With all that is wrong with Hip-Hop, Chicago rap artist, Tony Famous, proves that there are still some conscious rappers in the game. As rap artists trend into violent and crude, sexual nature, Tony Famous proves that rap isn't just about guns and sex. With his smooth sound and chilled out melodies, Tony is making his way through the Chicago music scene.
"I am a Hip-Hop artist. I do everything from rap and sing. I write. I make films about Black culture. If you give me a paint brush, I'll paint my feelings about Chicago culture, and what Hip-Hop means to me.", he says, whose real name is Kendall DeLashment. "Tony Famous is a character that I developed that can live in the Hip-Hop realm. Personally, I'm mad nerdy like I'll sit around and watch Netflix all day. I just got my master's in interdisciplinary arts, so I'm always in the books seeking knowledge and stuff like that. One day I was thinking because I have an English degree, I should rap. My teacher heard the way that I could put words together. She asked me if I ever rapped, and I said 'no'. So she said that I should, and try it out. This is a white lady in Pittsburgh. That's how Tony Famous was born."
It was while in college that the rapper discovered who he was. It was at a college in western Pennsylvania where he learned how to interact with other cultures, as well as, develop into a well-rounded artist. Not to mention, he got down a bit on the basketball court. However, the Julian High School grad still made his impact back home in Chicago. Recently, Tony Famous won the Donda's House MVP. Donda's House is a nonprofit organization founded by Kanye West and Che "Rhymefest" Smith. Donda's House originated from the home of Donda West, mother of Kanye West. She provided a safe environment for Kanye and other artists to record. Eventually, it became a mentoring program for young artists such as Tony Famous. Arriving early and leaving late is what he attributes to his Donda's House MVP. He also helped others during studio sessions.
"I was helping people during their studio sessions. I was helping write for other people. I'm not going to say that I was the best one there, but I was bit more polished than some of the other dudes. I never looked down on people because of that, but I was also the second oldest in the program. I'm 24 now. I should be more polished. I mean I've been doing it longer than anyone else."
As a rapper, he describes his style as "therapeutic". He also describes himself as a punchline rapper.
"I come to the board like what am I going to talk about. Here is the skeleton for it. How can I make this some of the most clever shit ever? I like to make the work real cryptic."
Tony makes his music personal whether it is about a young lady he is talking to such as in the track "Melody". He is even working on a track about drug addiction called "Snow White", which was influenced by a friend with a cocaine addiction.
"Music is supposed to speak to us. It's supposed to put us on the same level. No matter how much money you make or your situation, you can just put on your headphones and mellow out. That's what music is suppose to do; it's suppose to talk directly to the person listening."
The amazing thing about his music is that it puts you in a zone. The music sounds good whether it is a Sunday afternoon after church, and you decide to barbeque, or you are working on a article on Monday night. It's mellow. It's calming. More than anything, it's just great music. His EP is called Lost Files. It can be found on YouTube and his Sound Cloud, and DatPiff.
"I don't have to talk about bitches and hoes, and jewelery in my music. I want to hit some serious subjects."
Tony Famous has become a very recognizable rapper in Chicago's underground music scene. However, he believes his time in the mainstream is coming soon. So, what does he say about being ready?
"When you stay ready, you never gotta get ready."
Stay ready Tony. You won't have to wait your turn much longer. To follow the career of Tony Famous, follow him on Instagram @iamtonyfamous.