there are long breaks in between. However, it does say a lot that a project that came out almost 4 years ago is still getting spins like it came out yesterday – that’s what’s missing in the game, and that’s what I think Tona can provide for years to come if he decides to continue doing this music for a living. I think he should, because when he teamed up with fellow Toronto rapper/producer (but also internationally known) Rich Kidd, there was a boost in quality that had already been at a high standard. We Do, Hennessy Thoughts, and Blue Shield feature the two teaming up (from Reform School), and it’s a collaboration that I hope goes on for a while, because something big can happen there. Tona is a rapper that doesn’t come around often, because he’s not trying to sound like everyone else that’s out there – the quality of music and his rap ability reflect that, and it’s great to see that homegrown talent still has the ability to find something unique and represent individualism that many don’t seem to have. It’s a copycat system nowadays, and people just want to be put on, just to get put on. Tona is an artist that you can listen to repetitively and actually want to hear more because it’s fresh and step away from the norm of what you hear today, while keeping consistent of the fundamentals of Hip Hop. Entertain and educate is the name of the game, and Tona can provide that. This is one artist I think you should definitely check out (start here) and it’s a good sign of things to come from the city of
That’s My Word & It STiXX