Issue #94 - Digital Cover

Published on March 17th, 2016 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson

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Who is King Tonyo?

Tony Woods, better known as King Tonyo, was born in San Antonio, TX. King Tonyo had a troubled childhood as he would frequently travel back and forth from San Antonio to Houston to stay with different relatives. Tonyo always had a passion for music, not just hip-hop, but R&B, as well as other cultures’ music. Music is in his blood as his Dad was once a great artist who pursued a career in music. Tonyo always knew he had a talent as he would often freestyle with friends and drop rhymes that would excite the group. In addition, those that knew Tonyo growing up could easily see that he had an uncanny ability to light up any room he entered; he seemed to be destined to someday be in the limelight.

Despite all of this, Tonyo never decided to take music seriously because he did not want to do what so many others around him were doing, Tonyo has always strived to break the norm and think outside the box. Eventually, after facing much hardship, it began to become obvious to Tonyo that the career he had been ducking for so long was the one thing that could save his life. Music brings him peace, sanity, and lights a flame within him like nothing else ever has before. Tonyo soon decided to sacrifice everything and invest into a career in music, but to do it in his own unique way. After obtaining much success in a relatively short amount of time, King Tonyo is now believed by many to soon become a prominent player in hip-hop. Tonyo attributes all of his success to God and is thankful for the blessings that music has brought to his life.

Who is King Tonyo?

Tony Woods, better known as King Tonyo, was born in San Antonio, TX. King Tonyo had a troubled childhood as he would frequently travel back and forth from San Antonio to Houston to stay with different relatives. Tonyo always had a passion for music, not just hip-hop, but R&B, as well as other cultures’ music. Music is in his blood as his Dad was once a great artist who pursued a career in music. Tonyo always knew he had a talent as he would often freestyle with friends and drop rhymes that would excite the group. In addition, those that knew Tonyo growing up could easily see that he had an uncanny ability to light up any room he entered; he seemed to be destined to someday be in the limelight. Despite all of this, Tonyo never decided to take music seriously because he did not want to do what so many others around him were doing, Tonyo has always strived to break the norm and think outside the box. Eventually, after facing much hardship, it began to become obvious to Tonyo that the career he had been ducking for so long was the one thing that could save his life. Music brings him peace, sanity, and lights a flame within him like nothing else ever has before. Tonyo soon decided to sacrifice everything and invest into a career in music, but to do it in his own unique way. After obtaining much success in a relatively short amount of time, King Tonyo is now believed by many to soon become a prominent player in hip-hop. Tonyo attributes all of his success to God and is thankful for the blessings that music has brought to his life.

Tell us about King Tonyo.

I’m a go getter
I’m entertaining
I’m Passionate about my music
I feel like when people look at me, or come into contact with me, they instantly gravitate towards my energy and it has been that way since I was a kid. People tell me all the time that they can see me doing something big one day. Whether I was leading them down the wrong path, or the right one, I usually had leadership qualities. Most people who know me would say I could do anything I really tried to do but I give up before the finished product; Music is the one thing I have been committed to. The most important thing I would say I am is an example of growth and progression through error.

What brought you to the music industry specifically?

Music for me in particular is control over emotions. If you really think about it, where would we be without music? Most people can hear a song and it will take them back to a specific moment, feeling, phase, or point in time. Music to me has the power to touch those in the darkest of places and heal some of the deepest of wounds. Think about when you break up with your girl/dude. What do you do? Go listen to some song that helps you get over them. When you getting ready for them gym and you want to get in the zone? Music is what you use to help mentally prepare you for the physical challenge. It surrounds us and is just as important as lights to me. I came from a place of instability, recklessness, and being irresponsible to the point that I was beginning to jeopardize my life and lively hood. I hit rock bottom about a year ago and in that moment I asked God to show me a way out, and he did. He opened my heart to music. I told myself and God that I would keep going for a year and if I’m further in life after this year of dedication to music that I would keep going. There has been blood sweat and tears this year for me but I have never felt more accomplished and blessed than I do now. I literally gave up everything I knew for this. Stopped working & pretty much ended my social life to get where I am today and I thank God every day for giving me the strength to make it this far. It has been a long road but we still are not where we need to be. Music has always been a part of my life. My father actually had a chance at the industry but chose fatherhood. I respect him and could not thank him enough for that. I guess my reason for music is to give hope to those who need it when the world is cold.

What do you want listeners to experience with your music?

