GENRE IS DEAD:
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 intense 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 and emotive crooning. His penchant for cross-genre fusion is a wide-eyed gaze at what Hip Hop is capable of if set free from the confines of stereotype and cliche.
This first-generation Cuban-Colombian grew up in Chicago, IL, before moving to Miami, FL for the remainder of his adolescence where he began recording and performing at age 12. In 1997, he launched his indie label, QN5 Music 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 flow (clocking in at 14 syllables per second). He began opening for 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 multimedia-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 done without a promotional budget or a manager.
Then...silence. Hip Hop suddenly turned a corner - 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 much of the approach he had originated in obscurity had been co-opted by the status quo. He spent the next few years focused on QN5 releases, executive producing indie-gems such as Substantial’s Sacrifice (2008) and PackFM’sI F*cking Hate Rappers (2010), touring internationally while continuing to develop a new sound in secret.
Seeing a more adventurous audience in 2016, Tonedeff returns with his second album, Polymer - a unique multi-part release of four separate EPs, each with its 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, the anxiety-riddled fast rap clinic of Demon, to the mirror-matched battle with delusion on Hunter and the shoegaze-flavored catharsis epic of Phantom- Polymer is synth-filtered opus of confessional singer/songwriter Hip Hop for a modern era.
Tonedeff is poised to reestablish himself as one of Hip Hop’s foremost innovators and unapologetic futurists. A future where genre is dead and Tonedeff is a mortician who whistles while he works.