After playing a key role in pioneering the new wave of “plugg” music that’s been popularised over the past few years, Tony Shhnow has emerged as a mainstay in the upper echelon of modern-day Hip Hop. Get familiar with this VIPER interview…

What five words define your sound? 

Player. Eccentric. Original. Clean. Premier.

Tell me something unique about your creative process.

I request all the women that come to the studio wear heels. Nine times out of 10, I need women in the studio to record. When I see female toes, I record way better. 

Which song of yours would you like people to hear first? 

‘Mind of Da Crook’ – I feel like it’s the easiest to grasp and it’s the mind of me, like all my thoughts in one song, so that’s why it’s a good introduction to me and my music.

What inspired you to make that song? 

I got real high and my intrusive thoughts kicked in. I felt the need to get everything out and record it all into one song.  

What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?

During the process of creating the ‘Love Streak’ album. I was growing as an artist in that moment, trying to expand the sound and I succeeded. 

What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage? 

The best was at my hometown show at Aisle 5, my first sold-out show, right when I dropped Love Streak. 400+ people, it was sold out. The worst was when I performed for D Savage in California, his fans did not care about me at all, they were very mean. They were ridiculously mean, and so angry that I was not D Savage. I’m sorry that I was not D Savage that night. Somebody’s gotta open! (laughs) 

What is your favourite song to perform? 

‘Mind of Da Crook’. I get a good crowd reception for it. Every time it comes on, the room gets electric. 

Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?

It was a combination of Lil B’s ‘Like a Martian’ and Chief Keef’s ‘I Don’t Like’. ‘Like a Martian’ I heard in the eighth grade, Chief Keef I heard in the ninth grade. They both inspired me to want to do my own thing and create my own sound. 

What’s the meaning behind your name?

It was given to me by one of my aunty’s boyfriends. I love Hip Hop and I just always wanted to be a teacher in Hip Hop, and I feel like my name allows me to do that. I feel like my name embodies that I’m in love with Hip Hop, you feel me? 

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead? 

Hunting! It’s a new thing for me. I’ve always been an outdoors guy, but survival made me get into it. My momma not taking care of me no more. 

What’s success to you? 

Being happy. That’s something that you gotta figure out yourself, it depends on each person’s own definition. What makes Tony happy? Being loved. I measure success more in terms of my personal life than career-wise. 

What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?

I used to be in a rap group called SOS, but when everyone broke up, that’s when I went on my own and started doing my own thing. I have way more creative freedom on my own and I feel like my discography reflects that.

Where can people keep in touch with you? 

Social media, in real life, at Magic City or Cheetah Lounge. Those are basically my homes.

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