Big Tone
Gig Seeker Pro

Big Tone

Band Hip Hop Soul

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"OkayPlayer Review"

“From BX to Motown, that’s how it goes down” intones
Big Tone

over the opening bars of “Broken Logos.” And that pretty much is how it goes down on The Art of Ink. True to his Detroit roots Big Tone has made an album that takes Motown as its base, before chopping it up and laying down some sharp rhymes infused with some good ol’ Berry Gordy hustle. It is immensely satisfying stuff.

The slightly ponderous intro “Skin Deep” aside, The Art of Ink is straight heat - as you’d really expect from an album that features contributions from players of the calibre of Blu,
Guilty Simpson

, Dwele and Ta’Raach. The mix of soul samples, heavy basslines and real talk that characterises the album launches spectacularly with the incendiary “Business.” Propelled by an infectious guitar hook that could be lifted straight from
The Funk Brothers

and insistent handclaps, it signals more clearly than any brag or boast that Big Tone really does mean business on his second album. As he suggests on the epic “A Song Called Triumph,” it’s the sound of one man turning the volume of his dreams up. Loud.

It’s soul with an edge that can happily switch between the sultry sweetness of “The Look” and the rawness of “
Scapegoat

,” an impassioned defence of hip-hop from its many casual critics. But if there’s one song that best encapsulates Big Tone’s philosophy, it’s “Chocolate,” which chops up chiming male and female vocals with an emotional black history folktale. It might not be the most original metaphor, but it’s powerful stuff and the beat is brilliant.

Another highlight is “Folktale,” that features yet another delicious sample, dope drum break, and a suitably witty and engaging story about Big Tone’s trouble with a date. Its only fault is that the promised finale doesn’t materialize. But the fact that Big Tone actually leaves you wanting for more is a large testament to his skills as an MC and producer.

As “a celebration of the hip-hop writer and tattoo art” that Big Tone intended, The Art Of Ink definitely comes out in favour of the former. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and provocative album that might not garner him the Grammys that his Mom asks about in “Business,” but should push him a long way in the right direction. “A Song Called Triumph”? Nah. More like the sound of triumph. - okayplayer.com


"Art Of Ink Album Review"

Rapper and producer Big Tone recently released his sophomore album, The Art of Ink, on Tres Records. Sitting down to first listen to the album, I had only heard one thing… dude was from Detroit. And unfortunately, because Detroit seems to have taken over the hip-hop world lately with their quality releases, Big Tone had extremely high expectations to live up to… he didn’t disappoint.

Big Tone introduces the album by explaining his twelve track project was going to be, “[his] ideas and thoughts, jotted down on paper… that’s the concept behind [his] latest record,” which seemingly could describe every album ever made, but Tone presents real thoughts that are beyond just “skin deep.” What he offers his listeners is music that dives into real life struggles and issues, which in turn comes off as motivation for his fans to push through their own trying times.

Big Tone takes on both writing/emceeing and producing assignments for The Art of Ink. And when thinking back on similar attempts, it’s typical for artists who try and handle both art forms to have one that they’re clearly more dominant at… in most instances they’ll get nailed by reviewers for whatever form they are not as strong at. Now when I listen to Big Tone, I immediately notice his production… Detroit style, no doubt. The Dilla and Black Milk similarities are there, and he does an incredible job of mixing the sampling of soul contributions with his drumming efforts. I found myself leaning towards listening to the tracks that featured guests rather than his solo tracks, but Big Tone is still very respectful on the mic and can ultimately hold his own.

The guests artists still strengthen the album, however, and along with Big Tone’s quality efforts, the rhymes come together with Big Tone’s production to create a well-rounded and complete project that follows the successful recipe of good beats and good rhymes.

Highlights would have to be “A Song Called Triump,” featuring today’s beloved Blu, and “Chocolate,” with L’Renee, though I never skipped over any tracks on my numerous listens. Overall the album deserves its place among this year's hip-hop quality releases and would not disappoint anybody who dove into their pockets to purchase it. - ThaHipHop.com


"Potholes in My Blog Review"

Album Review: Big Tone – The Art Of Ink (2009)
Rating: 4 out of 5 Potholes

Big Tone attempts to succinctly describe The Art Of Ink as being both a tribute to the articulation of written thought as well as tattoo art on the album’s introduction, but it would be unfair to suggest that his latest studio effort tarries in the particular. While the general concept is an adequate and intriguing one – Big Tone clearly sees the album release as a canvas in which he pens his viewpoint and perspective - The Art Of Ink is a well rounded piece of work both in terms of content and production. From the majestic Detroit bounce of ‘Pedigree’, to the almost modernist take on Motown of ‘Chocolate’, or the helplessly heartsick soul of ‘Squo’, he has crafted a full and rich project that showcases his ability to make music covering almost all bases.

The production works particularly well here; The Art Of Ink is made all the more accessible for those not previously familiar with the artist’s material as a result of some wonderfully melodic and distinctive soundscapes that provide an interesting introduction to the deeply personal lyricism at the heart of the album.
There are missteps, but nothing that could be used as a criticism to demean the album as a whole, and there is certainly not anything that could be vehemently dismissed as terrible. Generally, it has to be said that this is a consistent offering in a time in which it can be so difficult to find something that provides more than two or three memorable tracks, and in a climate in which the merits of production and the emphasis placed upon it seem to increasingly outweight those brought to the table by the MC themselves, The Art Of Ink deserves a considerable amount of appreciation. This album may not necessarily change your own life, but it is important to recognise it as a successful and satisfying exploration of Big Tone’s. - Potholes in My Blog


"Detroit Rap Album Review"

As an artist, Big Tone is an emcee. He’s a lyricist who paints crystal clear and graphic depictions of life from a perspective that is universal to urban environments around the world. From the stage to the studio, he’s been considered a part of the upper echelon in Detroit’s legendary hip-hop world. His early recordings earned the respect of a wide audience and fellow artists, some of which would become Tone’s biggest mentors and friends in music. It would be these well received efforts that would earn Tone an opportunity to feature on J Dilla’s acclaimed Welcome 2 Detroit LP, which would cement Big Tone as apart of the upper echelon of artists or the rise.

2005 marked a breakout year for Big Tone as a producer. Behind the boards, Tone produced his first full length international release on ABB Records entitled, “The Drought”. Trademarked by the gritty chopped drum breaks and mangled soul samples, The Drought displays Tone’s gift to create instrumental backdrops as visual as the rhymes over them. The opportunity to travel, perform, produce, and collaborate with artists on a worldwide level helped to broaden Tone’s perspective as well as his vision. A decision to relocate to New York played a role in this development. Bonds made in the Big Apple, as well as strong ties in California with labels such as ABB and Tres Records have given Tone coast-to-coast recognition. Given his early success and promising future, Tone launched his production imprint, Mojoe Music System, LLC. “Mojoe is a celebration of the artistic lifestyle,” Tone explains. From the music, the preservation of culture, the appreciation of art, Mojoe Music System is about pushing the creative envelope. “The music is what makes everything else we do cool, and everything else we do is what we inspires our music,” Tone explains. That statement is the very definition of hip-hop. That statement is the very definition of Big Tone.

Big Tone is hip-hop. After years of rhyming and collaborating with some of music’s most prominent talents, Anthony Jackson is focused on pushing Big Tone to the forefront of today’s music world, with his sophomore effort “The Art of Ink” - DetroitRap.com


"Chop Steak Art of Ink Review"

Rated: 4 out of 5

This is the debut solo album from Detroit producer/emcee, Big Tone. Over 12 self-produced tracks, he lays down an enjoyable collection of rhymes on a bed of rich, soulful backdrops. Tone introduces the album as a tribute to the uses of ink, both in tattooing, and rhyme writing. While the tattoo metaphor doesn’t get much play after the first track, he certainly shines a lens on the rap game, and those creating rhymes.

