Tonee C got hooked on hip-hop in the most unconventional of ways, but the Sapele-raised emcee has never looked back since.
Chibuzor Anthony Obi is a UNIPORT Mechanical Engineering final year student that was inspired by some of the greatest emcees of the 2000s. He went on to discover the possibilities of laying his lyrics and flows on different types of genre-based beats.
The 24-year-old recently released a joint EP – VanTasy – with label mate, Vanfavia, and he is ready to take on the world without pulling his punches.
I grew up in Sapele listening to a lot of boy band music like Westlife & Backstreet Boys, Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, etc. My Dad played mostly pop & reggae music during my childhood.
Growing up was tough, my family wasn’t exactly in the rich class of society so it wasn’t all rosy. I had a fair share of life’s difficulties while growing up and I believe those experiences helped make me the man I am now and the one I hope to become in the future.
First Encounter with Hip-hop
The first experience I had that got me hooked up with hip hop, or should I say the concept of rapping, was around 2007.
I was watching a cartoon titled Barnyard with my younger brother, there’s this scene where Biggie Cheese (a big fat rat character) was performing a song Boombastic, imitating some sort of rap flow on a reggae beat, it was the coolest thing ever, seeing a chubby rat flow so smoothly on a reggae beat… Lol, it truly was intriguing and it made me really interested in rapping.
I can’t remember exactly when I started writing my own lyrics, but I remember I copied M.I Abaga’s Anoti lyrics and added a few words to make it seem like I was writing rap lyrics.
Eventually started coming up with my own lyrics, of course, maybe some weeks or months after that, can’t really remember for sure.
Hip-hop Head to Emcee
The first time I rapped my own lyrics was in high school, we had a couple of rap battles during recess and I decided to engage in one of them that day, dropped some bars and a lot of people cheered, it was fun.
Acts like Eminem, M.I, Yung6ix, Lil Wayne, and Phenom inspired my style while growing up. Currently, J.Cole, Kanye West (Ye), XXXTentacion, Nasty C, Travis Scott, Aminé, etc. are my major inspirations in hip-hop.
Most Underrated Song/Verse
I think Reverse Light off my first compilation tape P.v.D.v is my most underrated song. A lot of people haven’t paid attention to this song because I couldn’t afford decent recording equipment then, so the sound quality was wack. I had to re-record the entire thing when I could afford a decent microphone at least. I believe for an inexperienced artist as I was when the project was made, I did pretty well without any help and it deserves some credit.
I learn every day, sonically, lyrically and production-wise, so I believe there’s always room for a massive improvement in my craft. I don’t like the narrative of ever putting out a song that I didn’t put all my efforts into making, for it to be considered my “worse”, so I’m not sure how to answer this question.
My joint tape with Vanfavia is at your table. I also have plans of dropping a solo E.P this summer as well, a couple of videos perhaps.
The rest will come as a surprise, I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun.