From Emmy Time to Prime Time: Celebrity Spotlight Shines on Rap Artist T.O.N.E-z
Sky Is Limitless for Emmy-Nominated Star Lighting Up the Music and Television Worlds
Many musicians have it, but most don't have "it"-- that being the celebrity wow factor to leap from acclaimed Hip-Hop artist to certified media star. That crossover appeal is driving the rapid rise of T.O.N.E-z, the Emmy-nominated rapper generating the sort of buzz that lifted the profiles of predecessors like ICE-T and Will Smith.
Having penned the Emmy nominated theme song, "Long Hard Times to Come," for the hit FX series Justified, T.O.N.E-z started to become a household name. And when the Justified Season 1 Box Set featuring the video for "Long Hard Times To Come" sold over 1,000,000 units (so far), his claim to fame was stamped in pure platinum.
"From the moment we heard the lyrics and the song, we all knew it HAD to be the main title theme for Justified, says Graham Yost, Producer for the show. "It's everything we hope our show can be -- emotional, evocative, with a feeling for the past, but yet utterly contemporary. Usually, when you work on a show and it comes time to view a new episode, you skip through the main title because you've heard and seen it again and again. But those lyrics captivate me, and I want to watch -- and listen -- every time."
T.O.N.E-z' last solo release, The Lime Light, made a big splash in the indie Hip Hop scene and gained thousands of hours of air time on college radio stations. And the upcoming studio album, High Voltage, is already highly anticipated, promising to pick up where The Lime Light left off.
On the acting side, T.O.N.E-z starred alongside two of the biggest names in Hollywood, Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks, in the movie Philadelphia, (Hanks won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie). He'll be making his return to the screen next year through several acting and performance appearances; final details are in the works.
But for T.O.N.E-z, who signed his first record deal in the early 1990s with Select Records, his enviable success is less a stroke of luck and more an outgrowth of countless years of hard work and planning. So while his crossover appeal may seem like a fluke, he carefully models himself after two other megastars: Jay-Z and the late great Michael Jackson. T.O.N.E-z uses Jay-Z as an example of the will to succeed, and Jackson is his model of the consummate performer.
T.O.N.E-z also has two other notable role models closer to home: brothers Special K, formerly of the The Treacherous Three, and T La Rock, both Hip Hop legends in their own rights and pioneers of the early rap scene. With that sort of pedigree, it's no wonder that both the music and television worlds are taking notice and lining up to get a piece of the action.
T.O.N.E-z' musical style has been called Bold, Innovative and History-making. It's easy to see why these same words fit the bill when it comes to T.O.N.E-z as an artist... and a celebrity for a new generation.