As an emcee, Big Tone has a pretty accessible flow, and a strong voice. His phrasing clearly shows an influence from fellow Detroiter, Elzhi of Slum Village, with similar intonation and at times, rhyme structure. He brings an original element to the table though, and thankfully avoids the trap of trying to fit too many syllables into a bar, into which Elzhi sometimes falls. The overall feel of the tracks varies, sometimes celebratory, and sometimes very laid back and self-satisfied. There are certainly moments of doubt and tension, though, that help make the album more three-dimensional. On Scapegoat: “Slight society don’t respect us/Nothing more than the subject of a Cosby lecture/But when I’m on the block and stressed/Cause check-to-check ain’t stoppin’ them collectors from acknowledgin’ my debt.” Big Tone is a tight rapper, but the talent doesn’t end there.

Production on this album is nice start-to-finish. In Detroit hip hop tradition, the primary engine of the music is soul samples. This production has a fuller, rounder, sweeter sound than some of the work of Detroit underground mainstays like Black Milk, however. Some of the beats are hard-hitting and high-energy. Skin Deep features chopped up strings and and filtered vocals swirling insistently around a drum loop with a thunderous snare. The uptempo Business has snare rolls and a wah-wah guitar loop. You’ll be lucky if you can limit yourself to just head nodding while listening to it. On the opposite end of the spectrum are songs like the silky, relaxed groove of The Look. With a chopped up and filtered sample of standard, The Look of Love forming the foundation for a track with lazily strummng guitar, it compares favorably to tracks by another one of my favorite producers, Cincinnati’s Fat Jon. Even with very capable rhyming and appearances by other rappers and singers, I have to say that the beats are the true strength of an album with only one major weakness.

The only thing that frustrates me about The Art of Ink is how short it is. Clocking in at only 38 minutes, with a couple minutes of instrumental filler, this album is a throwback to the days of 12? LP’s. It is a hair too long to call it an EP, but I have a hard time thinking of anything under 45 minutes or so in length as an album, and in many cases, an hour or more is perfectly fine. This album certainly could’ve sustained several more tracks of the same quality, and it is a bit of a disappointment that it ends as quickly as it does. Still, the album is solid start-to-finish, and there is something to be said for that. Overall, it is definitely a recommended listen, and I look forward to longer projects from Big Tone in the future. - Chopsteakmusic.com


"Canada's Exclaim! AOI Review"


The auto industry may be struggling in the Motor City but musically, Detroit has been flourishing for quite some time. Big Tone has kept some fine company and padded his resume by working with the likes of J Dilla on Welcome to Detroit. Tone (born Anthony Jackson) brings us his sophomore effort, The Art of Ink, which he produced, the follow-up to his 2005 debut, The Drought. Big Tone welcomes the listener to his album with "Skin Deep," a title that ties into the tattoo theme of the album, which is a vehicle to "create music with vivid depictions of life, love, aspirations and growth." Don't be fooled, however, this album isn't of the bubblegum and candy variety. The lyrics are hard-hitting and honest, highlighted on a short track like "Scapegoat" or a more standard length cut like "Pedigree," featuring Guilty Simpson, one of a number of guest appearances by artists such as Blu. Tone's production style is varied and keeps you guessing, leaving you pleasantly surprised. The Art of Ink contains tracks that are hazy and off-pitch, and others that float by, while some are rugged and bruising. There is also a generous sprinkling of exceptional samples throughout. Tone's vision was to use this album "to provide insight to his lifestyle and perspective, which led to the tattoo-based theme of the project." Mission accomplished, The Art of Ink is an album you won't soon forget. - exclaim.ca


"Art Of Ink Album Review"

The global recession has hit many places very, very hard and the Motor City is no stranger to feeling the immense pain of joblessness and despair. Once the cherished home of America’s booming automotive industry in the early-to-mid 20th century, Detroit is now largely a ghost town of broken dreams, empty promises and urban decay. Ironically, the lack of opportunities in the area has armed many of its more creative inhabitants with an iron will, strong dedication to their craft and surprising originality (e.g., Eminem and J Dilla) rarely matched by other cities in the Midwest region.

