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It's 2000. So Where Are We Now?
September 2000 marks the sure date of the re-release of Tonéxís Pronounced Toe-Nay. So, where are we at?
ó feature by Stan North ó
With the splashy drama, headlines and hype that have swirled around Tonéx since his entry into industry consciousness in 1997, the man hardly needs to be introduced.
Yet, for so many, this re-release of Pronounced Toe-Nay will be their first glimpse into the solo creativity of the San Diego artist who has captivated the attention of Gospel artists and afficionados alike. And for those few who had the original album, there are even a few significant changes to this re-release. See re-release review.
First signed to his home state-based Rescue Records, when we first got wind of Tonéx, there was considerable confusion in the air with respect to his contract status. (see interview part 1 and part 2).
But the story was developing much before that. Probably only the underground few are in possession of Tonéxís first two solo ventures. Now out of print, Silent 'X' 516: The Self Confrontation was the 1994 debut from the then-18-year-old on Rajah / MSS Records, and was followed by Damage in 1995, on MSS Records.
In 1996, things really took off with the release of Eternal Funk, the debut CD from Unity Klan. At that time, the three-member Gospel rap/funk crew was also housed with Rescue Records. Tonéx was prominent on their debut, providing vocals and production. And inside the CD sleeve was a little photo inset promoting the upcoming released of Tonéxí solo joint.
Klan bond with Tonéx continues to this day, with both he and T.Boy playing
a large role in projects from the prolific Unity Klan, as well
as on the several solo spin-offs from the group (Big J, Jaz,
On Pronounced Toe-Nay, various
members of Unity Klan appear with Tonéx on some of the
cuts (eg. Jaz is featured on ďItís On Like ThatĒ).
The initial 1997 release on Rescue of Pronounced Toe-Nay was when things started getting crazy. Soon out of print, the the album was still very much in demand. It even got to the point that even the televised 14th Annual Stellar Awards, held in January 1999, featured Tonéx.
In some respects, the confusion the contractual confusion that existed in 1997 is still with us here in mid-2000; not so much because it hasnít been resolved. It has. But because the resolution is so complicated.
Logos from five record companies are displayed on the jacket of this re-released CD. Count them: Jive, Tommy Boy Gospel, Verity, Rescue and MSS Records. The last one is easy, thatís Tonéxís own, and a label that boasts a roster of increasingly known artists.
On the basis of their initial signing of Tonéx, and resulting contractual fine print, Rescue Records still maintains a presence of sorts, albeit rather minimal. That leaves Tommy Boy Gospel and the Jive/Verity family, who have come to an agreement after protracted discussions over the past number of months.
Jive/Verity is the exclusive marketing and promotions company for all of Tonéxís solo projects, with Tommy Boy Gospel collaborating on that end. (For example, Tonéxís re-release was spotlighted on Tommy Boy Gospelís recent GMWA showcase in New Orleans, with the artist performing several selections from the project). Tommy Boy Gospel will be releasing several artists on Tonéxís MSS Record label. In fact, thatís already underway with the 4th Elemynt and Shelley Gaines projects already having been released. And thereís more of those slated for 2001.
But that doesnít even touch Tonéxís producing activities. Or, to be accurate, that of his alter-ego, T.Boy. Arguably, this is the arena where Gospelís finest know him best, whether they are aware of it our not. And weíre beginning to lose count. Check out our handy right menu list of recent releases that have featured Tonéx, T.Boy and his brother 5,0 in one way or another.
As for upcoming projects, it seems to only be getting busier. According to his personal home page Tonéxworld.com, thereís no less than six other Tonéx solo projects in the works, not including a tantalizing grab bag of EPs and remixes.
Tonéx Alias Primer
Anthony C. Williams II - his given name.
Tonéx - the Ďxí is silent, and donít forget the accent on the 'e'.
T.Boy - his production alias.
ACW2 - another Tonéx alias
Levi Wheeler - Tonéxís brother and astute business partner
5,0 - Leviís production alias.
Zsa Zsa - Tonéx's wife, aka Yvette Williams and Mrs. Tonéx
So hang on to your seat, and buckle your belt. If you think youíve got it all figured out, then just wait a week. Things are moving so fast for this West coast brother that thereís bound to be developments with the month.
For this is Tonéx, no matter how you slice it. Or pronounce it.
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Peek in hindsight at what happened during our chat with Tonéx.
New Divine Destiny