Big Tone - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman  

Big Tone

November 2005

Big Tone has found himself riding the wave of a buzz that is currently creating frenzy on the Detroit underground scene. After years of rhyming collaborating with some of hip hop's most prominent talents including Jay Dee, Dwele, Slum Village, and Lacks, Big Tone is releasing his self-produced solo project, The Drought, on ABB Records (summer 2005). Fresh off of a string of impressive releases; Partycrasher (Carl Craig's Antidote Music), the Wasted Youth EP 2 Minds, 1 Block (Bling 47 Group), It's Like That (JayDee's Welcome to Detroit LP), and the explosive single, "Its a Wrap", with Phat Kat, featuring Big Tone (Barak Records), Big Tone is bringing forth one of the most anticipated solo efforts to be released out of Detroit.

After moving away from his infamous 7 mile stomping grounds, the next neighborhood he called home was the Plymouth Road area of Detroitís west side, known as P-Rock. In the late 90's Tone began to make his rounds, and his presence felt in the D's underground scene. The Hip-Hop Shop, St. Andrew's Hall, Ebony Showcase, and The Lush all played a part of Tone's rapidly growing reputation. His first EP, Earcandy, earned the ears and respect of a wide audience, including established independent record label executive, Carl Craig (Planet E Communications). Craig became one of Tone's biggest mentors and friends in music. "The next thing I know, I was the next artist to sign to Planet E's sister label, Antidote Records," he recalls. After doing a few white label releases, Tone was exposed to a worldwide audience. It was these opportunities that also earned him a highlighted appearance, working with a friend and mentor Jay Dee on the song "Itís like that" which appeared on JayDee's Welcome to Detroit (BBE Records). He followed with a flash of brilliance on his self produced debut single, ďParty Crasher", which in return was mixed by JayDee. This Three song release solidified Big Tone as a commander on the mic, and augmented the custom of the artist/producer double threat.

One of Tone's most notable contributions to Detroit Hip-Hop was founding the group Wasted Youth. The first project from this group, "2 Minds, 1 Block", set ablaze the local scene and quickly became a phenomenon. "It never ceases to amaze me how a CD that is intended to touch no further than the hood, can find its way to the other side of the globe," Tone reflects. Due to popular demand the album was repressed and released through Bling 47 Group, and was instrumental in establishing the group's large fan base. Wasted Youth is currently working on a second project entitled Teen Spirit, which is scheduled for release fall 2005.

"I'm able to bridge the gaps between the different areas of rap music, because they've each played a role in my upbringing, I feel I've been able to create something universal because of this. 'The Drought' is my 'Illmatic'. It's my 'Reasonable Doubt'", Tone reveals, "The dominoes continue to fall, the next domino is my album. When that one falls, itís a wrap." With The Drought under his wing, Big Tone is promising not to disappoint those thirsty for the next big thing. (Bio taken from

MVRemix: I just want to start with some questions that delve into your past and background so the readers can get to know Big Tone beyond the music. So to start, can you tell us where you were born and raised? What was it like growing up there for you?

Big Tone: Born and raised on Detroitís Northwest side - 7 Mile and Southfield. Then we moved to the Plymouth Road and Telegraph area, which is approximately 15 minutes away. Traditional urban middle class upbringing. Just your regular cat in the hood.

MVRemix: How would you say your environment or surroundings helped shaped you into the man you are today?

Big Tone: Just being able to experience and witness the things you see as a youth in Detroit makes you firmly aware of how serious life is. Itís definitely not a game. So I think it made me a strong person, as well as appreciative of all opportunities.

MVRemix: How would you characterize yourself - introverted or extroverted?

Big Tone: Iím definitely an introvert. I think anyone who knows me will tell you that. Never been one to crave the center of attention. I could be right next to you at a club and you wouldnít know it. Thatís just me.

MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip-Hop?

Big Tone: My folks were in real estate when I was young. I remember having to help clean out houses when I was like 9 or 10. This one cat who got evicted was a DJ and left all his vinyl there. I remember just going through his wax, seeing everything. Run DMC, Whodini, Slick Rick - just crates everywhere. That was my first introduction to stuff I had never heard.

MVRemix: What was the one album you constantly listened to growing up?

Big Tone: D.O.C.ís The Formula. Before that, LLís BAD. It was so much back then, but those are two I remember.

MVRemix: How did you first get into rhyming?

Big Tone: Just seeing older niggas in the neighborhood do it. I remember my next door neighbors had a party, and these two cats were battling. I had never seen anyone freestyle before. I had to be like 10. I think thatís really what provoked it. Me and a few of my dogs just picked up on it, but it just kind of stuck with me.

MVRemix: How did you start to make a name for yourself locally at first, and then on a bigger scale?

Big Tone: Just being around the spots. The Hip-Hop Shop, St. Andrewís, Ebony Showcase, The Phathouse. All these open mic places we used to frequent back in the day. Plus, just being in the studio all the time. It just escalated from there.

MVRemix: How would you describe your rhyme style or sound? What are your strong points as an emcee?

Big Tone: Raw, yet polished. Iíve always appreciated flow. Cats who could make you follow the pattern in which they rhymed, and still kept your attention. Plus, express exactly what they wanted as well. I think thatís one of my strong points.

MVRemix: How did you hook up with Jay-Dee for his Welcome To Detroit album?

Big Tone: My man House Shoes hooked it up. He gave Jay a couple of white labels I had done, and Jay wanted to work after that. Shoes got at me and plugged it.

>>> continued...

Related content:
  • Big Tone 2005 Interview by Hugo Lunny
  • Big Tone 2005 Interview by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman

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    "Iím definitely an introvert. I think anyone who knows me will tell you that. Never been one to crave the center of attention"