Big Tone, a veteran emcee in the underground circuit, is poised to represent his D-Town roots, his vocal talents and most of all, his tireless hustle, on the main stage. The Art of Ink, his latest full-length, is a musical glimpse into the life of a Motor City baller who has given up his street dreams for a large piece of the American Dream. Has the hardworking rapper finally found the right combination of beats and lyrics to catapult him to musical superstardom or will he have to wait much longer for his moment to shine?

On this particular outing, there are a few good things going for the nimble wordsmith. One of them happens to be the masterful pairing of like-minded vocalists to create songs that are refreshingly in tune with the emcee’s go-for-broke mentality towards achieving results. For example, peep “Chocolate” (featuring the soothing R&B assistance of L’Renee). On this particular banger, Big Tone drops heavy knowledge on the link between his chosen craft, the art of hustling and his go-for-broke approach to making in it in the dog-eat-dog world of music. Secondly, L.A. native Blu [click to read] breaks bread and spits his west coast flavor of rhyme alongside the aforementioned emcee’s clever wordplay and bombastic expression. Last but not least, a fellow Detroit lyricist, Guilty Simpson [click to read], drops by to add gruff intensity and vocal artillery on “Pedigree,” easily making this song the album’s triumphant highlight.

A major grievance about The Art of Ink has to do with an overemphasis on the rapper’s D-Town street hustler background and thereby making his sonic creations less palatable to those wanting to paint a complete picture of this talented individual. Even though each track is laced with nuggets of wisdom earned through years of steady grinding in the streets, a majority of Big Tone’s colorful personality is left in the dark as a result. Take the album opener, “Skin Deep” (featuring Monica Blaire). On this aforementioned song, the Detroit native tells the audience that the concept behind his full-length effort is directly tied with the visual art of tattooing and promises to expose his varied thoughts on wax. Nevertheless, he rarely mentions skin art on any other track off the LP and rarely skims the surface of his life outside of his entrepreneurship skills. As dope as BT’s music is, his latest album should have been more appropriately titled The Art of Hustling.

There is an old adage that goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This is true to those who desire to make beautiful art even if the urban environment provides nothing more than a cold reminder that the world we live in is at a standstill. Detroit emcee Big Tone is one of those stellar dudes, making musical treats with guest rappers and singers on his latest full-length, The Art of Ink. Although the subject matter of his lyrics is limited to the trials and tribulations of being a successful hustler, it provides enough proof (no pun intended) that there are a lot talented people in the Midwest who are driven and eagerly awaiting their chance to make an indelible mark in Hip Hop music. - HipHopDX.com


"Big Tone Big Things Big Time"

This week’s MySpace Featured Artist is none other than Detroit’s own Big Tone!!!
I’d like you to go ahead and click on the link and take a listen to his new album.

So now let’s talk about it! Those in the loop know exactly who Big Tone is, with his debut on J Dilla’s Welcome to Detroit, Tone is back with his sophomore effort following his first effort (The Drought /ABB Records.) The Art of Ink is Big Tone’s second masterpiece, and what a piece of work it is. I was lucky enough to be the first person to get my hands on the album and I haven’t stopped rockin’ it since. This CD has been my musical savior, it's restored my faith in music and it's giving me hope for what's to come. Yeah it's that good.

The Art of Ink LP is Tone’s tribute to the love and gift he has for songwriting. Unlike any of Big Tone’s previous releases comprised of freestyle and memorized poems, The Art of Ink LP is the first collection of songs all stemming from Tone’s actual writings (hence the name, The Art of Ink). Inspired by Big Tone’s passion for the art of emceeing, the album is highlighted by some of today’s most notable lyricists from Blu, Guilty Simpson, Ta’raach and contributions from Grammy award winner Dwele. Tone’s constant drive to provide a message to the music lead to the tattoo based theme of the project. “Hip-hop and tattoos may seem to be just skin deep to those who haven’t been touched by them, but for those of us who have, they’ve touched our souls” says Tone. With the knack to create music with visual and graphic views on life, love, struggle and pain, Tone draws comparisons to that of a tattoo artist’s ability to capture innermost thoughts on the canvas of the soul. Along with Los Angeles-based Tres Records, The Art of Ink LP is being backed by an imprint that is familiarizing the world with some of hip-hop’s most relevant voices. From Giant Panda, C.R.A.C, to Johnson and Johnson, Tres has been at the reigns of successful releases throughout 2008.

