1. What city do you hail from brother? (Son Ra)
Los Angeles, California. Born and raised. 90043, 90047, and 90008. 323 stand up!
2. When did the HIPHOP bug snatch you up? Did you start off bboying, rhyming, deejaying, etc.? (Amriki Aswad)
Actually, my uncle was really into rap when it was blowing up on the west coast, in the late 70’s, early eighties. He used to have mix tapes in his car, and one day he let me keep one. I’m talking about Eazy E, Mixmaster Spade, LA Dream Team, a laundry list of West Coast legends were on that tape. I’ll never forget it. Hell, I taped over it.
That was it. Something snapped. From then on out, I spent Friday nights in front of my radio making pause mix tapes from 1580am KDAY. The original one haha.
3. How did you get into writing articles about HIPHOP and various others topics? (Amriki Aswad)
I started writing when I was young but I didn’t take it seriously until I turned 18. I answered an ad in a free publication that I found called ABFUNCK magazine. Shout out to my big brother Kynan Bruce, because he’s the reason that you guys are interviewing. It was his independent hip hop magazine, and he was looking for writers. We hooked up, and not only did he help me cultivate my writing, but he also showed me the business side of it.
I knew as a kid I’d love to have my own magazine one day, but this part of my life taught me what it would take in order to actually do so. Beyond the writing. I interviewed artists like Das EFX, YO YO, Ras Kass, All Frum Tha I, Daz Dillinger, Soopafly, and some other names that I’ve forgotten. But that was my true introduction into writing about hip hop in the physical form. Actualized. Published for public consumption like a professional.
4. Have any of your writing appears magazines and other journals? (Amriki Aswad)
I’ve written for TheSource.com, TheUrbanDaily.com, my writing has been published in numerous affiliated websites, and Combat Jack’s website, prior to The Combat Jack Show being around. In fact, he was the reason that I wrote for The Source. Shout out to Combat Jack as well. He ushered me into the Hip Hop internet. And I’m currently a columnist for the sports entertainment website BadCulture.net.
5. How did your website/blog TonyGrands.com come about? (Amriki Aswad)
So some years down the line after I’d written for a ABFUNCK, and defeated my my battle with alcoholism, I found myself on the internet, in comments sections of websites like The Source and XXL. After receiving a little bit of popularity from my comments, I decided to start a blog, Reading and Writing Is For Dumb People. Couple of years later, I decided to take that blog more seriously and turned it into a full-fledged website. Posting music, interviewing artists, talking about different things, actually hosting some sort of hip hop entertainment center vs. just giving my opinion all the time. The site evolved into what it is now…a respected indie Hip Hop spot for grown people.
From there I just kind of branched off into other ventures to build my audience and create some sort of foundation for my brand. But TonyGrands.com is the epicenter of all the noise. Now, not only do I have the website, a launchpad for a bunch of other people’s shit, I host the TonyGrandsRadio podcast on Soundcould and TonyGrandsTv on YouTube. I’ve long expanded from just writing. I also edit my own videos, and have a couple of video projects with other people in the works. If you listen to any of my broadcasts, I’m real keen on personal evolution. Evolve. If you’re in the same place that you were 5 years ago, you doing something wrong. I live by that. And as long as I have momentum, I’m going to continue to move forward.
6. Do you have other contributors to your website/blog? (Amriki Aswad)
Yes. The main contributor has been with me for years, his name is PHLIP. There have been scores of different writers and contributors, but this guy is a day one.
Currently, the sports guy is my little brother, Wes G. There’s a new contributor, his name is Champ Ion. And I can’t forget my boy Cordrick Ramey. He hasn’t been contributing as much lately but he’s definitely a part of the team.
We are currently looking for contributors because we’re getting a lot more traffic lately, so anybody reading, if you’re interested, and have commodities to offer, holler at your boy.
7. I heard your mixtape. Nice! How did you get into rhyming? (Amriki Aswad)
Basically it was just a love of the Arts. A veritable lust of the craft. When I was a kid, words were incredible to me. My father bought me crossword puzzles and various word game toys because that’s what I asked for. When my love of hip hop was activated, it was only natural that I partake in rapping and not just be a witness or a bystander, if that makes any sense. It was like “Wow! You guys are really, really good at that! But watch how I do it!”
My uncle introduced me to the music, but Big Daddy Kane and Ice Cube where my teachers. I wanted to be like them, have the power and the aura and the energy that they had. So I decided I was going to be a rapper just like they were. I recently dropped a podcast about why I eventually stopped rapping, but my love will never die.
8. On a lighter note, what gave you the idea to put the models on your spot? LOL (Amriki Aswad)
I love women. I think all men should love women. When I was a kid, my bedroom wall was plastered with Jet Beauty of the Week tear-outs. When I moved out of my parent’s house, I had hella issues of different men’s magazines lined up along the walls of the living room floor. Ask my wife. She’ll vouch for all of this. I started posting women on my blog back in the day because I know men love women. The same reason I started posting music. Eventually, I started to see how popular these women were with the online audience, and decided to not only post pictures, but also information about them so the reader could support their hustle. Putting names to faces, so to speak.
Now, as some of the followers, fans, and readers have probably noticed, I’m interviewing the models now. There’s an evolution that goes along with this that’s also a productive and positive aspect in the business diagram of what it is I’m trying to accomplish with TonyGrands.com, you know?
The models are gracious for the publicity and the promotion, and and I am equally as appreciative of them loaning me their times. Time that men pay them preciously for online. Real Talk, I watch men and boys thirst and lust over these women like the sexual objects that they seem to be, meanwhile they hit me up in my DM’s and inboxes just to chat and say “Hi.” That’s so funny to me. Beyond that, though, sex sells, and anybody who’s trying to make a dollar off of anything in this society would be wise to employ that ideology, feel me?
9. Last one……….. Where can people find you on the web and/or social media? (Amriki Aswad)
TonyGrands.com is the main vein. There you’ll find articles, new music, things for you to debate about, eye candy, relationship advice, motivational talks, the contributors, a host of different events for the mature Hip Hopper.
TonyGrandsTV via (Youtube.com) is the live action version of the website. Original content galore, including the incredibly popular The Gentlemen’s Club Presents video line and the Rap Guys and Fat Thighs series, as well as my unnecessarily vulgar, rookie-year flagship weblog series, “Fuck All That.”
TonyGrandsRadio (via Soundcloud.com) is the home of the TGR podcast, and also where I recommend new music to the people.
For shits and giggles, like us on Facebook.com/TheTonyGrands and follow me on Twitter at Twitter.com/Tony_Grands.
Thanks for having me, guys. And thanks to all y’all reading. Take care of yourself and each other!