Everybody needs a friend like Tony Shhnow – Jarastyle

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The FADER: Today is the 16th anniversary of Lil Wayne’s tape Da Drought 3. It’s a pretty important day for you because you’re a student of Wayne. Tell me about how his approach to music informed yours.

Tony Shhnow: I relate with his story because he used to write his music in a notebook, and I used to write my music on my phone and show people. And I wasn’t necessarily the guy, just like Lil Wayne wasn’t the guy [when he was] first coming into the scene. They looked at Juvenile and BG as the guys; they didn’t really look at Wayne.

I wrote all my music initially, and then… I don’t know what unlocked in him, but I had the same feeling: “Fuck it, it’s me. I’m Lil Wayne.” Coming into it, I thought I was gonna be a good support role, but maybe I’m supposed to be the main role.

Was there a specific project of yours where you felt like you made that switch from a supporting role to “I’m him?”

Da World Is Ours 2, going into Dis Should Hold You Over. I saw a lot of ups, a lot of downs. I was still in the trap, so I wasn’t able to just go out and do a lot of things. I wasn’t able to just go to L.A. [or New York] at the drop of a dime. I had my own life to deal with, and I realized I didn’t wanna be left behind, nor did I wanna be the homie that was just being tagged along, so I had to establish myself. I had to cultivate a path for myself.

When you were coming up, there was DatPiff, Spinrilla, all of these mixtape sites that aren’t active anymore. What are your thoughts on the music industry’s transition from those sorts of sites to music discovery through streaming platforms, TikTok, leaks?

To me, the game never really changed. The players or the tools may have changed, [but] I still look at Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal like DatPiff, My Mixtapez, LiveMixtapes. Some artists take it too serious. I don’t know if they’re not doubling down on they stuff or second guessing theyself, but I just take the same formula and just apply it to a streaming platform, to TikTok, to Instagram. It’s hustling — the more product you have, the more people wanna buy.

One of the things that makes you stand out is consistency. Do you think you have an above-average work ethic when it comes to rap?

For sure. My mother established that in me and as well as my plugs, the dudes I used to work in the street with. It’s so much music, so much artists, so much rap. That’s how I felt when I was selling weed: It’s so much weed out here. You don’t have to buy mine. What’s gonna stand me apart? I got the best one. I have it available for you all the time. I’m at your beck and call. You can trust me to have a good song in my cut. You can trust my releases will be well. I built up a trust with my fans. They know I’m gonna deliver.

It strikes me how comfortable you sound in different sub-genres of rap. You’re usually labeled a plugg artist, which is true, but there are so many different other styles of rap you’ve released full-length albums in. With a lot of rappers who try different things, that experimental workflow can be invigorating, and then it’s like, “Oh, some of this sounds good. Some of it doesn’t really work.” But with you, it all sounds natural.

It almost is. I’m a fan of hip-hop for sure, of music in general. So my playlists don’t be just straight-up trap rappers like Dolph or Gucci, even though those are some of my favorite artists. I also enjoy Adele, Sade, 112, Miley Cyrus. I don’t even constrict myself to my playlists or what I see other people listening to. I’ll just get in the car and put on the radio and let it just play.

I’m also a fan of when rappers step outside of rap. I’m a fan of when Quavo will hop on a country song, [or] Young Thug on that East Atlanta song.


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Courtesy : https://www.thefader.com/2023/04/27/the-fader-interview-tony-shhnow-feature