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New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Alternative


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"Tonedeff's quotable quotient is worth the listen, if you can keep up." - James Mayo - BPM Magazine

Unsigned Hype. The term echoes like a mantra through every Hip Hop publication known to human. Mr./Mrs. Unsigned Hype is every emcee you've never heard, starving for a record deal and for the world to hear them. Add 15 years to that hunger and meet Tonedeff, the epitome of overlooked talent. His name and face might be anonymous, but after the release of his long awaited LP Archetype, Tonedeff's style may just become legendary.

Often referred to as "the legend that never got on the map," Tonedeff perfected high-speed rhyming, a technique he calls 'syllable flips,' that most would pull a tongue muscle trying to emulate. "That speed shit: I just kind of always had it," he says. "But I've refined it over time. Rhyming fast to me is being able to rhyme to a techno-step drum'n bass track where it's like 190-192 bpm." As a teenager, Tonedeff performed [onstage] at the Arsenio Hall Show's "Flava of the Future." From there, the recording offers poured in, and many empty promises of success soon followed. Choosing to man his own destiny, Tonedeff relocated to New York City in 1998 after stints living in Miami, Chicago and his hometown of Newport News, VA. Tonedeff earned his stripes in the brutal NYC underground, winning the Braggin' Rites emcee battle in 2000 and placing third in The Source's Unsigned Hype Live Battle. He also started his own label, QN5 Music, and has collaborated with such Hip Hop historians as KRS-One and Masta Ace. Tonedeff also released Happy F*ck You Songs with Extended F@mm and two solo EP releases, Monotone and Hyphen. The stage has now been set for Tonedeff's solo full-length debut.

Archetype has been eight years in the making, and the meaning behind the title holds true to Tondeff's intentions. "Archetype is the first model created that everything else is created from. I wanted to make an album that was going to set a standard musically for Hip Hop." With Archetype, Tonedeff has toiled to create an album that will help Hip Hop garner the respect it deserves as a legitimate musical genre among those outside the culture. "People will understand after my album drops that I'm not trying to do alternative Hip Hop, and I'm not trying to be on some artsy fartsy shit. I'm trying to make Hip Hop compete with the other types of music in the world. I feel that Hip Hop, as ill as it is and as great as it can be, can be so much better." Archetype, scheduled for a late fall release, will feature a notation system for listeners to follow. "It's my gift to Hip Hop," he says. "If we're going to be considered a legitimate art form in history, we need a notation system so people in the future can look back and replay out shit." Tonedeff is confident that Archetype will satisfy current fans and educate new ones on Hip Hop's limitless diversity. "It's ambitious-sounding and probably a lot from a kid no one has heard of, but I guarantee you: you will be impressed." Tonedeff truly exemplifies the fact that a position on the mapo comes only secondary to holding the compass. - RIME Magazine


The Monotone EP [2007]
Hyphen [2001]
Extended Famm - Happy F*ck You Songs [2003]
Underscore [2004]
Archetype [2005]
Deffinitions Vol. 1 [2008]
Deffinitions Vol. 2 [2009]
Cold.Killed.Collected (2005-2010) [2010]
Glutton EP [2013]



He's won a string of distinguished battles, though he's far from just a battle rapper. He's garnered a rep for his signature, rapid-fire delivery, yet he's considerably more than just a fast rapper. He sings and produces-though not quite a singer nor producer-and is the founder of QN5 Music, though you wouldn't just call him a label head. He's the artist you can't quite categorize.

Perhaps most impressive is that he does all of these things, and well. With a background as colorful as his talents, Tonedeff grew up in Chicago, IL, before moving to Miami, FL, for the remainder of his adolescence. While it was in Miami that he began recording and performing, it wasn't until relocating to Queens, NY at 21 that the well-traveled emcee really began making noise. He won a string of battles, including the Braggin' Rites MC Battle and NYC's notorious Da Cypha battles, to name a few. At the same time, he built a name for himself by opening for esteemed acts such as the Common, Royce Da 5'9, Blackalicious, Beatnuts, Brand Nubian and Rahzel.

Where most up-and-comers hit a stalemate, however, Tonedeff had only just begun. After forming the independent label QN5 Music in 2000, he released a series of work including the enhanced Hyphen EP, Happy F*ck You Songs with Extended F@mm (along with PackFM, Substantial, and Session), the now-infamous "Clear 'Em Out" 12" single with KRS-One, and countless guest spots for artists such as Masta Ace, DJ JS-1, CunninLynguists and Immortal Technique. 2003 saw him grace the pages of The Source Magazine, MTV airwaves in a commercial for Hip Hop Week and the release of his Underscore EP. In 2005, Tonedeff released his critically acclaimed Archetype album which further cemented his place as one of Hip Hop's truly daring boundary pushers and visionaries. Fresh off the QN5 Spring Cleaning National Tour in In 2006, he took the grand prize in Lollapalooza's Last Band Standing competition, beating out over 2,000 bands of all genres from all over the world.

Combining beauty, talent and artistic innovation, Tonedeff is set to awaken hip-hop with a distinctively new sound. Following the QN5 mantra of "the New Hip-Hop," the multi-talented artist breathes new life into a dwindling art form, taking the reigns in the pursuit of new ideals as the originator, the new standard, the archetype.