Written by phayde



A truly daring boundary pusher and visionary, emcee/producer/singer-songwriter Tonedeff shatters the mold of conventional hip-hop, imbuing it with the sense of depth, honesty and self-sufficiency more attributed to an author than a rapper. Influenced by a diverse range of artists – Common, Tori Amos, Enya, The Prodigy and Bjork for example – his fearless style is a seemingly impossible dichotomy of dense technical emceeing, emotive crooning, and cross-genre fusion. A true presentation of what Hip Hop is capable of if set free from the confines of stereotype and cliche.

With a background as colorful as his talents, this first-generation Cuban-Colombian grew up in Chicago, IL, before moving to Miami, FL for the remainder of his adolescence. He began recording and performing at age of 12, eventually landing on The Arsenio Hall Show at the tender age of 16 – inciting offers from several major labels, which were subsequently turned down to focus on a visual arts degree. Even then, his uncompromising auteurial spirit was evident.

While still in college, he launched the indie label, QN5 Music in 1997 with the release of The Monotone EP, but it wasn’t until relocating to Queens, NY at 21 that the well-traveled emcee really began making noise. Tearing through the city’s notorious underground battle scene, he quickly gained a reputation for his breathless stage show and unrivaled flow (clocking in at 14 Syllables Per Second). He began opening for the likes of esteemed acts such as Common and Masta Ace, gracing the buzz columns of The Source Magazine and URB, as well as appearing on MTV’s Hip Hop Week. During this period, he released a series of work including the enhanced Hyphen EP, followed by 2002’s Happy F*ck You Songs with Extended Famm, Underscore in 2003, countless guest spots for artists such as KRS-One, CunninLynguists and Immortal Technique, finally culminating with the release of his critically acclaimed debut album Archetype in 2005 and a set at Lollapalooza in 2006. All of this done without a promotional budget.

Then…silence. Hip Hop suddenly turned a corner, adopting everything Tonedeff had done years prior only to be met with resistance and ridicule – technophobic street rappers now pushed Tumblr blogs, tough guys morphed into auto-tuned crooners, fast rap became the stardust of YouTube content and major labels cloaked their artists as indie upstarts. The script had been flipped and the credits were disseminated amongst those seen reading it, not it’s writers. He spent the next few years focused on QN5 releases, executive producing gems such as Substantial’s Sacrifice (2008) and PackFM’s I F*cking Hate Rappers (2010), touring internationally while continuing to develop a new sound.

And just like that, the same changes he had predicted and had preemptively set in motion had now provided fertile ground for a new kind of experimentation. Listeners now streamed internet radio on random and were inundated by everything all of the time. Genre was now officially dead on the musical landscape as artists cross-pollinated with whatever sound rang in tune with Billboard’s Top 10 chart each week.

Seeing a more adventurous audience, Tonedeff returns in 2014 with his second album, Polymer – with it’s unique multi-part release of four separate EPs, each with it’s own theme and musical style – that are then combined into a final form that encapsulates every facet of his persona. From the danceable sex-addiction saga of Glutton, to the anxiety-riddled fast rap clinic of Demon, Polymer presents all sides of a multi-faceted artist filtered through the synthetic backdrop of electronica. No pretentious misdirection or charlatanism. Just the confessional sound of rap music’s next evolutionary stage – the Hip Hop singer/songwriter.

With plans in motion for a Q4 release, a string of music videos and an international tour, Tonedeff is finally poised to solidify his place in music as one of Hip Hop’s foremost innovators and unapologetic futurists. A future where unfiltered expression and individualism reign supreme. A future where genre is dead and Tonedeff is a mortician who whistles while he works.

For more information, please visit: QN5.com