We'll talk more about it later, but a little birdie told me that Big Tone will be hosting The Art of Ink listening party on April 21 @ TV Bar in Detroit.

The Art Of Ink, 3/31 on Itunes, 4/21 on CD!!! - Examiner.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Big Tone is hip-hop. Big Tone is soul. Big Tone is an expression of the music, fashion, and lifestyle created from the culture of Urban America, as it applies to Anthony Jackson. After years of rhyming and collaborating with some of music's most prominent talents including Jay Dilla, Dwele, Slum Village, Ta'raach, Blu, Amp Fiddler, The Juggaknots, Carl Craig, Waajeed and more, Anthony Jackson is focused on pushing Big Tone to the forefront of today's music world.
As an artist, Big Tone is an emcee. He's a lyricist who paints crystal clear and graphic depictions of life from a perspective that is universal to any urban environment around the world. As a veteran who began on the Detroit music scene in the mid 90's, Tone has always strived at eclipsing the standard that is set for a poet from The D. From the stage to the studio, he's been considered a part of the upper echelon in Detroit's legendary hip-hop world. The Hip Hop Shop, Saint Andrew's Hall, Ebony Showcase, and The Lush all played a part of Tone's rapidly growing reputation. His early recordings earned the ears and respect of a wide audience and fellow artists, some of which would become Tone's biggest mentors and friends in music. A few white label releases would lead to highlighted cameo appearances, shows, buzz worthy press, and a slate of self released material circulating the underground music world. This obscure catalogue of self produced music solidified Big Tone as a commander on the mic, and augmented the custom of the artist/producer double threat. It would be these well received efforts that would earn Tone an opportunity to feature on J Dilla's acclaimed Welcome 2 Detroit LP, a collaboration which would cement Big Tone as apart of the upper echelon of artists or the rise.
2005 marked a breakout year for Big Tone as a producer. Behind the boards, Tone produced his first full length international release on ABB Records entitled, "The Drought". Earning acclaim from some of hip-hop's most credible tastemakers from Okayplayer to XXL, this soulful soundtrack validated Big Tone as one of 2005's top prospects on the beats. Trademarked by the gritty chopped drum breaks and mangled soul samples, The Drought displays Tone's gift to create instrumental backdrops as visual as the rhymes over them. The opportunity to travel, perform, produce, learn about the business, and collaborate with artists on a worldwide level helped to broaden Tone's perspective as well as his vision. A decision to relocate to New York would play a big role in this development. Highlighted performances such as URB Magazine's Next 100 showcase at Joe's Pub, and The Beat Society at The Knitting Factory, would properly introduce Tone to NYC's most noteworthy D.J.'s, tastemakers, promoters, etc. These bonds in the Big Apple, as well as strong ties in California, have given Tone coast-to-coast access to hip-hop's ever growing network. Aside from venturing with the Bay Area indie ABB Records, California would also become one of Tone's most frequent performance hubs. The Levende Lounge in San Francisco, The Temple in Los Angeles, and The Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa would be a few of the venues that would embrace Tone's stage show. 2005 would also mark the launch of Big Tone's production imprint, Mojoe Music System, LLC. "Mojoe is a celebration of the artistic lifestyle," Tone explains. From the music, the style of dress, the appreciation of art, the preservation of culture, to the party life, Mojoe Music System is about pushing the creative envelope. Tone states, "For us, it's about raw beats, dope rhymes, fresh kicks, fly clothes and ill ways to rock them, fine girls, fun events, strong drinks, stimulating conversation, and positive energy". Tone, along with the Mojoe Music System family are setting the stage to share their world through song, video, poetry, fashion, film, art, media and performance. "The music is what makes everything else we do cool, and everything else we do is what we inspires our music," Tone explains. That statement is the very definition of hip-hop. That statement is the very definition of Big Tone.