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Tonedeff - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

The Archetype

February 2005

For those unfamiliar with Tonedeff, you're now about to be enlightened. Aside from exploring this in depth interview regarding Tone's long awaited official debut Archetype, you can also check out an interview (conducted in 2002) here which includes more insight into the producer / rapper / designer / entrepreneur.

2005 appears to be the year where all Tone's hard work comes through to fruition.

MVRemix: What made you originate QN5 and what do the letters stand for?

Tonedeff: Basically, I started QN5 as an outlet to release the music projects that I was working on.QN5 essentially means 5x5x5. The idea is to be 5-steps ahead of the game creatively at all times.

MVRemix: The other "def" man, Mos Def recently released "The New Danger" to mixed reviews. His experimentation and singing brought about mixed reactions. What made you decide to mix up rapping and singing on Archetype?

Tonedeff: Ahhh, yes. Me & Mos are gonna form a duo called The Deffersons, and release an album on Def Jam. "The New Danger" is a completely different album than Archetype. Those fans that have been following my work for some time won't be suprised by the singing, as I've included a ton of singing/melodic work on all my previous albums (ie. "Homecoming King" on The Monotone EP, "Fast" on Hyphen, "Morethanthis" on Underscore). It's something I've always worked into my music, because it truly comes from the heart and it is not an attempt to "be smooth" or any shit like that. I hate modern R&B music with a passion...but I don't feel we've really scratched the surface with what hip-hop is capable of musically just yet. Archetype is basically the first prototype in a series of steps towards that change. Word.

MVRemix: What do you think of artists like John Legend and Van Hunt?

Tonedeff: They're talented dudes. I wonder what College Dropout would sound like without John Legend's input. Prolly woulda been a very different story. I definitely think they're on the right path for their genre of music. But they're singers by nature. The standards are different. It's a very different thing to be an MC by its very definition and sing from the heart on the same record.

MVRemix: Good point. So, how long has Archetype now been "in-the-making" for?

Tonedeff: The concept for the album has been rummaging around in my brain for years...and I've started the album a few times...and some ideas I kept, and others I tossed...some I turned into b-sides and released on other records...but as far as actual production time, start-to-finish...this album probably took about 2 years to finish in its current form. Most of that was due to me being all over the place trying to build the label up and produce mad shit for everyone else at the same time.

MVRemix: Tell me about "Archetype."

Tonedeff: It's a new sound. I can't put it any other way. I know everyone says that in just about every interview in every fucking music magazine known to man, but anyone that's heard this album will vouch for me. I've taken issue with people's reluctance to accept change in this particular genre of music. Then everyone gets pissed that "everything sucks." That's not a good look for the music itself.

The idea behind the album was to create something sonically beautiful in a way that a hip-hop album hasn't done yet. It's very lush, very melodic and versatile. Like a great rock album, it will accommodate every mood you may be in. Every song is different from the next, yet it all sonically works together. It's a real demonstration of my full range of talents. And most importantly, I feel like it's a true reflection of my creativity as opposed to the 'assembly-line' approach I see in hip-hop nowadays.

It's not the typical MC album you hear now - where the label hires 25 of the "hottest" producers to craft the record, and throws their "artist" into the booth to record their "hot 16s" to a track with a ready-made hook. Archetype a real-deal album that should be listened to as one piece of music, and not on some 30-second Winamp skip-through review shit. I did damn near everything on it - from the writing, to the hooks, to the singing, to the production (on 10 of the 15 tracks), to the engineering, to the design of the artwork. There aren't that many MCs that will take that much responsibility for their albums, but I will, because I know that it's supposed to be done this way.

It's one of the most honest and challenging albums you'll hear. It's a hip-hop album for people that genuinely love music, not 'elitists' or 'snobs' that want to criticize a high-hat on the 4th measure of the 3rd verse, cause they can 'do it better'.

It's got production by Domingo, Kno, Elite, Versifier & E-L (Sweden), and a track with Wordsworth, Rise, Supastition and Extended Famm.

MVRemix: What sort of subjects do you discuss? Which track has the most meaning for you?

Tonedeff: The album is pretty much life-music. I talk about everything from being a kid in modern America, threesomes, my inner struggle with temptation and religion - and everything in between. I say a lot of shit, and people will definitely have a better idea of who I am as a person through repeated listens of this record. There's plenty that people will be able to identify with.

It's hard for me to pick just one track off the record, because I'm fond of all of them for different reasons. They all represent some sort of personal milestone for me. But my personal favorite tracks are "Masochist," "Porcelain," and "Gathered," but I don't want to give away the surprise for those who want to experience everything fresh upon the first listen.

MVRemix: Compare the album to a designer label or car and explain why that was chosen.

Tonedeff: I wouldn't even know where to start on this one, 'cause I've never really been into fashion or cars. Haha.

>> continued...

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