I want them to get the real me. I want to give them who they come in contact with. It is crazy how many artist turn into “the artist” on songs but don’t really live that life. You know the “it sounds good” rappers. I am not shooting shots at any artist because I jam meaningless music at times. I feel like we need it too just as much as music with substance. But for me as an artist, I just feel like being you at all times and speaking from the heart will get you further. “Respect’s not earned from a check” is a line my homie Lil Simba used to sum it up perfectly. I want people to get an inside look at my life through my music. I want people to be able to relate to their life with my music. I want them to feel like “man I feel just like that” or “man that’s my life right now”. I know I’m not the only one going through life that is having struggles, or have feelings they cannot tell anyone because they do not want to feel judged. Life is hard and I just want my music to give people a reason to keep going like some songs have given me.

Tell us about your current project?

Man it’s all new music! I can honestly say that these songs are the best work I have done to date, without a doubt. It is crazy because I have grown so much since my first project “Live in The 210” & even more so since my second project “Still Live in The Tone”- from beat selection, to hooks, and verses, I have taken my skills to new levels. I have some heat for you trap lovers, but there is also music you can vibe too, get high too; this is a tape you can bang all the way through for sure, without skipping a single track. I can tell you I have put my blood, sweat and tears into this project. This project is the definition of putting your all into something you love and are truly passionate about. It has been tough and is still hard at times to juggle life and its twists and turns, and still give people good quality music that they deserve. I can promise you this though; you all are in for a treat! This tape has Classic written all over it. This tape is largely produced by another Houston native. “$outhern”, and if you guys are not familiar with him, then you should definitely get plugged in. My bro has that sound that captures the young by keeping them lit to trap tracks, while still producing those records that are more musical and contain the level of instrumentation that the older crowds prefer. I got a couple features, one in particular is from my homie OG che$$, who is also out of Houston. You don’t know him? Google jasonxtravis Cruisin USA, which is one of the first tapes of an individual we now know as Travis $cott. It was a duo tape with my homie OG che$$. So yea, definitely look out for that joint. I’ll be releasing that one soon actually so stay tuned! There is a lot of work going into this project, and a significant investment being made that I know will be so well worth it; I am excited for you guys to hear it. I really feel this could be the tape that gets the attention of the streets and gets that traction I need to make it to the top. I am going to be selling this tape on iTunes, but I will also be taking it back to the streets and slanging them out the trunk. Everyone needs to hear this new heat. It’s lit! If you like good music this tape is definitely worth buying. It is now or never so I left it all on this project, like the last game of the season, you either in the playoffs or you’re not.

If you had to pick an introductory song from your body of work to a first time listener, what would that be?

It really all depends to be honest. If we are talking numbers? “Next 2 blow” easily takes the cake. When you put that record on it instantly gets you going. It did record breaking numbers on my soundcloud with nearly 7000 plays in less than a month. I also released a video to it which is also dope! I had the visuals shot & directed by an artist by the name of “mduke” who is also on the rise. He was able to capture the song in a live video so you should definitely check out. It was filmed at a couple low key locations all over San Antonio that really gave the song that much more feeling. Most people really started taking me serious after I linked up with the bro Robbie raps on this track just for the simple fact that the quality of it is flawless. Not to mention we both eating on our verse in distinctive ways. This song is the “introduction” to my set the tone movement I’ve began with a team of guys I believe as a collective can get some real push and make some noise out here. I reference “TSMG” a lot which stands for “Tone Setter Music Group”. It is basically a group of talented indie artists coming together on some Wu Tang ish. New age flow from all parts of Texas. We got ATX, HTX, SATX & even LA rocking with us so this movement is huge. We have all heard the phrase “set the tone”, but how many really are setting the tone? “Next 2 Blows” video & sound quality is definitely worth a watch and listen.

Tell us about King Tonyo outside of music.

On the real, music is all I do right now. I’ve come to the realization that commitment is the key to it for me. I gave it all up as far as passions to focus on this music. Now I will say this…. I love my family, and seeing them happy is very important to me.

Last but not least, The Hype Magazine wants to know, “What’s your craziest where they do that at?!” moment?

Man I have so many stories but I felt this was perfect lol. Back in the day my neighbor’s grandmother lived with him & at the time she had nurses coming to the house to watch over her. I had to be in the 10th grade or so & it was right around the time Chris brown had dropped that record lay you down so that freaky grinding dance craze was in. I just remember one day one of the nurses, had to be in her 40s or 50s, was there while we were jamming the music, and the next thing you know I was slow grinding the nurse while she was supposed to working! I swear I don’t even know how she ended up being down to be a part of our foolishness, but that’s definitely a “where they do that at” moment. S/O that nurse lol. I don’t even know her name but she was real for that.

By Jerry Doby

@realjdobypr




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